May be out of place considering you are talking specifically about kernel programming, however
the claim that programmers range from 1x to 10x was published in 1975, 33 years ago.
Now we have Java which is by design for average programmers. There is plenty of average
programming to be done -- more software is coded for in-house than best of breed. The very
first programmers were recruited from chess grandmasters since programmers didn't exist back
then. A lot has changed since then, and I'd like to see how well this 10x claim holds up now.
Also the claim that projects are like pregnancy, throwing more workers at the problem will not
speed things up seems to be in disagreement with the industry practice of death marches. If
Fred Brooks is still correct then why do industries do death marches (e.g. video games)?