Linus Torvalds: 'Linux is bloated'

Tyler Aviss tjaviss-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at
Tue Sep 22 20:47:11 UTC 2009

On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM, Darryl Moore <darryl-90a536wCiRb3fQ9qLvQP4Q at> wrote:
> Hi Jon,
> Maybe I'm a purist, or simply thick, but the difference between Linux
> and the Linux kernel is exactly what?
> Jon VanAlten wrote:
>> So yes, the kernel grows as new features are added.  But he did not
>> describe Linux as a whole as "huge and scary"; in fact, it appears that
>> Asay has paraphrased, while giving the incorrect impression that this
>> was a direct quote.
> --
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Hmm. Well Linux in general would include both some userland and kernel
stuff. When most people think about 'nix they also think about
commonly used FOSS software, like X-Windows, Apache, etc.

I'd say that in terms of usability both are a factor too.
Kernel-bloating isn't a good thing (but it *can* be lessened by
re-rolling a kernel without extraneous stuff, say removing ISA or IDE
support on some newer machines, etc). Am I reading this wrong? Yes,
fixing bugs or security issues may add to the kernel proper. But
overall general features can still be managed by only including the
essentials and/or making good use of loadable modules. There's not
really a windows equivalent in those (or really a non-FOSS

It's the applications and userland stuff I find more irritating. A
bloaty kernel I can work around by including stuff I don't need in the
kernel itself, making better use of modules, etc. I can't do as much
about bloaty memory-leaking issues with firefox/quanta/openoffice,
though choosing a lighter WM is also an option to reduce impact
resource consumption in userland. In windows there are some
equivalents as you can do things like turning off graphical fluff,
setting, avoiding tray-apps/TSR's, or on Vista etc turning off aero.
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings:
TLUG requests: Linux topics, No HTML, wrap text below 80 columns

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