Alan Cox, one of the longest standing kernel-developers next to Linus Torvalds, leaves the kernel team and his job at Intel, for personal reasons having to do with his family.
Kernel-Developer for more than 20 years, Cox has implemented a new network stack all by himself in the early 90s and from thereon rose to become number two in the ranks of the kernel-devs. Hardly anyone else has such a solid knowledge of the complexity of the kernel as he does. Linus Torvalds, that he does not always agree with on technical questions, joked about him once, saying:
“Note that nobody reads every post in linux-kernel. In fact, nobody who expects to have time left over to actually do any real kernel work will read even half. Except Alan Cox, but he’s actually not human, but about a thousand gnomes working in under-ground caves in Swansea. None of the individual gnomes read all the postings either, they just work together really well. ”
Up to the release of Kernel 2.6 Cox was the operative number two as well. Since then, he only takes care of parts of the Kernel like the serial drivers that he was responsible for until now. His most important achievements were, besides his care for Kernels 2.2. and 2.4, the implementation of SMP in Kernel 2.0. In his professional life during the last years, Red Hat and Intel payed him to work on the Linux Kernel full time.
In his announcement he left it open, that he might be back if the situation allows him to do so. He will not only be severely missed by his colleagues on the kernel team but also by the community for his often sarcastic, witty analysis and comments, where he was never far from the truth.