Torvalds still dreams of desktop Linux

torvaldsLinus Torvalds told his open saucy mates at  LinuxCon that he still wanted to see Linux running on the desktop.

Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman moderated the discussion and commented that Linux already runs everywhere, but asked Torvalds where he thinks Linux should go next.

According to eWeek Torvalds replied that he wanted to see it on the desktop. However, that was not really a kernel problem but an infrastructure one. He said that he thought that Linux will get there one day.

While this was more in the future, Torvalds said that one of Linux’s biggest problems was kernel code bloat was also addressed as Linux is now being run in small-form-factor embedded devices.

Torvalds said he’d love for Linux to shrink in size “We’ve been bloating the kernel over the last 20 years, but hardware has grown faster,” he said.

One of the big successes for Linux on small-form-factor devices in recent years has been the rise of the Raspberry Pi device; the mini-computer, he said.

Linux was also being held back by the fact that some Linux kernel code has only a single maintainer and that can mean trouble when that maintainer wants to take time off.  He said that at good setup that is now used by the x86 maintainers is to have multiple people maintaining the code.

He added that things have improved with ARM as a result of using multiple maintainers.  In the bad old days when Torvalds used to do ARM merges, he wanted to shoot himself and take a few ARM developers with him.

“It’s now much less painful and ARM developers are picking up the approach.”