January 31, 2008 6:50 AM PST

Torvalds: Linux ready to go green

The infrastructure and tools required to make Linux a green operating system are now in place, according to Linux leader Linus Torvalds, who was in Melbourne this week attending Australia's largest Linux conference.

In an interview at the linux.conf.au conference, the developer of the Linux kernel admitted that the operating system was lagging behind on power-management and energy-diagnosis tools.

"It is an area we were pretty weak in a few years ago and just building up the infrastructure took a long time, but now we are at a point where we have most of it done," Torvalds said.

"That doesn't mean we are done. Now we have an infrastructure in place... we have the tools to measure power and notice when the power is higher and why that is, which is pretty important. Before, it used to be a black box," he said.

Linux safe with or without Linus
Speaking about the future of Linux, Torvalds said he is pleased that the kernel is stable and that the community of people helping to maintain it is going to keep it that way.

"We are still working on a lot of stuff, especially with new hardware. But I think, on the whole, a lot of the basics are there. What we work on is better maintainability, improving code so we can add features more easily," Torvalds said.

When asked about retirement, Torvalds said he has no intention to move on, and even if he did users would be "unlikely to notice," as the operating system has such a strong support community.

"The question comes up but it is not something I really worry about. There are other people who could take over what I do. I would like to think that they would be worse at it, but it is not like (Linux) would go away or be in trouble," said Torvalds.

Celebrating the death of DRM
Torvalds also revealed he is glad to see the apparent demise of music protected by digital rights management (DRM). In an interview last year, Torvalds said he believed DRM was a "lot of hot air," a comment that he said has now been proved right.

"I think I have been vindicated somewhat. DRM is so anticonsumer that I don't see it really ever taking off," said Torvalds.

Torvalds' comments come just weeks after Sony BMG said it will begin selling music without any copy protection. EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal have also already begun dropping DRM in the U.S.

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

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6 comments

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Fantastic News!
With every new stride made in the Linux kernel
development, it enables scripters and admins to
write code around it that harnesses the
information gathered by the modules and report
it back.

This is how open collaboration should work -
being able to mess with the kernel and the code
to make it better than the original
implementations - unlike a certain company that
says, "Look - but don't touch!"
Posted by `WarpKat (275 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed.
Power Management was one of those back-burner things for years... simply because Linux has always been so easy on the resources by comparison. For example, my old Dell Inspiron would get about 120-150% more battery life out of it if I ran RedHat 7.2 than if I had booted into Windows 2000 - just because there was less of an overall demand on system resources.

Nowadays, it needs to be paid attention to. Fortunately, OEM's and makers are more open with how to read and access power consumption info from their products. Long ago, getting a hardware manufacturer to cough up specs was like pulling teeth, and you pretty much had to reverse-engineer most of it. Nowadays the major ones are not only more open with their specs, but are building Linux and open-source drivers themselves.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Linux will go green
but OS/2 will stay power hungry. OS/2 was never designed green, hence its flaws.
Posted by Andy kaufman (291 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never mind green - uptake rate matters
As a newcomer to Linux, I have been struggling with various distros. After evaluating half a dozen, I think I have come up with one that works consistently on my platform (no SIGEV fault) and provides the features required. It's not realistic to expect someone to switch from Windows if s/he has to set up the computer with the bash shell using incantations redolent of Harry Potter. Two alternative desktops are confusing, each with a different set of different applications. Bearing in mind how often the kernel changes, it's no wonder that peripheral manufacturers are reluctant to offer Linux drivers. Which version would they validate against? Which desktop? Which feature set?
It's all plug and play these days - GUI everywhere - DOS and bash command lines are out. Linux is still a "guru thing", not for the average punter. Until these issues are addressed, Linux will not be a mainstream competitor to Microsoft. I acknowledge immediately that without the dedication of the Linux community, the OS would not be where it is today - there must be thousands of gifted people who have given time to it. On the other hand, I believe that the purist view of the GPL must be relaxed for the sake of the punter. If that person wishes to pay for commercial software that runs under Linux, why prevent it? Free software was born from a free world.
Posted by john2m2 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed....
Also software should be easier to work with. What I mean is software not from the distributor of the distro you choose. I tried out Linux with some open source Home Studio software and after 3 weeks of finding and hunting down dependencies I finally just gave up and booted back into trusty dusty old windows and finished the sound recording in a day.
Posted by Sparky650 (50 comments )
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