Re: kernel structures 2.0.29->2.0.30

Stephane Bortzmeyer (
Fri, 25 Apr 97 14:29:38 +0200

On Thursday 24 April 97, at 17 h 21, the keyboard of Derek Atkins
<> wrote:

> The only cases, IMHO, that should require a fix in a stable kernel
> release is a bug that affects system stability. Any other type of bug
> should be fixed in the development tree and wait until the next stable
> release. This includes performace and security problems.

I do not have the same programming record as Derek Atkins, but I modestly
agree. Each major version drifts more. 1.0 stopped at 1.0.9, 1.2 at
1.2.13, now we are at 2.0.30 and still waiting for a new release since
the whole ISDN stuff stopped working in 2.0.30!

It is difficult enough to try to convince managers to adopt Linux without
that: their two favorite arguments are "Linux is not stable" and "There
is no graphical interface". For the first one, I used to say that Linux
*is* stable (remember: you do not have to convince *me*) and that every
modification in a stable release was careful weighted and overcautiously
studied. This is clearly no longer true and I regret it. It seems Linux
developers lost the problem of "pure" users (not developers). 2.0.x
kernels have introduced new stuff and this is not acceptable (the Apache
break in 2.0.14 was specially catastrophic).

> development release. However, WITHIN a stable release, there should
> be NOTHING more important than maintaining stability. Maintaining or
> improving stability should take precedence over everything else,

Versioning should mean something. Going from 1.x to 2.x should mean a
major change. From 2.0 to 2.1 a smaller change and from 2.0.29 to 2.0.30
just some bug fixes. Otherwise, we are not better than Microsoft which
uses versioning for marketing.

> As an example, there was one 2.0.x patch which changed the ordering of
> entries in some kernel structure "for caching reasons". I'm sorry,

In my opinion, this is not only a problem with the binary interface of
modules. This is a more general problem with Linux. Could we please be
more stable and more careful with changes in *stable* versions. Or, since
Linux is only supported by people who believe in it, not by managers who
dictate its use, we will lost supporters.