magic number 7
Posted Jun 8, 2011 15:44 UTC (Wed) by giraffedata
In reply to: A conversation with Linus at LinuxCon Japan
Parent article: A conversation with Linus at LinuxCon Japan
(PS. The idea in question is, of course, utter bollocks. For supporting evidence, see the 3 billion people who happily memorise lots of 11-digit telephone numbers, for example)
I think you missed the point. Few of those people could repeat a random 11 digit number you say slowly back to you. The 7 limit is working memory -- where things stay in your brain before they are memorized. Also, many people could repeat back an 11 digit telephone number because it contains multi-digit chunks which are a single piece of information. For example, a North American area code is 3 digits, but in most cases, that would count 1 toward the limit.
Incidentally, as the Wikipedia article admits, current thinking is that the real number is less than the 7 +/- 2 from the 1950s research.
If there were some reason that people needed to think about some feature of all minor releases of a certain major release of the kernel at once, then 20 would be way too many. But I think marcH was just making a light-hearted comment about a number being intrinsically too big. It's pretty clear that the only thing 20 is too big for is some aesthetic feeling Linus has about normal looking release numbers.
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