A trend in project management

Seen today on Slashdot: A longtime Debian developer is leaving the project, saying, among other things, that a more direct leadership structure, similar to Ubuntu, would prove more effective. Compare that to Charles Hannum’s “NetBSD is stagnating” message, where he also says a stronger leader for NetBSD would help.

This idea matches up with one of my favorite books: The Mythical Man-Month, where Frederick Brooks mentions that a software project should be led by an experienced worker, rather than by committee. It is also similar to the Linux kernel development model (though there’s plenty of other factors that affect it) and other things, like Perl’s pumpking.

On the other hand, there seems to be a cycle where a particular Linux distribution becomes ‘cool’ for about a year or two – Debian, or maybe Slackware, then Red Hat, then SuSe, then Mandrake, then Knoppix, and now Ubuntu. Yes, it’s an inexact timeline.

Virtual kernels on the way

Matthew Dillon’s been thinking about how to deal with clustering. Instead of partitioning out memory, disk, or CPU resources across the network, it’s possible to create virtual kernels that can then be broken out as individual units for local or remote tasks. (Much easier from a local security and debugging point of view.) He’s followed up with some comments on anticipated speed and relationship to a similar model of User Mode Linux (“UML”).

The bonus: this feature may be available by the time of our next release.

Update: More on security, translating between real and virtual kernels, and how it’ll significantly speed development. That last link can also be taken as a fine example of impatience.