Justin P. Mattock has set out a rather large clean-up task for himself:
of the web links in the kernel comments. As might be guessed, many of those links
have link-rotted over the last ten or more years, so Mattock is trying to
update the kernel to point to the proper place—if it
can be found. That effort resulted in a monster patch
that covered all of the references to "http" that he could find.
Many of the new links pointed off to archive.org as the only location that
Mattock was able to find, but that caused a formatting problem. When
adding those, he used links like:
which shows all of the different versions of pages that the Wayback Machine
has stored. Putting "*/" into a C-language comment is not a good plan,
as Matt Turner pointed out
. The proper
solution is to use "%2A" as that is the HTML entity for "*". But there is a
bigger issue with those archive links.
Finn Thain suggested that any of those
links could just be left alone and that people should already know about
archive.org, so adding it to the old links is just
"bloat". Furthermore, there is a question of which
version of the stored page is the one that the original comment referred
to. Basically, Thain's point was that web pages which are maintained and
updated are likely to be more useful, and that those who want to refer to
pages that have dropped off the net should know (or learn) how to go about it.
Eventually Mattock split the patch into two
parts, one that updated links to newer locations and the other which added
the archive.org links for lost sites. He is soliciting more feedback on
whether to include
the archive links or not.
It is not clear, so far at least, whether these changes will be accepted.
It is, in a sense, churn, and likely to lead to more churn down the road as
link-rot is an endemic web problem. It is probably frustrating for
developers and others to come across broken links in the kernel code, but
is it worth the never-ending—hopefully fairly infrequent—stream
of update patches? There are undoubtedly copyright, logistical, and other
issues, but it
would certainly be a lot nicer if these documents could be permanently
stored in some location at kernel.org.
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