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536033a @gregkh longterm future text
1 Future of the -longterm kernel releases.
559b1c2 @gregkh longterm-future: added summary at top, and Andi's comments about .35
3 tl;dr;
4 * -stable kernel releases stay the same
5 * this proposal is how we pick the -longterm releases
6 * -longterm kernels will be picked every year, and maintained
7 * for 2 years before being dropped.
8 * the same Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt will apply for
9 * -longterm kernels, as before.
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
11 History:
59a9ab9 @gregkh longterm-future, minor edits
13 2.6.16 became a "longterm" kernel because my day job (at SUSE) picked
14 the 2.6.16 kernel for its "enterprise" release and it made things a lot
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
15 easier for me to keep working at applying bugfixes and other stable
16 patches to it to make my job simpler (applying a known-good bunch of
17 patches in one stable update was easier than a set of smaller patches
18 that were only tested by a smaller group of people.)
20 Seeing that this worked well, a cabal of developers got together at a
21 few different Linux conferences and determined that based on their
22 future distro release cycles, we could all aim for standardizing on the
59a9ab9 @gregkh longterm-future, minor edits
23 2.6.32 kernel, saving us all time and energy in the long run. We turned
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
24 around and planted the proper seeds within the different organizations
25 and low-and-behold, project managers figured that this was their idea
26 and sold it to the rest of the groups and made it happen. Right now all
27 of the major "enterprise" and "stable" distro releases are based on the
59a9ab9 @gregkh longterm-future, minor edits
28 2.6.32 kernel, making this trial a huge success.
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
30 Last year, two different community members (Andi and Paul) asked me
31 if they could maintain the 2.6.34 and 2.6.35 kernels as -longterm kernel
32 releases as their companies needed this type of support. I agreed, and
559b1c2 @gregkh longterm-future: added summary at top, and Andi's comments about .35
33 they have done a great job at this.
35 Andi reports that the 2.6.35 kernel is being used by a number of
36 different distros, but they will be phased out as their support lifetime
37 expires. There are also a number of embedded users of the kernel as
38 well as some individual ones. So that -longterm kernel is having a lot
39 of benefit for a wide range of users.
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
42 Today:
59a9ab9 @gregkh longterm-future, minor edits
44 Now that 2.6.32 is over a year and a half, and the enterprise distros
45 are off doing their thing with their multi-year upgrade cycles, there's
46 no real need from the distros for a new longterm kernel release. But it
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
47 turns out that the distros are not the only user of the kernel, other
48 groups and companies have been approaching me over the past year, asking
49 how they could pick the next longterm kernel, or what the process is in
50 determining this.
52 To keep this all out in the open, let's figure out what to do here.
53 Consumer devices have a 1-2 year lifespan, and want and need the
54 experience of the kernel community maintaining their "base" kernel for
55 them. There is no real "enterprise" embedded distro out there from what
56 I can see. montaVista and WindRiver have some offerings in this area, but
57 they are not that widely used and are usually more "deep embedded".
58 There's also talk that the CELF group and Linaro are wanting to do
59 something on a "longterm" basis, and are fishing around for how to
60 properly handle this with the community to share the workload. Android
61 also is another huge player here, upgrading their kernel every major
62 release, and they could use the support of a longterm kernel as well.
64 Proposal:
66 Here's a first cut at a proposal, let me know if you like it, hate it,
67 would work for you and your company, or not at all:
69 - a new -longterm kernel is picked every year.
70 - a -longterm kernel is maintained for 2 years and then dropped.
71 - -stable kernels keep the same schedule that they have been (dropping
72 the last one after a new release happens.) These releases are best
73 for products that require new hardware updates (desktop distros,
74 community distros, fast-moving embedded distros (like Yocto)).
ed1a5a6 @gregkh longter-future: add note about stable rules applying
75 - the normal -stable rules apply to these -longterm kernels as described
76 in Documentation/stable_kernel_rules.txt
536033a @gregkh longterm future text
78 This means that there are 2 -longterm kernels being maintained at the
79 same time, and one -stable kernel. I'm volunteering to do this work, as
80 it's pretty much what I'm doing today anyway, and I have all of the
81 scripts and workflow down.
83 Public Notifications:
85 The current site doesn't properly show what is and is not
86 being maintained as a -stable and -longterm kernel. I have a proposal
87 for how to fix this involving 'git notes', I just need to sit down and
88 do the work with the admins to get this running properly.
90 Thoughts?
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