Re: How about a /proc/patches ?

Stephane Bortzmeyer (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 11:16:13 +0100

On Monday 23 February 1998, at 20 h 52, the keyboard of Chris Fowler
<> wrote:

> Is there anybody out there who has thought about creating a patch for the
> kernel that would create a file /proc/patches that would list in it all
> the patches applied to that kernel.

It forces the developers of the patch to be careful about it (what if they forget it? The patch will work and nobody will notice immediately). And it makes a problem when the patch is merged in the main system and you have to delete the register_patch.

I have a related problem: how do you know the configuration options which were used to build a kernel? It's really annoying to have to try in order to find if such or such hardware is supported.

Would it be a good idea to write a small Perl script which greps into /usr/src/linux, finds everything which begins with CONFIG_ and creates a header file with:

register_in_one_way_or_the_other ("foobar");

We could export the result through /proc (it's nice and simple but you have to actually boot the kernel, which is not convenient if you try to find out what's on a boot floppy, and you have to support /proc) or it could be put in a special section of the vmlinuz, which could be examined by ELF "dumpers" (in the worst case, by 'strings').

Does it seem a good idea? The problem is clearly with loadable modules...

[Soapbox: on the commercial Digital Unix, there is no way to know which patches are applied. "uname -a" gives the same result before and after an official Digital kernel patch and the patch does not register anywhere. But we all know that big corporations use commercial OS because they are serious and have configurations to manage.]

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