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Kernel bugs: out of control?

Kernel bugs: out of control?

Posted May 11, 2006 23:34 UTC (Thu) by malor (guest, #2973)
In reply to: Kernel bugs: out of control? by vonbrand
Parent article: Kernel bugs: out of control?

I can remember only three or four 'emergency' patches to 2.4, after Linus branched to 2.5... ones that needed to be installed immediately because they were DOS or security fixes. The size of most of those patches is adding new drivers. When an emergency fix was needed, 2.4 had it out in a day or two, but for the most part, it rolled up a bunch of stuff at once so that people could test the upcoming kernel. I tested a few of those, but never saw any problems with them. Marcelo was wonderfully conservative in his philosophy about patching. (ie, don't add features, fix the old ones, and just add drivers.)

The vast majority of the 16 updates to 2.6.16 have been security-related, and they've required immediate reboots, at least if you're security-conscious. Whether they're 10KiB or 10MiB, they still are primarily to fix security problems. Running a Linux 2.6.16 free of known security holes this month, in other words, has necessitated a reboot every two or three days.

I don't remember that ever happening on ANY earlier kernel, from 0.8 through 2.4, though you're certainly welcome to correct me if I'm misremembering. All security updates to 2.4, as far as I know, came through _really_ fast, so the patch *releases* should be very comparable in terms of total numbers. 16 releases in five or six weeks versus 32 in 5.5 years looks like total shit, IMO. And Linus didn't even go to 2.5 until about Linux 2.4.10, so you could argue that it's really 16 versus 22.

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Kernel bugs: out of control?

Posted May 21, 2006 17:09 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

If you're rebooting whenever *any* security fix to 2.6 -stable comes out, you're wasting your own time. Read the changelogs, or preferably the patches: if you're not even compiling in the code which was fixed, there's no point upgrading.

The patches are *short*. Exploit that. :)

Personally, my firewall is a UML-based virtual machine, and the bridge to the external world has no IP address on the host, so that most attacks don't affect the host at all, but are passed straight through to the UML instance. Immediate security fixes are a matter of bouncing that instance: perhaps a minute and a half of network downtime, and most of *that* is ADSL negotation delay. The only annoyance is the dropping of persistent connections.

If you have vast amounts of state on your firewall, such that rebooting it is hard, you're doing something *very* wrong.

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