The Linux kernel development community remains extremely busy, as shown in the recent Linux Kernel Development Report, written by Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman. Since the 4.7 release, just under 83,000 changesets have been merged from 4,319 individual developers representing 519 known corporations. Part of this busy development process involves the kernel testing infrastructure. According to the report, the “zero-day build and boot robot” system alone found 223 bugs (all of which were fixed) during the most recent reporting period. The in-kernel self-test framework continues to improve and will someday be a comprehensive test suite for the kernel.
Shuah Khan, Senior Linux Kernel Developer at Samsung Research America, is the maintainer of the kernel self-test framework. In this article, Khan answers a few questions about her work on the Linux kernel.
The Linux Foundation: What role do you play in the community and what subsystem(s) do you work on?
Shuah Khan: I maintain the Linux kernel self-test framework and USB-over-IP driver. I also contribute to the Linux Media, Power Management, IOMMU, and DMA areas. I publish articles related to the Linux kernel on the Samsung Open Source Group (OSG) blog and have previously written for the Linux Journal, where I authored a paper on Linux Kernel Testing and Debugging.
The Linux Foundation: What have you been working on this year?
Khan: My main focus this year has been Exynos platform upstream stability, Kselftest framework and individual tests. I contributed to improving the quality of media subsystem core, and media and drm drivers on Exynos platform. I enhanced and improved the Kselftest framework by adding support for the Test Anything Protocol and object relocation. In addition, I boot tested stable kernel release candidates and maintained the Kselftest and USB-over-IP drivers.
The Linux Foundation: What do you think the kernel community needs to work on in the upcoming year?
Khan: The Linux Kernel community should continue its focus on adding support for new hardware, harden the security, and improve quality. Focusing on effective ways to proactively detect security vulnerabilities, race conditions, and hard-to-find problems will help towards achieving the above goals. As a process issue, community would have to take a close look at the maintainer to developer ratio to avoid maintainer fatigue and bottlenecks.
The Linux Foundation: Why do you contribute to the Linux kernel?
Khan: Contributing to the Linux kernel requires a unique set of skills in addition to the technical know-how. Contributors should be open to their ideas and work challenged and questioned, be ready to accept criticism, be open and flexible to evolve their ideas and work based on feedback from other contributors. It is an iterative process of review and refinement to evolve a fix or a feature that adds value to the kernel. I enjoy the technical challenges and being part of the community that works towards a common goal of making the Linux kernel better in each release.
You can learn more about the Linux kernel development process and read more developer profiles in the full report. Download the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report now.
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