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SubjectRe: RFD: Kernel release numbering

__Stable__ would be a good thing. The entire 2.6 development has been a
disaster from
a stability viewpoint. I have to maintain a huge tree of patches in
order to ship appliance
builds due to the lack of stability for 2.6. I think that the even
number releases will take longer
but it's worth the wait.


Linus Torvalds wrote:

>This is an idea that has been brewing for some time: Andrew has mentioned
>it a couple of times, I've talked to some people about it, and today Davem
>sent a suggestion along similar lines to me for 2.6.12.
>Namely that we could adopt the even/odd numbering scheme that we used to
>do on a minor number basis, and instead of dropping it entirely like we
>did, we could have just moved it to the release number, as an indication
>of what was the intent of the release.
>The problem with major development trees like 2.4.x vs 2.5.x was that the
>release cycles were too long, and that people hated the back- and
>forward-porting. That said, it did serve a purpose - people kind of knew
>where they stood, even though we always ended up having to have big
>changes in the stable tree too, just to keep up with a changing landscape.
>So the suggestion on the table would be to go back to even/odd, but do it
>at the "micro-level" of single releases, rather than make it a two- or
>three-year release cycle.
>In this setup, all kernels would still be _stable_, in the sense that we
>don't anticipate any real breakage (if we end up having to rip up so much
>basic stuff that we have to break anything, we'd go back to the 2.7.x kind
>of numbering scheme). So we should fear odd releases, but track them, to
>make sure that they are good (if you don't track them, and problems won't
>be fixed in the even version either)
>But we'd basically have stricter concerns for an even release, and in
>particular the plan would be that the diff files would alternate between
>bigger ones (the 2.6.10->11 full diff was almost 5MB) and smaller ones (a
>2.6.11->12 release would be a "stability only" thing, and hopefully the
>diff file would be much smaller).
>We'd still do the -rcX candidates as we go along in either case, so as a
>user you wouldn't even _need_ to know, but the numbering would be a rough
>guide to intentions. Ie I'd expect that distributions would always try to
>base their stuff off a 2.6.<even> release.
>It seems like a sensible approach, and it's not like the 2.4.x vs 2.5.x
>kind of even/odd thing didn't _work_, the problems really were an issue of
>too big granularity making it hard for user and developers alike. So I see
>this as a tweak of the "let's drop the notion althogether for now"
>decision, and just modify it to "even/odd is meaningful at all levels".
>In other words, we'd have an increasing level of instability with an odd
>release number, depending on how long-term the instability is.
> - 2.6.<even>: even at all levels, aim for having had minimally intrusive
> patches leading up to it (timeframe: a week or two)
>with the odd numbers going like:
> - 2.6.<odd>: still a stable kernel, but accept bigger changes leading up
> to it (timeframe: a month or two).
> - 2.<odd>.x: aim for big changes that may destabilize the kernel for
> several releases (timeframe: a year or two)
> - <odd>.x.x: Linus went crazy, broke absolutely _everything_, and rewrote
> the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing version
> of Visual Basic. (timeframe: "we expect that he will be released from
> the mental institution in a decade or two").
>The reason I put a shorter timeframe on the "all-even" kernel is because I
>don't want developers to be too itchy and sitting on stuff for too long if
>they did something slightly bigger. In theory, the longer the better
>there, but in practice this release numbering is still nothing but a hint
>of the _intent_ of the developers - it's still not a guarantee of "we
>fixed all bugs", and anybody who expects that (and tries to avoid all odd
>release entirely) is just setting himself up for not testing - and thus
> Linus
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