Linux Kernel Doubles in Threee Years, Troubles Linus Torvalds
By on January 17th, 2012

When the Linux kernel came out for the first time in September 1991, it had only 10,000 lines of code. It was elegant and was a revolutionary idea. Slowly, as it grew in popularity, the lines of code increased to 176,250 by March 1994. From there, The Linux kernel has been growing alarmingly. It reached 2.4 million lines of code in 2001, 10 million lines of code in 2008, and it will have over 15 million lines of code by its next stable release. Is this normal? Should we be worried?

This is definitely not normal growth. A large part of the Linux kernel carries code for legacy hardware. Besides that, drivers, file-systems and architecture-specific functionalities use three-fourth of the code. Documentation comments and blank lines fill more spaces. Perhaps it is the monolithic-kernel architecture of Linux, which is the reason for this bloat. It is time to revisit the Tanenbaum-Torvalds debate again.

linux-kernel-rise

Linus has already called the Linux kernel bloated earlier. This time, the real problem as spotted by Torvalds himself in an interview, is that

There are some parts in the Linux Kernel that very few people understand really well.

The only relieving news right now is that the Linux kernel version 3.0 will be a long-term release, with at least 2 years of support. Currently, this status is enjoyed by the kernel version 2.6.32 because of its use across long-term support versions of major distros.

Watch this funny video where Microsoft wishes Linux on its birthday.

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Author: Chinmoy Kanjilal Google Profile for Chinmoy Kanjilal
Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at Techarraz.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

Chinmoy Kanjilal has written and can be contacted at chinmoy@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://nileshgr.com Nilesh Govindrajan

    Don’t you think the legacy hardware support is one of the factors makes it stands out?

    Microsoft or Mac for that matter are very bad at supporting legacy devices.

    Linux, even in 2012, can show you the visual effects on a Pentium 3, 500 Mhz, if you have a video card; this seriously does not happen with MS Windows or Apple Macintosh.

    • http://www.techarraz.com Chinmoy Kanjilal

      Linux is used on such a varied range of hardware, anyone other OS would have cried hardware fragmentation by now. It is one of the first point in any of my Linux vs. Windows arguments. However, it should not become an issue for the development of the kernel because then, the entire cause is lost.

 
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