Linux is the Largest Software Development Project in History

May 18, 2016

But if you are not using the latest Linux kernel, your system is insecure.

Greg Kroah-Hartman, a leading Linux kernel developer, delivered a keynote at CoreOS Fest on May 10-11 in Berlin, Germany. Kroah-Hartman shared some impressive numbers about Linux kernel development. He noted that in 2015, more than 440 companies were involved with the kernel and more than 4,000 people contributed to it. The latest release of Linux (4.5) has more than 21 million lines of code. Every single day, more than 10,800 lines of code are added, 5,300 lines of code are removed, and 1,875 lines of code are modified. The current pace of development boils down to more than eight changes per second.

Kroah-Hartman said, “It's the largest software development project ever, in the history of computing – by the number of people using it, developing it, and now using it, and the number of companies involved. It's a huge number of people.” But all of these changes are for a reason: They bring security fixes and introduce new features. Kroah-Hartman urged companies and communities using Linux to keep up with the changes. He praised the updating mechanisms used by projects like ChromeOS and CoreOS that keep the system up-to-date without user intervention.

Kroah-Hartman said that vendors should provide a system for regular updates and encourage users to take advantage of it. He sent a very strong message to computer vendors saying: “… your machine is insecure unless you're running my kernel, or based on my kernel, or based on another [recent] one. If you're not taking these fixes, then it is insecure.”

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