Linus Torvalds Sees Lots of Hardware Headaches Ahead

Linux founder Linus Torvalds “warns that managing software is about to become a lot more challenging, largely because of two hardware issues that are beyond the control of DevOps teams,” reports
An anonymous reader shares their report about Torvalds remarks at the KubeCon + CloudNative + Open Source Summit China conference:

The first, Torvalds said, is the steady stream of patches being generated for new cybersecurity issues related to the speculative execution model that Intel and other processor vendors rely on to accelerate performance… Each of those bugs requires another patch to the Linux kernel that, depending on when they arrive, can require painful updates to the kernel, Torvalds told conference attendees. Short of disabling hyperthreading altogether to eliminate reliance on speculative execution, each patch requires organizations to update both the Linux kernel and the BIOS to ensure security. Turning off hyperthreading eliminates the patch management issue, but also reduces application performance by about 15 percent.

The second major issue hardware issue looms a little further over the horizon, Torvalds said. Moore’s Law has guaranteed a doubling of hardware performance every 18 months for decades. But as processor vendors approach the limits of Moore’s Law, many developers will need to reoptimize their code to continue achieving increased performance. In many cases, that requirement will be a shock to many development teams that have counted on those performance improvements to make up for inefficient coding processes, he said.

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