Kernel bugs: out of control?
Posted May 13, 2006 20:19 UTC (Sat) by Baylink
In reply to: Kernel bugs: out of control?
Parent article: Kernel bugs: out of control?
This sub-thread speaks to a topic near and dear to my heart: what does a version number *mean*?
Let me quote here my contribution to the Wikipedia page on the topic, based on my 20 years of observation of various software packages:
A different approach is to use the major and minor numbers, along with an alphanumeric string denoting the release type, i.e. 'alpha', 'beta' or 'release candidate'. A release train using this approach might look like 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 == 1.0b1, 1.0b2 (with some fixes), 1.0b3 (with more fixes) == 1.0rc1 (which, if it's stable enough) == 1.0. If 1.0rc1 turns out to have bugs which must be fixed, it turns into 1.0rc2, and so on. The important characteristic of this approach is that the first version of a given level (beta, RC, production) must be identical to the last version of the release below it: you cannot make any changes at all from the last beta to the first RC, or from the last RC to production. If you do, you must roll out another release at that lower level.
The purpose of this is to permit users (or potential adopters) to evaluate how much real-world testing a given build of code has actually undergone. If changes are made between, say, 1.3rc4 and the production release of 1.3, then that release, which asserts that it has had a production-grade level of testing in the real world, in fact contains changes which have not necessarily been tested in the real world at all.
The assertion here seems to be that an even higher level of overloading on version numbering ("even revision kernels are stable") and it's associated 'social contract' are no longer being upheld by the kernel development team.
If that's, in fact, a reasonable interpretation of what's going on, then indeed, it's probably not the best thing. I'm not close enough to kernel development to know the facts, but I do feel equipped to comment on the 'law'.
to post comments)