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Linus Says Pre-2.6 is Coming 304

Posted by michael
from the release-early-release-often-ha-ha-ha-ha dept.
gomoX writes "As seen on C|Net , Linus has announced that the pre-2.6 series will be starting in early July. Despite not having been able to meet the release goal for 2.6 in June 2003, the next stable version is not as far away as you may think. You can take your guess based on the fact there was a 9 month period between first test version of 2.4 and the official release of 2.4.0 on January 2001."
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Linus Says Pre-2.6 is Coming

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  • by Genyin (415163) on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:12PM (#6368580) Homepage Journal
    In fact, 2.5 isn't that bad right now... certainly, it would be crazy to use it on a production system unless you really know what you're doing[1], but it's quite usable, and the scheduling has really improved.

    [1] in which case you probably wouldn't use it on said production system... ;)
  • So what's the easiest way to use new versions, use something like Gentoo or Linux From Scratch? Jonah Hex
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So what hot new features can we expect from the new 2.6 Kernel
  • 2.5.x (Score:4, Informative)

    by bazik (672335) <(gro.ootneg) (ta) (kizab)> on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:18PM (#6368611) Homepage Journal
    I am using a rock solid 2.5.70 since its released and its performs just great! And having Morton and Torvalds at OSDL is a good thing (tm) :)
    • Is the framebuffer stuff fixed yet? Last time I liked (around 2.5.6x or so) it was very badly broken.
      • As of 2.5.72 I think, the Matrox framebuffer at least compiles again. There is too much screen corruption on my 8mb G200 for it to be really usable yet...but its an improvement over the previous total breakage.
  • Ridiculous (Score:2, Funny)

    by stud9920 (236753)
    Your "Overt Sauce" model is clearly breaked ! Windows has been way beyond 2.6 (3.1 to be exact) since what ? 11 years ?
  • by k-hell (458178) on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:20PM (#6368620)
    KernelTrap is running a story [kerneltrap.org] on an interview Alan Cox gave at LinuxUser & Developer Expo 2003 [linux-expo.co.uk] in Birmingham, U.K. A summary [linux-expo.co.uk] of Alan's talk is also available.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:23PM (#6368635)
    not to be nitpicky or anything, but technically, shouldn't future versions of linux be referred to as GNU/SCO?
  • by Gzip Christ (683175) on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:28PM (#6368662) Homepage
    You can take your guess based on the fact there was a 9 month period between first test version of 2.4 and the official release of 2.4.0 on January 2001.
    You might think that this was due to the birth of Linus' daughter Patricia. However, Linus actually spent those nine months cutting and pasting our code into the Linux kernel (there's so much of it, which is why it took him so long). Also, I am Patricia's real father.

    -- Darl McBride

    • by chef_raekwon (411401) on Friday July 04, 2003 @04:41PM (#6369003) Homepage
      You might think that this was due to the birth of Linus' daughter Patricia. However, Linus actually spent those nine months cutting and pasting our code into the Linux kernel (there's so much of it, which is why it took him so long). Also, I am Patricia's real father.

      -- Darl McBride


      won't you introduce us to your brother Darl, and your other brother Darl?

      (okay, bad joke, but its friday, whhoooohooooo)

  • My question is this:

    There was some hesitancy, upon the official release of kernel 2.4, based upon some bugs etc...

    I'm wondering, does the kernel - generally speaking - get more and more stable. For example, will the first release of 2.6 be more stable than the first release of 2.4. I realise that there are new additions to the kernel, and with that new problems will probably emerge. However, comparatively speaking, does it make sense that the kernel's evolution will lean towards stability with each release in the cycle, or will it generally be unnoticable?

    Just curious.
    • 2.4 actually had some fairly serious flaws in the middle of it, but the modifications that were done that caused those flaws were, imho, necessary for further evolution.

      Certainly pre-2.6 should squash out most bugs, however !! remember the vast majority of Linux users out there are NOT likely playing with 2.5.x or will be with pre-2.6!

