Kernel News

Kernel News

Article from Issue 252/2021

Zack Brown reports on bug hunting and process appreciation, and refusing "useful" patches.

Bug Hunting and Process Appreciation

There was a fun little bug hunt recently, when Mikael Pettersson reported that Linux 5.10.56 wouldn't boot on his system. This was particularly interesting because the 5.10 kernel is the "stable" series, meaning it receives long-term support from Greg Kroah-Hartman.

The stable vs. development dichotomy is one that has gradually emerged over many years. Originally, there was no such distinction, and Linus Torvalds simply released new patches and new versions as developers submitted them. The kernel was generally stable, but there was not yet any concept of a series of releases that actually aimed for stability, either in terms of bugs or features.

Eventually, Linus began to alternate between stable and development cycles. During the stable cycle, he would accept almost exclusively bug fixes and no new features. During the development cycle, it was a free-for-all, with everyone's favorite project hurtling headlong into the kernel.


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