Can the Linux Kernel be More Maintainable? Anandeep interviews Professor Stephen Shach

by anandeep on January 18, 2007 02:15pm

Prof Stephen R. (Steve) Schach is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the Vanderbilt University.

Port 25 met up with him while he was visiting Seattle, Washington in picturesque Kirkland, Washington on the shores of Lake Washington.

Steve (he hates being called Prof Schach!)  believes in gathering data to make predictions.  While he accepts that there may be interpretations of data he thinks gathering the correct data is paramount.

He credits Open Source Software with kick starting the Empirical Software Engineering movement saying “We could count the number of lines of code in gcc and Linux – we couldn’t do that with Windows 95!”.

In this interview we discussed empirical software engineer/computer science and some of the work Steve has been doing. This includes his work on the proportion of time that code is in bug fixing mode and his work on global variables in Linux.

The latter work was found to be controversial by the Open Source Community.  Steve thought that all he was doing was counting the number of global variable in Linux vs BSD and stating that Linux had far more than is considered wise! This was surprising to Steve, but isn’t that much of a surprise to the people who know how much passion Open Source can generate!

Steve’s website is here  and you can find his publications on his website.


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