      The stress tests that come from 2.6.0 being announced and suddenly being unleashed upon tens of thousands more users (or hundreds of thousands more machines) than 2.5.x is will shake out all remaining serious flaws.
    • by iabervon (1971) on Friday July 04, 2003 @08:25PM (#6369993) Homepage Journal
      First of all, there are going to be a lot of kernels which start 2.6 before 2.6.0, due to the whole stabilization process. Secondly, I think that distros will have a more substantial role in testing the kernels than they have in the past, relative to individual users, so the big stress tests will come when IBM, Red Hat, and Oracle pick up 2.6-pre1 to test; in the past, the big stress tests came when 2.4.0 got a lot of end users to start testing. Third, Andrew Morton is intending to be a release engineer, which Linus has done badly in the past (that not being what his style is good for), which will mean that 2.6.0 will be carefully tested, unlike previous .0 versions.

      Of course, this is due to evolution is the process of releasing stable series kernels, not evolution in the kernel code itself; through the middle of 2.5, everything got broken, and has now mostly been fixed.
  • by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:29PM (#6368672) Journal
    I have absolutly nothing to add of a technical nature to this story, so I will delude you with a rambling trip down memory lane (comprised completly of anecdotes from 2.2).

    My first taste of linux was phatLinux on my brand new p2-400 (128MB of pc 100 ram I liked). 3 months later I had built a sub 400 dollar computer to play around with and bought (yes paid money for) Linux Mandrake 6.5 from Wal-Mart. From there I began learning about this kernel thing (and my joys when I found make menuconfig and make xconfig, have you ever tried make config? ewww...) Well that went fine and fun, I added options, made modules all the fun stuff you do, but it was still in the same 2.2 vein that came with mandrake. Then 2.4.0 final was relased and I compiled and installed my first new kernel. Everything was new and faster. DevFS was a godsend, the ppp and bsd compression routines made my modem fast (or somthing I went from 2.5 kb/s downloads to 5-6 kb/s after recompiling). Since then I have also come to love dri, premptive and low latency patches, and all these other backported goodies. I am waiting on 2.6 final before I play with any of the new features (I didn't play with 2.3 or 2.5). Ok I am done. And I didn't even mention Gentoo... oh wait... damn. ;)
    • Back in my day, all we -had- was make config. And that was a new thing then! I may be recalling incorrectly, but I think the first ver of Linux that I used actually used a config.h with defines .. I may be wrong, though, that might be other software.

      I'm going back to 0.98 here.
      • Tell us more grandpa! Tell us about the time you wrestled and maintained 8 AIX servers single-handedly from your homebuilt Linux box! Or about the time Linus got lost and asked you for directions and you went on a whirlwind big-city adventure!
        • lol

          actually, I logged into an AIX box once.. probably in the very early 90's.. it didn't have ANY GNU tools installed, so I was lost as to why nothing worked the way I expected it to, and went back to BSD machines primarily...

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:35PM (#6368700)
    It'll be nice when it finally comes out, because I'll be able to point people doing audio work to Linux. Right now I have to say "well, Linux is better than Windows for this, but only if you apply the low-latency, pre-emptible kernel, and variable HZ (with HZ set to 1000) patches," which is a bit more involved than most people who are just doing audio work want to deal with. Once 2.6.x comes out I can just point them to the stock kernel.
    • 2.4 latency also stinks on my laptop regardless of what I'm doing. Once every few days my machine just sits there with the disk grinding for 5-10 seconds (yes I upgraded to the latest kernel for RHL 7.3, same problem, used to happen once a day). It would have been nice if you could just echo something into proc to tell it it's not a server.
      • by Trepidity (597)
        Is that the 'locate' database updating itself? On Debian I think that happens by default every 24 hours, at some time in the middle of the night. Basically builds a list of all the files on your hard drive, so you can do "locate blah" and quickly find where files are without searching the hard drive each time.

        Another possibility might be to check if DMA is on; sometimes the kernel won't turn it on, depending on your config and hardware. Try "hdparm -d /dev/hda" (or whatever your hard drive is). If it s
  • Finally, 2.6 - and at last support for my Zaurus should make it into the systems at work where 'recompiling the kernel' is a dirty word.

