[mythtv-users] linux updates suck

David Rees drees76 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 11 00:52:14 UTC 2007

On 9/10/07, Bill Williamson <bill at bbqninja.com> wrote:
> On 9/11/07, David Brodbeck <gull at gull.us> wrote:
> > Personally, I really feel like dropping the alternating stable/
> > unstable kernel release pattern was a bad idea.  I would have rather
> > had a stable 2.6 and then a 2.7 tree for the new stuff.  It took a
> > good dozen releases for 2.6 to really become stable enough for day to
> > day use.
> They do have a stable kernel:
> 2.6.22.x.
> Before that I believe it was 2.6.16.x

There is no "stable/dev" kernel anymore. While some people may choose
to maintain certain releases for an extended period of time (for
example, Adrian Bunk who chose 2.6.16 to maintain), the "stable kernel
team" does not guarantee to support any particular release of a kernel
once the next version has been released.

Sometimes, they might backport critical patches a few revisions back
(for example, they may support 2.6.(x-2) as well as 2.6.(x-1) where
2.6.x is the current release if they decide that the user base of
2.6.(x-2) is large enough to support for whatever reason.

> All they're doing is not doing a FULL branch for the dev kernel.  Once a
> slightly older release has bene found to be stable it is maintained for
> quite a while.

This is not true, see above.

> It's also reccomended by Linus that you use your distro's kernel, which
> should be stableized by them.  It seems that the linux kernel project is now
> more of a "feeder project" for distributions than it was in the past.

This is definitely true. End users are not recommended to use the
vanilla or Linus' kernel unless they know what they are doing. Some
distros track the vanilla kernel more closely than others, for
example, Fedora in particular tracks upstream very closely in general.
RedHat picks a kernel release (not just for the kernel, but for all
packages) and then uses that release to build RHEL.

For those who liked the old stable/unstable kernel release process
better, there's a good reason it was dropped in favor of the current
development process.

1. The first 10-20 releases of a stable branch really weren't stable
anyway, so why call them that.
2. It was taking longer and longer to get all the big changes they
wanted in during a devel release making it more likely that vendors
would spend time backporting patches from devel to stable - usually
not an insignificant effort.
3. Large amounts of time between opening the devel branch again meant
a lot of time not spent working on new features or time waiting for
the devel branch to open. People already complain that the current
release cycle of appx 3 months is too long.

So while the current development process isn't perfect, unfortunately
that is the nature of software development when you have so many
different moving targets to try to synchronize.

If that is something that frustrates you, I suggest you choose a
"stable" distro where package flux is minimal. A distro like CentOS or
Ubunto LTS should be less risky, but at the same time, don't expect to
get all the latest and greatest features from it.


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