Alan Cox, the right-hand man to Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux open-source operating system, has told kernel developers that he will not be maintaining the current 2.4 Linux kernel when Torvalds hands it over in a few weeks to concentrate on the 2.5 development tree.
In a recent posting on the Advogato Web site, Cox said that kernel developer Marcelo Tosatti will become the head maintainer over the 2.4 stable kernel tree.
In an effort to downplay the significance of the move, Cox said it was "not the giant change it may seem from the outside. The stable kernel management was and is a group effort. Marcelo and many others have been active in 2.2 and 2.4 stabilization work. Ill be helping Marcelo with advice when he asks it, and working on feeding him the 2.4 relevant bits of the -ac tree," he said.
This is the first sign of real fallout from the very public tussle between the two men over exactly which Virtual Memory manager to include in the stable 2.4 kernel and the new 2.5 development tree going forward.
In his posting, Cox said all the discussion and rumors about the progression of the 2.4 stable kernel meant it was "time to put the entire roadmap out and make it clear. Linus will be releasing a 2.4.14 and probably a 2.4.15 finishing off the VM stability work and other rough corners.
"At that point the 2.5 kernel tree will be opened. There is a lot of stuff queued for 2.5. It isnt going to be possible or sensible to throw it all into 2.5.0. One of the tasks is to put changes together in the right order," he said.
While Cox said he would not be "disappearing from the scene, I might be a little less visible at times. There are various kernel projects I will be working on as well as spending more time concentrating on Red Hat customer-related needs. Im hopeful that spending more time closer to customers will help provide more insight into where 2.5 needs to be going," he said.
"David Weinehall did a great job on 2.0.39 when he took over 2.0 from me. Im very confident that Marcelo will do a great job on 2.4," he added.
The news is not completely unexpected, as Cox had shown a marked reluctance to take over the role of maintainer of the 2.4 kernel, saying for some weeks now in postings on the Linux kernel mailing list that he was unsure he wanted the role.
In an e-mail exchange with eWEEK last week, he also said, "There is at least one person I think would do the job better than I would. So its quite possible Ill be mentor to the 2.4 maintainer, not a 2.4 maintainer."