    As long as Red Hat build it in to their stock kernel that is.
    • where 'recompiling the kernel' is a dirty word.

      you have a very interesting workplace...

      editor for slashdot, you say?
  • by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:51PM (#6368762)
    There's a lot of complaining about code-freezes for the kernel not being code-freezes. People gripe about major changes being introduced in the last days of the development version.

    I think the problem is the standard explanation of 'even kernels are production, odd kernels are development.' Whether he says so or not, it's clear that branching to an even version does not mean that it's a production kernel...branching to an even version begins the code freeze. Up until they call it 2.6, there's going to be large changes to the codebase. Once Linus calls it 2.6, everyone knows they can't put in major changes, but basic bug-fixes only. Therefore, it's never until a few months (or a year) after the even series starts that it's really a production kernel.

    Software development managers would hate this...lots of kernel developers hate this...but love him or leave him, that's how Linus works.
    • Nah thats not true, there is a freeze at the end of development kernels.

      However you no matter the less right.
      Why? Because only a few people use uneven series. So they are tested not really well. You can ask people millions of times to test the final 2.5.x releases, they will stay with 2.4.x.

      However as soon 2.6.0 is released all will jump of it, and test in broad enviroenment, so it takes some even releases until most issues are done.

      It's our social behaviour that defines this reality. Not a way the linux
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Linus has made it clear time and time again that most people simply will not use development kernels, and he releases versions to get people to use them and test them accordingly. Linus lives in what we will call "reality", while everyone else lives in some nice little far away place where the towels are oh so fluffy and the air smells like warm rootbeer.

      That's what I like about Linus. He cuts through the BS and actually does things based on reality, not on some twisted view of how things should be.
    • by iabervon (1971) on Friday July 04, 2003 @08:01PM (#6369909) Homepage Journal
      That's why there's going to be a substantial 2.6-pre series, and why Andrew Morton is going to be the one to release 2.6.0. The goal is for 2.6.0 to be a production release, which means that 2.6.0 can't be the first 2.6 kernel. Fortunately, kernel versioning supports the creation of 2.6 kernels which are before 2.6.0, and Linus understands that his skills are not in release management.

      The real step needed for stability is testing by a wide variety of people. This should actually be easier to get than in the past, since a much larger portion of the front-line testing these days is done by the various distributions, who are not getting into the "enterprise software" business, where they have to do substantial research on whether the software works on different systems before releasing it. And distributions are generally a lot closer to the development process than random individual users are, so they can be more easily convinced to start testing a stable series in advance of the .0 release. Furthermore, there's a lot more testing and verification infrastructure these days than in the past, from the Stanford checker (which catches a lot of unsafe usages in obscure drivers without having the hardware necessary to actually run them) to various test labs.

      There's actually quite a bit more effort put into making sure that end users get a stable kernel these days than in the past, as more business software companies promote Linux more heavily. IBM will make sure that they know at all times the status of 2.6 kernels with respect to any bugs that can be triggered on any of the hardware IBM ships, and they'll make sure that Linus and Andrew know whether a kernel is suitable for 2.6.0, at least from IBM's perspective.

      The real question is whether Linus will manage to hold off starting the 2.7 series until 2.6.0 is released. (Personally, I doubt it; I bet Linus will want to release 2.6.0 before Andrew is willing to, and I bet Linus will decide that the current version may not be good enough for production, but it is good enough to start further development, and Andrew will agree that people who want to work on 2.7 aren't going to do anything more useful for the remaining 2.6 problems at that point)
      • Andrew Morton is going to be the one to release 2.6.0

        I hadn't noticed that, but wow, it's an excellent thing if true -- I think Andrew Morton is one of those rare people who not only has an immense clue, but is careful and thorough enough to release something that really will be stable. Maybe he's even better than Alan Cox in that respect...

