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SubjectRe: Future of the -longterm kernel releases (i.e. how we pick them).
From
>Greg KH wrote:
> To keep this all out in the open, let's figure out what to do here.
> Consumer devices have a 1-2 year lifespan, and want and need the
> experience of the kernel community maintaining their "base" kernel for
> them.  There is no real "enterprise" embedded distro out there from what
> I can see.  montaVista and WindRiver have some offerings in this area, but
> they are not that widely used and are usually more "deep embedded".
> There's also talk that the CELF group and Linaro are wanting to do
> something on a "longterm" basis, and are fishing around for how to
> properly handle this with the community to share the workload.  Android
> also is another huge player here, upgrading their kernel every major
> release, and they could use the support of a longterm kernel as well.

Well I certainly hope that there's more participation on sharing the
workload by embedded companies than there has historically been.
I'm not at LinuxCon this week, but I want to follow up with you
(maybe at KS?) on good ways that CE companies can help with
this effort.

> Proposal:
>
> Here's a first cut at a proposal, let me know if you like it, hate it,
> would work for you and your company, or not at all:
>
> - a new -longterm kernel is picked every year.
> - a -longterm kernel is maintained for 2 years and then dropped.
> - -stable kernels keep the same schedule that they have been (dropping
>  the last one after a new release happens.)  These releases are best
>  for products that require new hardware updates (desktop distros,
>  community distros, fast-moving embedded distros (like Yocto)).
> - the normal -stable rules apply to these -longterm kernels as described
>  in Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt
>
> This means that there are 2 -longterm kernels being maintained at the
> same time, and one -stable kernel.  I'm volunteering to do this work, as
> it's pretty much what I'm doing today anyway, and I have all of the
> scripts and workflow down.

This all sounds great to me. As you know CEWG (formerly CELF) is very
interested in supporting LTS work. What you describe
would be a good base for what we envision.

That said, I echo the concerns about version selection. It would be
good to have a "settle" period longer than 1 stable release for selecting
a kernel (but then again, we don't want to wait too long to pick each
longterm release).

Rolling, overlapping, longterm versions seems like a nice idea.
I like the idea of looking for a volunteer to continue maintenance after
2 years, and if none is found dropping the release. That way, someone
can step up if there is continued interest in a particular longterm version.

Also, the more people using a particular LTS kernel, the better. In the past
the embedded guys didn't coordinate well enough with other parties. If
we could get enterprise, desktop and embedded on a single LT release, that
would be really nice. I'm not sure how you're keeping track of interested
parties, but if there's a mailing list (besides 'stable') let me know so I can
sign up.

With regard to version selection, I know different companies will have
different versions they'd like to see selected. Having consensus on
a version is more important than the particular version chosen.
Having said that, here are some (non-BSP) things we look at for selecting
kernel versions at Sony:

One specific issue I have is support for PREEMPT_RT, so that's a big
factor in selecting Sony kernel versions. Thus, coordinating with the
RT patchset kernel versions is important to me. Currently
that would mean 3.0 is a good candidate.

The other major out-of-tree patches we usually integrate are
1) Android
2) LTTng, but I've heard that this might soon be buildable as
a loadable module (eliminating the need for any patch integration).

Thanks,
-- Tim
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