Re: Why from there? A rethink...

Brion Vibber (
Thu, 14 May 1998 21:10:50 -0700

Riley Williams wrote:
> I therefore repeat my plea: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use the FULL version
> numbered base directory name in the full source tarballs. It would
> also be appreciated if you could include the relevant symlink from
> ./linux to ./linux-?.?.? to update that as well, but that isn't so
> important...

Personally, I find the tarballs to be more flexible, more consistent,
and far more easy to deal with under the current system than they would
be under your proposed system.

1. Things are consistent. Whether I untar a full kernel or apply a
patch, I know that it will always go into 'linux'.

2. It is controllable - if I have multiple kernel versions lying around,
I can easily control which one I am dealing with simply by changing the
linux symlink to the appropriate directory.

This is especially important if, say, one is modifying the kernel. Now,
you decide to make a patch so you can share your hack with others
without taring up the entire modified kernel... Unfortunately you forgot
to make a backup copy of the clean kernel. You go back to /usr/src, make
a new subdirectory (say linux-2.1.101.orig), and change 'linux' to point
to the new directory. You untar the clean 2.1.101 source - it goes into
linux which is now linux-2.1.101.orig - and change the symlink back to
linux-2.1.101 where you've been working. You make your patch (diff -ur
linux-2.1.101.orig linux > mypatch). You send the patch to the mailing
list or somewhere else of relevence; when people apply it the
modifications go into their working trees - whether that be a clean
linux-2.1.101 or a new version (say, pre-2.1.102) that they want to try
getting your patch to work with. All is well.

Now, under your proposed scheme, when I untar the clean source tree it
will _overwrite_ my work tree. Instead of putting the newly untared
source *where I want it*, I have to move my *existing* source where it
won't be harmed. IMHO this is not an improvement!

The possibility of accidentally overwriting old kernels and leaving old
files is slightly annoying, but I would rather have the ability to avoid
it easily by moving a symlink than accidentally overwrite *new* kernels.

This whole discussion has taken up *48* messages so far - 49 including
this one - and that's just the ones that didn't disappear between vger
and my mail server. (I'm sure a few didn't make it.) The simple fact is
that changing this would cause more trouble than it would save, and that
further discussion will only suck up bandwidth. If you think it would be
easier to use tarballs that force the user to use a certain directory
regardless of what they want, then create a script to repack the
tarballs yourself. At least one person mentioned a program that can do
this relatively simply.

Now I appeal to you - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE end this thread.

-- brion vibber (

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