Re: too much untested code in new kernels

Roy P. Turner (
Thu, 2 Jan 1997 17:35:53 -0600

>Hello hackers,
>I see a lot of new code in recent kernels which has not been tested first.
>The top-level MAINTAINERS file says:
> 1. Always _test_ your changes ...
> 2. Try to release a few ALPHA test versions to the net. Announce them
> on the kernel channel and await results.
>The new module code was not tested in this manner.
>The watchdog driver has not been tested in this manner. In fact,
>drivers/char/pcwd.c has not even compiled since 2.1.15! This is not a
>subtle CARD_REV configuration-dependent bug, and it's not a case of some
>other kernel interface changing and this driver needing to catch up. It
>is an outright mismatched open brace in the middle of pcwatchdog_init!
>When I see things like this, it makes me very hesitant to run new
>kernels. I see 1400 of lines of changes in the 2.1.18 VFS and EXT2
>code. Have these changes been tested? I don't know! Are they getting
>tested right now? Not very much, because everyone who uses modules is
>struggling with the incomplete module code that was also introduced in
>So the results is that I'm not going to run 2.1.18 or any later kernel
>on my machine for several weeks.
>Please, code authors, test your patches before you send them to Linus.
>And please, Linus, if a patch has not been tested to your satisfaction,
>tell the author to test it some more before you accept it.
>Michael Chastain
>"love without fear"

and I quote...

This is the new development verion of linux, 2.1.x

NOTE! Being a development version means that things may be unstable.

/usr/src/linux/README (from 2.1.20)

and I quote...

Linux version 2.1 is a DEVELOPMENT kernel, and not intended for general
public use. Different releases may have various and sometimes severe
bugs. It is *strongly* recommended that you back up the previous kernel
before installing any new 2.1.xx release.

If you need to use a proven and stable Linux kernel, please use 1.0.9,
1.2.13, or 2.0.xx. All features which will be in the 2.1.xx releases will
be contained in 2.2.xx when the code base has stabilized again.

I may be wrong, but I thought the purpose of the dev kernels, is so that
we, the willing, can test them and report bugs to the maintainers. No one
is forceing you to use them. Use the production kernels if you want well
tested code. If the dev kernels were fully tested and bug free, they'd be
called production kernels ;)