Next Linux kernel gets Aussie animal name

The next release of the Linux kernel will be named after an Australian animal following a frenzied bidding war at Linux.conf.au 2004 in Adelaide.

As part of the Penguin Dinner held for attendees on the Friday night at the conference, organisers auctioned off a T-shirt signed by all the participating speakers, as well as Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

As bidding for the T-shirt steadily rose, open-source community members began adding additional incentives. Gnome project manager Jeff Waugh pledged to allow the winning bidder to add their name to the next 2.6 Gnome release if bidding topped A$2,500 (£1,063). Then Torvalds, a surprise attendee at the conference who made his only formal appearance at the dinner, said that if the bids reached that level, he would name the next kernel release after an Australian animal of the winner's choice.

The T-shirt and naming rights were eventually auctioned for A$3,600 to Gernot Heiser, professor of operating systems at the University of New South Wales.

Torvalds told ZDNet Australia that if no specific suggestions were forthcoming, he would probably select "Wallaby" as the name. Heiser said he did not want to make a decision on the night. Funds raised from the auction will go to ComputerbankSA, a charity initiative to provide computers to disadvantaged communities.

In a further demonstration of the open-source community's generosity, A$2,620 was raised for the right to throw three balls and dunk Torvalds in a dunk tank. Originally intended as an auction exercise, the bidding turned into a free-for-all with dozens of attendees pledging money, which will be donated to Cystic Fibrosis. An auction of a Apple PowerBook signed by Linux luminaries raised further funds for CanTeen and Reachout.com.au.

The balls will be thrown by conference organiser Michael Davies. Legendary Australian Linux developer, Rusty Russell was a popular audience choice to dunk Torvalds, but he declined, saying "some of my patches actually do get accepted".

News source: ZDnet

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