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    SubjectRe: stable? quality assurance?
    Hi Martin,

    On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 04:51:42PM +0200, Martin Steigerwald wrote:
    > I hope that someone answers who actually can take some critique. From the
    > current replies I perceive a lack of that ability.

    well, I'll try to do then :-)

    There were some threads in the past about kernel releases quality,
    where Linus explained why it could not be completely black or white.

    Among the things he explained, I remember that one of primary concern
    was the inability to slow down development. I mean, if he waits 2 more
    weeks for things to stabilize, then there will be two more weeks of
    crap^H^H^H^Hdevelopment merged in next merge window, so in fact this
    will just shift dates and not quality.

    There are also some regressions that get merged with every pre-release.
    Thus, assuming he would wait for one more pre-release to merge the
    fixes you spotted, 2 or 3 more would appear, so there's a point where
    it must be decided when to release.

    Right now it's released when he feels it "good enough". This can be
    very subjective, but I'd think that "good enough" basically means
    that the kernel will be able to live in its stable branch without
    major changes and without reverting features.

    Also, you have to consider that there are several types of users.
    Some of them are developers who will run a latest -git kernel at
    some point. Some of them will be enthousiasts waiting for a feature,
    and who will run every -rc kernel once the feature is merged, to
    ensure it does not break before the release. There are also janitors
    and the curious ones who'll basically run a few of the last -rc as
    time permits to see if they can spot a few last-minute issues before
    the release. There are the brave ones who systematically download
    the dot-0 release once Linus announces it and will proudly run it
    to show their friends who it's better than the last one. There are
    those who need a bit of stability (eg: professional laptop or home
    server) and will prefer to wait for a few stable releases to ensure
    they won't waste their time on a big stupid issue that all other ones
    above will have immediately spotted for them. And there are the ones
    who run production servers who will either use distro kernels of
    long term stable kernels, with a more or less long qualification
    process between upgrades.

    It's just an ecosystem where you have to find your place. From your
    description, I think you're before the last ones above, you need
    something which works, eventhough it's not critical, so you could
    very well wait for 2-3 stable updates before upgrading (that does
    not prevent you from testing earlier on other systems if you want
    to test performance, new features, regressions, etc...).

    It's not really advisable to call dot-0 releases "unstable" because
    it will only result in shifting the adoption point between the user
    classes above. We need to have enthousiasts who proudly say "hey
    look, dot-0 and it's already rock solid". We've all seen some of them
    and they're the ones who help reporting issues that get fixed in the
    next stable release.

    I think that the most reasonable thing to do is to assume your need
    for stability and always refrain from running on the latest release.

    Speaking for myself, I tend to run rock solid kernels for my data (my
    file server was still on till this afternoon, I just upgraded
    it to 2.6). The distro's kernel currently is and I'm going to
    switch it back to 2.6.32.x or 2.6.27.x because I'd rather have something
    fully tested there. My desktop which regularly reaches 50-100 days
    uptime runs on whatever looks stable enough for the job when I upgrade.
    Usually it's one of Greg's long term stable series. 2.6.27.x or
    2.6.32.x, with x >= 10. My work laptop is on similar kernels. My
    netbook is generally running experimental code, it does not matter
    much. It's where I'd try 2.6.35-rc for instance, or where I test
    2.6.32.x-rc when Greg announces them.

    You see, there's a kernel for everyone, and for every usage. You just
    have to make your choice. And when you don't know or don't want to
    guess, stick to the distro's kernel.


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