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

Jim Nance (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 07:21:42 -0500 (EST)

> > 2) The purpose of releasing even numbered kernels is to test them for
> > stability and robustsness.
> AFAIK, their purpose is strictly to fix bugs. Ideally, there should
> only be a single *.0.0 kernel release for example - of course the "rules"

Yes, this is certainly the current understanding. The problem I have
with this is that there is not a mechanism to get a 2.0.X kernel
tested extensivly before releasing it. Thus we need to let people
know that not every 2.0.X kernel is going to be production quality
even though it is in the production tree.

> > 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.
> I have a fundamental bias against promoting the idea Linux = distribution,
> as I see distributions as only a starting point. A distribution is
> someone elses idea of a perfect Linux system, and this puts some people
> in the mindset that "this is all Linux can do - Linux is crap."
> There is a mind boggling amount of amazing software for Linux that is
> not in any distribution - it couldn't be - which a distribution centric
> view of Linux causes to be overlooked.

I agree with you. I have used MCC, SLS, Slackware, and RedHat. I
sometimes put systems together w/o using a distribution if I need a
special purpose/small system. But then again I have been around since
the 0.12 days folling the mailing lists and newsgroups, so I know what
I am doing. The point I was trying to make was that we should not
encourage end users to just grab kernels off and
assume that they have been tested and are going to work. At the very
least they should be reading linux-kernel.

Linux development differes from something like the development of gcc,
where a large amount of development and testing occurs before a release
shows up on With linux if you want a stable tested
kernel the easiest way to do that is use whatever the distribution
people use. If you want a stable tested system, then the easiest way
to get that is to use a distribution. I certainly would not want to
discourage people who want to learn from playing with new kernels.
However, when I see posts like 'I just upgraded to and ps broke'
I know that poster is not following linux-kernel very closely.