Re: too much untested code in new kernels (fwd)

Jim Nance (
Fri, 3 Jan 1997 22:38:17 -0500 (EST)

Forwarded message:

> Granted, I would have liked that the new module utilities had been
> released (publicly on linux-kernel, even if in beta form) before the
> kernel level changes went in. But this happens some times, and we
> caught it obviously, and it is being worked on. Isn't this how it
> always has worked?

I wouldn't touch the ongoing debate with a 10 foot pole, but it is a good
leadin to a related issue I would like to discuss. We all know that
even numered kernels are "production" and odd numberd kernels are
development. Unfortunatly I don't think this tells people enough
about what to expect from a given release. For example should we
expect all releases to work, or is it standard practice to release
non-working kernels just to keep all the developers in sync? I don't
think the answer to this question matters nearly as much as it matters
that everyone knows the answer to this.

Let me share some opinions. Some of these are how I think things should
be and some are how I think things are despite how they should be.

1) The primary purpose of kernel releases is to get the kernel distributed
to a large number of people for testing.

2) The purpose of releasing even numbered kernels is to test them for
stability and robustsness.

3) The purpose of releasing odd numbered kernels is to test new features
and keep everyone synchronized.

4) Instead of saying that even numbered kernels are "production" kernels,
we should encourage people who need stable production systems to use
a distribution. The distribution maintainers generally do a good job
of deciding which kernels are stable. What I am trying to say with
this is that if I find a bug in 2.0.30, the only way the fixed kernel
gets extensivly tested is for Linus to releas 2.0.31. Thus it would be
foolish to ftp to, get 2.0.31, and assume that it
was a well tested production quality kernel. The RedHat/Debian/Etc.
people will move to 2.0.31 if and when they feel it is stable enough.