Originally Published: Tuesday, 13 June 2000 Author: Matt Michie
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Diary of a Madman: Day Two

The best case scenario right now is something akin to the gcc/egcs split years back. GPL'd code when split generally merges back together somewhere down the road. We're also going to have to come up with some way to contend with all the nay-sayers that will now compare Linux to the fragmented BSDs.

I only realized today that I haven't left the apartment in four days. My mind is starting the spiraled descent into mist. Thoughts are scattering through my brain like cockroaches. If I'm lucky, a light flashes on and I catch a glimpse of the antennaed insect, but before I can crush it underfoot it quickly scurries into the shadows.

I'm really wondering what I've gotten myself into. I make one disparaging comment on the Linux Kernel mailing list and find myself in the middle of a conspiracy. I'm getting too old to be pulling these all-night code binges.

I am floating between a deepening dread and an exotic ecstasy. It feels like I am getting back to my roots. I'm not sure why I'm even keeping this damn diary. It is just distracting me from my work. Off to bed I go.

...

Okay, back for more. I can barely sleep anymore. Last night's dream was new. I was standing on a marble slab surrounded by blackness. 45 degrees to my left a rusty staircase ascends skyward. There doesn't seem to be a railing, and the drop looks deadly. Who knows why, but I began to climb the stairs. I guess I love a challenge.

It is a game I've played before. See how high up you can get before you plant a foot the wrong way and plunge to the bottom. As I get closer to reaching the top, the staircase extends itself in some sort of reverse recursion. There is no end. In the distance I can see pieces of C code traveling down an assembly belt feeding into a compiler. The entire process from the source down through binary op codes is visible. Eventually I wake up.

I keep thinking of the last time I went into this extended deep hack mode. That was when I lost my girlfriend Kate. She couldn't handle me leaving dinner unfinished and seeing the back of my head for days at a time.

I'm still not sure how the community will react to us forking the kernel. We'll either be pariahs or heroes by the time we're through. Doubt is pervasive.

We have to make sure that our version of the kernel is technically perfect. There will be an outrage either way, but if we have something that can arguably be an improvement over Alan's kernel we'll at least be able to ride out the worse. I hope.

The best case scenario right now is something akin to the gcc/egcs split years back. GPL'd code when split generally merges back together somewhere down the road. We're also going to have to come up with some way to contend with all the nay-sayers that will now compare Linux to the fragmented BSDs.

Now just as long as our sysadmin gal can keep the web server, and more importantly the CVS server, running until our release date, I can keep our hackers co-ordinated, we don't get flamed to a ashes by the community, and people actually use our code, we should be okay.

Sigh. Matt Michie lives somewhere in the deserts of New Mexico. He maintains a small web site at http://daimyo.org.

[Editor's Note: I would just like to remind our readers that this series of editorials is a work of fiction. It chronicles the possibility of the Linux kernel being forked in the near future, and discusses the issues surrounding such an event. With that said, be sure to read the first part of this series, and I hope you enjoy Matt's series!]