Lennart Poettering

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Lennart Poettering
Lennart poettering.jpg
Poettering in December 2012
Born (1980-10-15) October 15, 1980 (age 35)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Nationality German
Occupation Software engineer
Employer Red Hat
Known for Avahi, PulseAudio, systemd
Website google.com/+LennartPoetteringTheOneAndOnly

Lennart Poettering (born October 15, 1980) is a German computer free software programmer known for his work on PulseAudio, a sound server,[1][2] systemd, a replacement for the System V init daemon,[3] and Avahi, an implementation of the zeroconf protocol for network device discovery.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Poettering was born in Guatemala City but grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Hamburg, Germany.[5] Poettering currently works for Red Hat.[6]

Since 2003, Poettering has worked in more than 40 software projects, mainly written in C. He is the initiator, developer and maintainer of several Free Software projects, which have been widely adopted in many Linux distributions, notably the sound middleware PulseAudio (started in 2004), the networking solution Avahi[7] (started in 2005), and since 2010 the system startup system systemd.


Poettering is known for having controversial technical and architectural positions regarding the Linux ecosystem.[8][9][10] His style has brought him accusations that he is working against long-standing Unix philosophy.[11]

For instance, Poettering has advocated speeding up Linux development at the expense of breaking compatibility with POSIX and other Unix-like operating systems such as the BSDs.[12][13] He took this decision because of his experience in writing some other low-level components in the desktop stack.[8]

Poettering has invited other developers to similarly abandon concerns for software portability, recommending the reading of The Linux Programming Interface and ignoring the parts about POSIX compatibility while doing so.[9]

In January 2013, Poettering responded to criticism of systemd in a blog post called The Biggest Myths.[14] After continued controversy over systemd, which he claimed culminated into personal attacks on him, in October 2014 Poettering complained that the "Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets." Poettering went on to blame Linus Torvalds and other kernel developers for the state of the community.[15]


  1. ^ "LPC: Linux audio: it's a mess". Lwn.net. Archived from the original on 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  2. ^ Paul, Ryan (17 October 2007). "PulseAudio to bring earcandy to Linux". arstechnica.com. Ars Technica. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Michael Larabel (2010-08-23). "An Update On The SystemD System & Session Manager". Phoronix. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  4. ^ "Using Avahi The 'Right Way'", linux.conf.au 2007
  5. ^ linux.conf.au profile
  6. ^ FOSDEM 2011 interview
  7. ^ Paul, Ryan (16 September 2007). "Apple’s new iPod checksum cracked by GtkPod coders". Ars Technica. 
  8. ^ a b "Interview: Lennart Poettering - Lennart Poettering will give a talk about "Systemd: beyond init" at FOSDEM 2011.". fosdem.org. 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-16. Many of my previous projects (including PulseAudio and Avahi) have been written to be portable. Being relieved from the chains that the requirement for portability puts on you is quite liberating. While ensuring portability when working on high-level applications is not necessarily a difficult job it becomes increasingly more difficult if the stuff you work on is a system component (which systemd, PulseAudio and Avahi are). 
  9. ^ a b "Interview: Lennart Poettering - Lennart Poettering will give a talk about "Systemd: beyond init" at FOSDEM 2011.". fosdem.org. 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-16. In fact, the way I see things the Linux API has been taking the role of the POSIX API and Linux is the focal point of all Free Software development. Due to that I can only recommend developers to try to hack with only Linux in mind and experience the freedom and the opportunities this offers you. So, get yourself a copy of The Linux Programming Interface, ignore everything it says about POSIX compatibility and hack away your amazing Linux software. It's quite relieving! 
  10. ^ "Un entretien avec Lennart Poettering". 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2013-01-26. we still can't fully match competing audio stacks like CoreAudio [...] Both Windows and MacOS have much better integrated audio stacks than we have. [...] in general the CoreAudio stack is definitely more advanced than ours. [...] there's no doubt that it [the Windows audio stack] is probably still a better integrated audio hacking experience to develop for Windows. [...] OSS is a simplistic 90's style audio stack. I doesn't really have any relevance for what you need for a modern desktop. 
  11. ^ Larabel, Michael. 2 September 2014. New Group Calls For Boycotting Systemd. Phoronix
  12. ^ "Choosing between portability and innovation". lwn.net. 2011-03-02. POSIX is really an encapsulation of some choices that various Unix systems made along the way, rather than a body of text that got standardized and then implemented. According to Poettering, Linux should use its position as "market leader" (in the market of free Unix-like operating systems) and try out some new things. If developers don't force themselves into the constraints of the POSIX API, they could develop some really innovative software, like systemd shows. When these new developments happen to turn out really interesting, other operating systems could eventually adopt them as well. 
  13. ^ "FOSDEM 2011 interview". 2011-02-06. Not having to care about portability has two big advantages: we can make maximum use of what the modern Linux kernel offers these days without headaches -- Linux is one of the most powerful kernels in existence, but many of its features have not been used by the previous solutions. And secondly, it greatly simplifies our code and makes it shorter: since we never need to abstract OS interfaces the amount of glue code is minimal, and hence what we gain is a smaller chance to create bugs, a smaller chance of confusing the reader of the code (hence better maintainability) and a smaller footprint. 
  14. ^ Poettering, Lennart (2013-01-26). "The Biggest Myths". 
  15. ^ Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (2014-10-06). "Lennart Poettering's Linus Torvalds rant". ZDNet. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 

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