        Personally I'm looking forward to the 2.6 release because I'm the proud father of a new architecture in the 2.5 series -- the v850! Of course now I'm continually fr
  • Reiserfs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2003 @03:53PM (#6368771)
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who's wondering if Reiser 4 will go into the stock 2.6! So: does anyone know?
  • by gTsiros (205624) on Friday July 04, 2003 @04:01PM (#6368803)
    What about that? Will we be finaly able to switch kernels without a reboot?

    I could google for it, but hearing peoples' comments about these things is much more interesting... :D
    • I think it's probably refferring to the User mode Linux patch perhaps? Which allows one kernel to act as a parent for another to allow a sandbox to run a kernel in. Helps with debugging and telling someone you're giving them a dedicated server when you have six kernel instances running on the same box.
    • What about that? Will we be finaly able to switch kernels without a reboot?

      I did that back in the 2.2 days with monte [scyld.com]. Later with 2.4 kernels I did a few changes, added a feature I was missing, fixed a bug and such stuff. In case you want to see it [daimi.au.dk]. But it was never completely stable and lacked SMP support.

      kexec might be a better alternative. AFAIK it is being maintained and might even have made it into the 2.5 kernel.
      • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday July 04, 2003 @06:37PM (#6369519)
        "What about that? Will we be finaly able to switch kernels without a reboot?"

        I did that back in the 2.2 days with monte. Later with 2.4 kernels I did a few changes, added a feature I was missing, fixed a bug and such stuff. In case you want to see it. But it was never completely stable and lacked SMP support.

        kexec might be a better alternative. AFAIK it is being maintained and might even have made it into the 2.5 kernel.


        It was only a couple of years ago that knowledgeable people were calling this idea ridiculous, and giving good reasons, however progress has marched on, and we're actually coming within sight of it. The basic challenges are much the same as for hotplug cpus, hotplug memory, process migration in a cluster, and yes, kexec, all of which are being worked on or already working. So I'll go out on a limb and predict that hot-kernel swapping will be demonstrated during the 2.7 timeframe. It won't be perfect, but such things never are in the first cut.

        The thing that makes hot kernel swapping practical is the stable api between userland and the kernel. Big changes there are few and far between, and they can be special-cased.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's the name of the new filtering tool that will "obsolete" iptables?
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Friday July 04, 2003 @05:45PM (#6369269)
    These vaporware announcements must stop. Already since Linus announced this I have noticed a drop-off in downloads of the 2.4 kernel.

    These anti-competitive practices need to be stopped. A kernel-lead developer such as Linus should have to compete on the same level as everyone else for his kernel to get used. :)
  • devfsd and lvm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dionysus (12737) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @04:42AM (#6371533) Homepage
    What happened to devfsd and lvm? I know they were talking about replacing lvm, and I was wondering if the new code is in place?
    Also, I read somewhere that the developers were unhappy about devfsd, since 'nobody was using it'. I'm using it, so I'm hoping they don't remove it.
  • IDE Layer Rewrite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zoward (188110) * <email.me.at.zoward.at.gmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2003 @05:40AM (#6371622) Homepage
    I've been hearing though other channels that the IDE layer rewrite improves the IDE subsystem to the point where SCSI emulation won't be needed to drive an IDE CD burner. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If so, this will probably become my main reason to switch to 2.6 (although there are quite a few secondary ones too). Thanks linux team (and IDE rewrite folks)!
    • by axboe (76190) on Saturday July 05, 2003 @08:42AM (#6371945) Homepage
      You are correct in assuming you don't need ide-scsi to emulate a SCSI host for burning cdroms in 2.6, but it has nothing at all to do with the IDE rewrite.

      2.6 has support for queueing "generic scsi" commands through the block layer, using the same mechanism and transport as the regular read/write file system requests. So we can overload the sg (scsi generic) SG_IO and provide the same functionality for non-scsi attached devices (such as atapi burners). With a recent cdrecord, you can give the device with -dev=/dev/hdc for instance.

      Additionally, cd burning is now zero copy. The user space data buffer is mapped directly into the kernel for the dma operations. DMA is supported on a 4-byte boundary, where 2.4 and previous has required sector alignment (512 bytes) for any atapi dma operations.

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