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Professional Linux Kernel Architecture by Wolfgang Mauerer

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Appendix F. The Kernel Development Process

This book has given you lots of information about concepts, algorithms, data structures, and code. Clearly these form the very core of Linux development, and that is what the kernel is all about. But there's another side of Linux that should not pass by unnoticed: the community that develops the kernel, the way it works, and how people interact. This aspect is interesting because the kernel is one of the largest and most complex open source projects in existence, and it's a role model for distributed, decentralized development on a gigantic scale. The purpose of this appendix is to provide an overview about numerous technical and social aspects of kernel development. Additionally, it talks about the relationship between the Linux kernel and academia.

Introduction

The kernel sources (in the main README file) describe the development community as a "loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net," and although both the number of people involved in kernel development and their professional affiliations have changed from the beginning until now, this statement has always been true. Openness is a direct outcome of this: Most communication among developers takes place on mailing lists and can be read by anyone who is interested in how an operating system evolves. One particularly important point is that developers from many companies that fiercely compete against each other in many aspects (the companies, not the developers ...) closely cooperate ...

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