there is no proof that perf would not have been nearly as successful outside of the mainline tree as it has been internally: There is actually no proof for this. Unlike oprofile, perf was developed by several core kernel maintainers. It seems to me like a much stronger factor impacting the success of perf vs. oprofile.
I actually believe there's proof that perf would have done just as good if not better outside the tools directory. Sure, it has lots of developers, but most of them are kernel developers and very few userspace developers. The proof that perf would have done well outside of the kernel is based on the fact that the tool that influenced perf's development model was done outside the kernel. That tool is called git.
git did not need to be in the tools directory to become popular. I'm sure perf would have followed git's success if it was also outside the kernel tree. In fact, I believe it would attract more userspace developers, and it would have probably grown a graphical user interface as well if it was outside the kernel.
If perf and NLKT wants to be mostly developed by kernel developers, than perhaps it should stay in the kernel. I wounder how many more user space developers perf would have if it was outside the kernel tree.
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