Faults in Linux: Ten years later

Nicolas Palix, Gaël Thomas, Suman Saha, Christophe Calvès, Julia Lawall, Gilles Muller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2001, Chou et al. published a study of faults found by applying a static analyzer to Linux versions 1.0 through 2.4.1. A major result of their work was that the drivers directory contained up to 7 times more of certain kinds of faults than other directories. This result inspired a number of development and research efforts on improving the reliability of driver code. Today Linux is used in a much wider range of environments, provides a much wider range of services, and has adopted a new development and release model. What has been the impact of these changes on code quality? Are drivers still a major problem? To answer these questions, we have transported the experiments of Chou et al. to Linux versions 2.6.0 to 2.6.33, released between late 2003 and early 2010. We find that Linux has more than doubled in size during this period, but that the number of faults per line of code has been decreasing. And, even though drivers still accounts for a large part of the kernel code and contains the most faults, its fault rate is now below that of other directories, such as arch (HAL) and fs (file systems). These results can guide further development and research efforts. To enable others to continually update these results as Linux evolves, we define our experimental protocol and make our checkers and results available in a public archive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASPLOS XVI - 16th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems
Pages305-318
Number of pages14
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 31 2011
Event16th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, ASPLOS 2011 - Newport Beach, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2011Mar 11 2011

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS

Conference

Conference16th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, ASPLOS 2011
CountryUnited States
CityNewport Beach, CA
Period3/5/113/11/11

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture

Cite this

Palix, N., Thomas, G., Saha, S., Calvès, C., Lawall, J., & Muller, G. (2011). Faults in Linux: Ten years later. In ASPLOS XVI - 16th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (pp. 305-318). (International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems - ASPLOS). https://doi.org/10.1145/1950365.1950401