Herbert Xu was the maintainer of a surprising number of core Debian
packages, including the i386 and Alpha kernels. Unfortunately, Mr. Xu
became upset over the Debian Project's perceived recognition of Taiwan as a
separate country, and resigned from the
on May 5. Many of his packages have been picked up by
others or have gone into the orphan state, but the kernel packages are
important enough to require more careful handling.
The actual process of selecting the new kernel maintainer would appear to
have been done in private; we were not able to get an answer from the
Debian leader about just how it was done. The results have now been made public, however. The Debian kernel
will now be maintained by a team, with William Lee Irwin and
Al Viro at the core. Additional helpers include Troy Benjegerdes, Dann
Frazier, Goto Masanori, Christoph Hellwig, Benjamin Herrenschmidt, Anton
Blanchard, and Arjan van de Ven.
In other words, Debian will now have a set of kernel packages maintained by
active kernel developers. This should help to improve the quality of
Debian's kernels (though, it should be said, complaints about Mr. Xu's
kernels were rare) and to improve the feedback from Debian into the kernel
development process. Mr. Irwin's plans include "aggressive mainline
tracking" and, eventually, a unified source package for all architectures
supported by Debian. Expect some interesting things from the Debian kernel
in the near future.
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