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Date:   Sun, 5 Jan 2020 04:47:33 +0100
From:   Evan Rudford <>
Subject: Is the Linux kernel underfunded? Lack of quality and security?

The problem of underfunding plagues many open source projects.
I wonder whether the Linux kernel suffers from underfunding in
comparison to its global reach.
Although code reviews and technical discussions are working well, I
argue that the testing infrastructure of the kernel is lacking.
Severe bugs are discovered late, and they are discovered by developers
that should not be exposed to that amount of breakage.
Moreover, I feel that security issues do not receive enough resources.

I argue that the cost of those bugs is vastly higher than the cost
that it would take to setup a better quality assurance.
With sufficient funding, the kernel might do all of the following:

- Make serious efforts to rewrite code with a bad security track
record, instead of only fixing security vulnerabilities on an ad hoc
- Although the kernel will always remain in C, make serious efforts to
introduce a safe language for kernel modules and perhaps for some
- Build an efficient continuous integration (CI) infrastructure.
- Run a fast subset of the CI tests as a gatekeeper for all patch sets.
- Run strict CI tests to ensure that userspace compatibility does not break.
- Run CI tests not only in virtual environments, but also on real hardware.
- Run CI tests that aim to detect performance regressions.

I realize that some companies are already running kernel testing
infrastructure like this.
However, the development process seems to either lack the resources or
the willingness to build a better quality assurance?

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