A Tale of Four Kernels

Windows Research Kernel @ HPI

In a recently published study by Diomidis Spinellis, four operating system kernels are compared in terms of code quality and code structure. The compared kernels are FreeBSD, GNU/Linux, Solaris, and the Windows Research Kernel.

The development process of the different kernels seems to have a strong impact on code structure and style:

Linux excels in various code structure metrics, but lags in code style. This could be attributed to the work of brilliant motivated programmers who aren't however efficiently managed to pay attention to the details of style. In contrast, the high marks of WRK in code style and low marks in code structure could be attributed to the opposite effect: programmers who are efficiently micro-managed to care about the details of style, but are not given sufficient creative freedom to structure their code in an appropriate manner.


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