Linux kernel: democracy that doesn't vote
Posted Apr 25, 2008 4:14 UTC (Fri) by aegl
In reply to: Linux kernel: democracy that doesn't vote
Parent article: ELC: Morton and Saxena on working with the kernel community
No ... every vote doesn't have equal weight. People who have demonstrated expertise in a particular area will generally have far more influence on a merge decision than people without a track record, who in turn may have more weight than people who have publically demonstrated their lack of knowledge.
But even Linus gets "outvoted" from time to time (he just merged kgdb even though he really doesn't like the idea of kernel debuggers).
So the process is rather vague, and sometimes surprising ... but there is a general philosophy behind it. Maybe a merge decision can be summed up by answering the question: "Will this patch make the kernel better?" ... but this is still poorly specified unless you have the same opinion about what "better" means in the context of Linus' (and many of the other maintainers and key developers) goals.
Some of the people who find it "hard to understand" the process are under the mistaken impression that the goal is commercial success. It isn't. The goal is to be the best kernel for its users. Commercial success might follow as a result of being good. But if you ask Linus how much he cares about the "market segment share" that Linux has, I bet his answer will be something like "not at all".
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