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SuSE Novell Linux

Novell Changes Enterprise Linux Kernel Mid-Stream 96

Posted by timothy
from the this-will-dominate-the-evening-news dept.
darthcamaro writes "Enterprise Linux kernels, from Red Hat or Novell, don't change version numbers inside of a release, right? While that has been the case for the last decade of Red Hat and Novell releases, Novell is breaking the mold with SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 service pack one. Instead of backporting new kernel features to the kernel they originally shipped with — which maintains software and hardware vendor certification — they've re-based their Linux kernel version altogether. '"There were some things that led us to update the kernel itself, which is something that we normally don't do: Neither SLES 9 or SLES 10 got a kernel update," Markus Rex, director of open platform solutions at Novell, told InternetNews.com. "But in this particular case, after deep discussion with our ISV and hardware vendors that gave us certifications, we felt in this case a kernel update was the appropriate step to take.'"
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Novell Changes Enterprise Linux Kernel Mid-Stream

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  • by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton.gmail@com> on Thursday May 20, 2010 @01:49PM (#32282294) Journal

    The biggest reason why everyone froze their kernels for a major release and back ported was the create what was effectively a driver binary interface. So if a hardware vendor (Yes, I'm looking at you Nvidia) wanted to create a binary driver release for a codebase, that driver release would work for the whole period of support for that codebase. This is because Linux doesn't have a driver ABI.

    So getting back to what Novell have done here...It's a hard one, I guess, if they spoke to their ISVs and they said they don't care, then it doesn't matter. If HP / Dell / Lenovo don't care either then, again, that's no problem.

    I guess there is always going to be someone out there who hasn't qualified their drivers with Novell for SLES 11 and just does self certification and was expecting their release to keep working (Which was tested against the earlier release) and now has to upgrade their driver because the Linux ABI is a rapidly moving target. On the other hand, a lot of people rely on on Novell / RedHat etc for driver support and don't go back to Dell / HP / Lenovo; if there is problems they point fingers at their Linux vendor first.

    Time will tell if this was a good idea or not. Personally, I'm not against it, more hardware support out of the box is better for me, if I run into a problem and have to run older hardware on an older kernel and just upgrade RPMs on my older systems then so be it. I guess that's what versioning in builds is for really isn't it?

    Berny

  • Re:outrageous! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday May 20, 2010 @02:05PM (#32282554) Homepage Journal
    What is unconscionable and fills me with deep, passionate rage is when the guys who run a distro think it's cute to name their releases after animals.

    Nothing's more annoying than checking a forum only to have to google a bunch of stupid animal names to see which version I have installed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @02:06PM (#32282572)

    This really SUX!
    this means upgrading HA Clusters with ocfs2 or any servers with 3rd party SAN,EMC,Powerpath will just FAIL

    And of course Novell support will say they have nothing to do with any 3rd party modules "it's your problem now"

    If i want to worry about all this things I'll just use free ubuntu and not paid "enterprise" version

    just my $0.01

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2010 @02:24PM (#32282852)

    Kernel developers should use and support a stable ABI. This has been said many times by everyone else.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @03:26PM (#32283696)

    The kernel devs can say that all they like. 3rd parties are then free to say "Fuck you," and either not support Linux or do it poorly.

    Maybe there's something to be said for not being jerks about it and trying to meet people half way. Try to give the hardware companies what they want, maybe they support your OS more.

  • by dag (2586) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @05:31PM (#32285760) Homepage

    What does this have to do with honesty ?

    Red Hat is backporting the stuff their customers are demanding _and_ what they feel confident to support in a production environment _without_ breaking existing setups. That's the goal.

    You don't do that by updating your complete kernel for one or two features you like to have. That would be insane.

    Red Hat never promised you that 2.6.18-192.el5 has any resemblance or compatibility with the original vanilla 2.6.18. That would make your kernel ancient and not fit for newer hardware.

    The whole "backporting is ugly/dishonest" comes from people that have no clue about Enterprise computing or have hidden agendas. A bit of common sense goes a long way...

  • by internet-redstar (552612) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:08AM (#32290674) Homepage
    Old Linux guys like me remember the time when they introduced this in 'enterprise kernels'. At that time it made sence, because in the 2.4 series there were good and... well _bad_ kernels. Some may argue that that still was the case in the early 2.6 tree. But that has been a long time in the past...

    The current situation is that the backporting policy basically sucks _bigtime_.
    It means that new hardware isn't out of the box supported by the 'enterprise distros' and that installing ubuntu with a new kernel is a no-brainer. It also means that - especially in the case of Red Hat, the kernel is so heavily patched, that it can lead to stability problems and introduces 'unusual problems' as opposed to the vanilla kernel.

    Backporting things for an old kernel and overly patching the vanilla kernel is basically saying: 'we know it better than the kernel developers'. And, sorry, that simply isn't true!

    As someone being heavily involved in Linux Enterprise support since 1998, and thus shaping it too, I can only hope that this is a sign of better things to come and an abandonment of the outdated, stupid and un-enterprise policy which only makes Linux look bad.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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