Where did he come from, and what are his plans for 2.4? Marcelo Tosatti opens up to Robert McMillan about the joy, the fear, the challenges, and the rewards of being the Linux kernel maintainer. He also talks about his favorite hack. Stepping into Alan Cox’s shoes is no mean feat, even for the most accomplished of hackers, but that is just what a little-known, 18-year-old Brazilian hacker named Marcelo Tosatti did this fall when Linus Torvalds handed over maintenance of the Linux 2.4 kernel tree to Tosatti instead of Cox. According to all parties involved, Cox wanted more time to pursue other projects, and after having maintained the 2.0 and 2.2 trees, it was time for someone else to do the job. Since taking over the job, Tosatti has managed three kernel releases, starting with 2.4.16; has answered, according to one account, close to 700 press queries; and has given the tersest Slashdot interview in history. IBM developerWorks caught up with Tosatti to ask him about his first four months on the job.