Kernel bugs: out of control?
Posted May 11, 2006 7:56 UTC (Thu) by malor
Parent article: Kernel bugs: out of control?
I don't understand why people don't stick with the most basic truth of software development: the way to make stable code is to stop adding features, and start fixing bugs.
It's really that simple. 2.4 was a mess until Linux branched to 2.5. Marcelo took it over from there, and while 2.4 isn't perfect. it's quite stable. He's done a fantastic job.
2.6, in comparison, is terrible, and getting worse, for precisely the same reason that 2.4 was bad: they won't let it stabilize. They're adding features too fast to debug, much too fast for anyone to deal with. It's a part-time job just keeping up with the new features they keep adding.
NOBODY understands the security implications of moving as fast as they do. As of this writing, there have been SIXTEEN PATCHES to 2.6.16, a theoretically 'stable' kernel, in about six weeks. That's more than a patch every three days.
They kernel devs are fundamentally waving their hands in the air, expecting 'the distros' to make their code work. Quality is *not something that can be retrofit*. The pay vendors, like Red Hat, seem to be doing an okay job, but Debian, at least, is really having trouble. They mostly publish Linus trees with just a few patches. 2.6.16 has been a *disaster*.
This model of kernel development works well only for developers. For the rest of the world, it is a trainwreck. Stable code needs to be stable and supported for a couple of years, not dropped like a hot rock after 2 months. Linus et al are seriously risking Linux's ownership of the word 'stable' in the market. Once that's lost, it won't be easily regained. (Just ask Microsoft!)
2.4 has been out about five and a half years: THAT is stable software. 126.96.36.199 has been about one hour as of this writing: the lifetime of 188.8.131.52 was two entire days. A 'stable' piece of software that requires sixteen patches in six weeks is NOT STABLE. 2.4 has had, as of this writing, 32 patches in its ENTIRE LIFESPAN of 5.5 years.
Linus NEEDS to appoint a 2.6 maintainer, and go play in the 2.7 sandbox, instead of putting the entire world through this alpha-quality crap.
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