Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Virtualization Linux

Linus Thinks Virtualization Is 'Evil' 330

Front page first-timer crdotson writes "Linus said in an interview that he thinks virtualization is 'evil' because he prefers to deal with the real hardware. Hardware virtualization allows for better barriers between systems by running multiple OSes on the same hardware, but OS-level virtualization allows similar barriers without a hypervisor between the kernel and the hardware. Should we expect more focus on OS-level virtualization such as Linux-VServer, OpenVZ, and LXC?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linus Thinks Virtualization Is 'Evil'

Comments Filter:
  • Some might argue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:37PM (#37147058)

    That your OS being tied to a particular piece of hardware without a ton of effort is also "evil." Migration is one of the best things ever.

  • Linus is right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:39PM (#37147064) Homepage Journal

    The shift towards virtualization represents a further shift in control away from each person towards a reliance on the honest of others.

  • Screws are evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:40PM (#37147078)

    Because I'm used to working with a hammer.

    Linus is not a god, just a guy, with his own prejudices.

  • by g00mbasv ( 2424710 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:44PM (#37147128)
    The title is a bit on the FUD style. PROPER virtualization is not criticized by Linus, but improper implementation, namely cheap OS-level virtualization wich could lead to lazy shortcuts to patches and features implementation.
  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:51PM (#37147214) Homepage

    If you want to see where virtualization is going, check out where VM370 was in 1977 or so. That is about as far as the current virtualization technology has gotten. Bare metal has its place, as does virtualization.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:53PM (#37147244)

    Having to reboot to play video games.

  • Re:Linus is right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @03:54PM (#37147270) Journal

    WTF? I've built three production Linux KVM servers now. Other than relying on the KVM team (backed mainly by Redhat), I'm not relying on anybody else. And if Redhat is a problem for you, then you've got bigger issues than the KVM virtualization modules in the kernel.

  • by Jon Stone ( 1961380 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @04:39PM (#37147820)

    Virtualisation is, in many ways, trying to do what the OS should already be doing, namely isolation between processes (though protected memory), providing an abstraction layer for the hardware (though drivers) and allocating resources (through the CPU/IO schedulers).

    Unfortunately, a certain OS has been so bad at doing this (historically) that people turn to virtualisation and you end up with a form of inner-platform effect []. We have Linux implementing the virtio drivers to interface with the hypervisor which implements real drivers to talk to the real hardware. We have the guest's scheduler trying to manage "virtual CPUs" without any real information about what resources are actually available. We have hypervisors trying [] to re-implement copy-on-write [] for memory pages that the OS already does out-of-the-box.

    Virtualisation is used as a "one size fits all" sledgehammer, often where it isn't the appropriate solution.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @04:52PM (#37147968)

    Which smells badly designed service. It being running should be tied to any specific hardware/vm/os running.

    As yes...the old all software ever written is just badly designed argument. We just need to fix all software ever written and then we won't need OS virtualization.

  • Re:Screws are evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @05:15PM (#37148202)
    Read the article. Linus has accepted both KVM and Xen into the kernel, it talks about why he and some other guru think KVM was managed better and is a better implementation.

    Let's not confuse two completely different things: if Richard Stallman said something was "evil," it would mean he was morally opposed to it and wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. But Linus calling hypervisor virtualization "evil" just means he'd rather work on hardware, but hey, you want virtualization, go ahead and take your pick of the ones Linux provides.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Friday August 19, 2011 @05:29PM (#37148338) Homepage

    Linus likes to say things that are a bit over-the-top. He trusts that his audience can detect the tongue-in-cheek nature of the comments.

    I do the same thing. If I say something like "I hate and fear Perl", I don't mean it literally.

    Some people were upset about Linus's presentation about Git where he bashed Subversion. I thought it was pretty clear that he was exaggerating his comments for comedic effects, and I was entertained rather than outraged.

    Linus does sometimes say things I disagree with. He resisted having an official kernel debugger for years, because he said kernel developers should be able to hold everything in their heads and not need a debugger to help them. (Did he ever give in on that?) But this current issue is a non-issue.


  • He's only wasting his time if it doesn't work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2011 @06:07PM (#37148684)

    The whole point of a modern OS is to virtualize the hardware so that each software application can play nice with each other.

    The hypervizor is the new ring 0. And it's going to evolve into a microkernel and user mode drivers. It's the new operating system and that what he should be working on if he likes hardware bits. The "Operating Systems" of old are evolving into plug in Operating Environments. It's the future, the revolution, get over it.

    The trend over the last decade to single task each OS instance, because they are hard to configure to support multiple applications. A single tasked operating system is still a HUGE, HUUUUGE amount of administrative overhead. The admin overhead involved with managing one ESX hypervisor running twenty discrete VM's is lower than one operating system (pick any one) running twenty discrete applications. Why is that?
    From ESX, we have programmatic, WUI, GUI, and CLI interfaces that can clone a live system, snapshot it, back it up consistently, change settings, provide configuration management, etc. It does all that with complete isolation between systems. Name an OS that provides those services to its constituents, or with anywhere NEAR the same ease of use (pointing finger at Solaris).

    It's one thing to wave our hands and SAY operating systems are evolving into operating environments, it's another when they start behaving that
    way, and GTFO of our way or do something useful!

    I'm all of ESX admin, Puppet & MCollective admin/developer, and UNIX sysadmin. I'm fully aware of the levels of kludgery necessary to abstract away (supposedly superior, unix) operating systems.

    To Linus, I say operating systems are Evil. Fuck. Them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2011 @06:27PM (#37148876)

    Assuming you mean Bitkeeper rather than Bitlocker, I think Linus fucked Linus with Bitkeeper then Git rather than us. As a sysadmin/user I've upgraded kernels from early 2.6 to far more recent (from memory, 2.6.5 to 2.6.32) and not struggled with incompatibility.

    And as for 3.0 not providing new features over 2.6.39... you're right. It doesn't. It's just 2.6.40 given a different name which makes more sense given the current development model.

    So what's Linus personally done over the last 5 years? He's managed a big and growing project with a worldwide developer base. That's a pretty damned good acheivement in my book.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama