Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 285/2024

Chronicler Zack Brown discusses the makers of manners.

The Makers of Manners

One of the most magical aspects of Linux kernel development is its relationship to official standards like POSIX and to the tools it relies on like the C compiler. It would be easy enough to say "the law is the law," and simply adhere to whatever the standards committees decided was best or accommodate whatever behavior a given dependency seemed to require.

But Linux is at the root of nearly every server in the known universe, responsible for a vast diversity of tools that serve web pages, maintain hospital systems, operate delicate machinery, and other things so strange and bizarre that they would hollow out your eye sockets if you ever caught a glimpse of them.

Clearly, for such purposes, efficiency and maintainability are near the top of the requirements list. Linus Torvalds, on various occasions, has found that a given tool or a given standard simply didn't have the right idea on a given subject, so he went ahead and did things a different way, allowing the standard or tool to catch up to Linux in its own time.


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