Kernel bugs: out of control?
Posted May 11, 2006 8:51 UTC (Thu) by tialaramex
In reply to: Kernel bugs: out of control?
Parent article: Kernel bugs: out of control?
That's definitely one side of the coin, and if its the only side that resonates with what you do (e.g. if you have a pile of 3-5 year old web servers running a patched Linux) then I'm glad you're able to enjoy 2.4 series kernels and that you feel so strongly about quality.
However, the OTHER side of the coin is that a lot of people own hardware that wasn't supported five micro versions ago (2.6.11) and didn't work well enough to be really acceptable as a main desktop/ laptop system until the last two or three versions, and there are people who are waiting for things in 2.6.17 or so before their hardware will work.
Under the old regime, my laptop would have stopped at "boots, but most things don't work properly" pending the transformation from 2.7.x to 2.8 stable, presumably some time in 2007. Obviously that means I wouldn't have bought this laptop, but instead an older, hard to obtain model with much worse specifications. Most people would have just junked Linux and gone to Windows or OS X.
Secondly it's unclear whether the bugs being fixed in new stable patches are just bugs that would previously have sat quietly in a queue for weeks, or (in the stable kernel series) for months, waiting for a new major release. We're quick to shout "foul" when Microsoft says that dozens of security fixes wrapped up as a Service Pack counts as one patch versus hundreds of separate package updates in a Linux distro, so we should be cautious before assuming that e.g. this week's fixes to SCTP would have been unnecessary in the "stable 2.6 series" world, rather than simply being delayed 12 weeks and then included without fanfare.
Nothing whatsoever prevents you from getting a gang of people together to maintain say 2.6.16-stable indefinitely. If you do it for more than a month or two and look serious about it, Linus will probably even bless it.
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