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Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 6:21 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
In reply to: Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop by bojan
Parent article: Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

>So, your theory is that Red Hat have a completely independent RHEL tree in house and they have some secret society test just those kernels for years, before they become real RHEL kernels.
That's EXACTLY what happens. RHEL kernel is branched off about a year before the first beta and 1.5 years before the final release. With lots of backports, of course.

Case in point: RHEL 6 which was released on 2010-11-10 is based on 2.6.32 which was released on 2009-12-03 (and that's unusually quick turnaround for RHEL).

And they're supporting it until 2018 (at least), with backports of new features and bugfixes.

>I think you are mistaken. They would not have enough man power or wide enough configurations available for that. Their "super stable" RHEL kernels would suck big time if they did that.
They employ a lot of kernel developers precisely for that very purpose.

And that's the reason why RedHat is a big company.


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Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 6:27 UTC (Thu) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> RHEL kernel is branched off [...]

Branched off what exactly? Fedora, of course.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 6:29 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Actually, no. They begin with the mainline kernel and start applying patches on top of it. Some of these patches, of course, were in Fedora.

But by the time they start a new development cycle, Fedora is already several kernel versions in the future.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 6:45 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"Actually, no. They begin with the mainline kernel and start applying patches on top of it."

Where did you get that idea?

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 7:02 UTC (Thu) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Here is a changelog message from one of the RHEL5 kernels:

* Fri Jul 07 2006 <name> <email>
- Unified rhel and fedora srpm

> Actually, no. They begin with the mainline kernel and start applying patches on top of it. Some of these patches, of course, were in Fedora.

This is just playing semantic games. All the patches that Red Hat do on recent mainline kernels end up in Fedora, which are then (attempted to be) pushed upstream. So, by the time this RHEL kernel is based on some x.y.z upstream release, many of those Fedora patches won't even apply (because they are already part of mainline). Of course, features that RH decide not to support in RHEL (that would be the streamlining thing I was talking about) will not appear, will not be patched and will not be compiled.

> But by the time they start a new development cycle, Fedora is already several kernel versions in the future.

I do not see why that would be surprising at all. And, of course, this is where the "trunk" of new RHEL is being forged: by applying Fedora specific patches, testing them in the wild, getting feedback and pushing them upstream. This is how they _leverage_ the community. If they did not do that, that would be really stupid. And I think Red Hat's balance sheet speaks volumes about them not being stupid.

PS. If you are trying to suggest that RHEL kernel is physically not a branch of some SCM Fedora system, then you may even be correct. But, that is not what I was talking about when describing the non-secretive trunk of the Red Hat's distro development.

Meeks: Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

Posted Sep 13, 2012 7:30 UTC (Thu) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> If you are trying to suggest that RHEL kernel is physically not a branch of some SCM Fedora system, then you may even be correct.

Just downloaded a RHEL6 kernel SRPM. The spec file mentions the word "fedora" (case insensitive) in 12 lines. So, even technically, you are probably wrong.


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