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Time for a Linux Bug-Fixing Cycle 236

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the breath-of-fresh-air dept.
AlanS2002 writes "As reported here on Slashdot last week, there are some people who are concerned that the Linux Kernel is slowly getting buggier with the new development cycle. Now, according to Linux.com (Also owned by VA) Linus Torvalds has thrown his two cents in, saying that while there are some concerns, it is not as bad as some might have thought from the various reporting. However he says that the 2.6 Kernel could probably do with a breather to get people to calm down a bit."
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Time for a Linux Bug-Fixing Cycle

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  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:46AM (#15291993) Homepage Journal
    I was wondering could someone explain to my why this (IMHO) good development model was abandoned in favour of continuous feature-adding in the 2.6 kernel?
    It was very, very slow, (ironically, even Andrew Morton complained about this). This meant that desirable new features would be backported to the stable branch anyway, either in mainstream or vendor kernels (with all new bugs), which kind of defeated the object.

    So it increased the workload, didn't seem to offer massive stability benefits (although, maybe it did, in retrospect), it reduced the amount of testing the new features got, and limited the workloads on which they were tested.

    Personally, I find the present -stable branch of non-bleeding edge kernels to be as solid as 2.4 and 2.2 ever were. I do think we've a tendency to look back at that dev-cycle with rose-tinted glasses. It's not as if 2.4 or 2.2 were reasonably bug-free until the twentieth cycle or so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @07:55AM (#15292033)
    HI2U JEFF MURKEY WE KNOW IT'S YOU!!!

    Seriously, for fuck's sake, the stable API argument has been hashed to death on linux-kernel at least twice in the past three years. The primary drivers for these arguments are almost always people who want to make GPL-incompatible (usually closed-source) kernel modules. Pretending it's about stability of the mainline kernel is even more dishonest than the usual arguments in favor of out-of-tree modules.
  • by Mr Z (6791) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:25AM (#15292156) Homepage Journal

    No, the 2.6.x.y are patch releases of 2.6.x. The development releases are 2.6.x-preY. The release candidates are 2.6.x-rcY.

    Makes sense to me at least.

    --Joe
  • by greppling (601175) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @08:34AM (#15292199)
    can be found in a post [livejournal.com] in his live journal. He reports that with every new kernel release, the number of kernel related bug reports in the Fedora bugzilla goes up substantially.

    (Davej is a long time kernel hacker and currently the Fedora kernel maintainer.)

  • Re:question (Score:3, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:00AM (#15292314) Homepage
    It's not necessarily the point that everyone is looking at the code, it's the fact that everyone is able to look at the code. How many times have to encountered a bug in MS software, or any closed software app, and wish that you could fix it yourself. Think of how many developers use windows on a dialy basis. I'm sure that if they had access, most of the bugs would be fixed by now, or at least, it wouldn't be as bad as it is. There's only a small percentage of developers who use open source software. Out of my graduating class of around 50(?) I think that maybe 5-10 of us knew about Linux, and maybe 5 of us used it on a regular basis. I know one guy who does open source programming. But it's not low level kernel stuff, just user apps. I think that as Linux starts being used by more large organizations, there will be many more people who are given the time to fix bugs. Just because it isn't your code, doesn't mean that it isn't your job to fix it. If a bug is plauging your job with problems, and you have the power to fix the bug, most likely you will.
  • by EvilGrin666 (457869) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:15AM (#15292400) Homepage
    What the kernel really lacks is a good standard for coding practices, like say adding comments and indenting at least somewhat sensibly [yeah I know for some of you "elites" you can take reading a complete lack of consistent indentation but for the rest of us ...]

    The kernel includes a document detailing the coding style to use. It lives in Documentation/CodingStyle.txt You can read the current version from Linus' Git tree here [kernel.org]. If you spot anything in the kernel that doesn't follow CodeingStyle.txt you should submit a patch to the kernel janitors to fix it up.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday May 09, 2006 @09:34AM (#15292531) Homepage Journal
    Actually there is supposed to be a stable API for drivers. What you are thinking of is a stable binary interface.
    And yes I would like to see both.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire

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