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Torvalds gets tough on kernel coders

If developers add "last-minute things" to the next version of the Linux kernel, he says he will "laugh in their faces derisively."

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux and the maintainer of the development kernel, is cracking down on developers who add last-minute changes to the kernel.

The kernel development team recently set a policy that new features must be added to the next version of the kernel during the two weeks after the release of the previous version.

But James Bottomley, who currently maintains the code for SCSI support in the kernel, said Wednesday that he is finding it difficult to keep to the two-week merge window as contributors are leaving it to him to test whether their patches work with the rest of the system.

"That's a nice theory, except that it's my contributors who drop me in it by leaving their patch sets until you declare a kernel, dumping the integration testing on me in whatever time window is left," Bottomley wrote in a posting to the kernel mailing list.

Torvalds replied that Bottomley needs to get tough on his contributors.

"You tell them to stop it, and stop accepting their patches in that window, so that it's their code that gets delayed, not yours," he said in an e-mail.

Torvalds added that he plans to get tough on people who add things to the kernel too late.

"People always complain that I'm being too soft. Not so this time," Torvalds said.

"If people miss the merge window or start abusing it with hurried last-minute things that just cause problems for -rc1 (the first release candidate), I'll just refuse to merge, and laugh in their faces derisively when they whine plaintively at me, and tell them there's going to be a new opening soon enough," he said.

The latest release of the Linux kernel, version 2.6.14, was released almost a month late due to last-minute mistaken bug reports.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.