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Operating Systems Upgrades Linux

Linux Kernel 3.1 RC 2 Released 209

Posted by timothy
from the thank-you-linus dept.
sfcrazy writes "Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux kernel 3.1 rc2. He said '300+ commits for -rc2 is good, but please make me even happier for -rc3 by ONLY sending me real fixes. Think of it as "fairly late in the -rc series," because I really want to compensate for the merge window being fairly chaotic.'"
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Linux Kernel 3.1 RC 2 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @07:07PM (#37089942)

    >Now we see the same thing happening to the Linux kernel.

    Not quite. Chrome and FF release major versions often. According to wiki, this is the first major version change of Linux since June 1996.

    And linux still has some significance in the numbers after the three numbers, but the x.x.x don't matter, really. They might as well be doing linux 4 and 5 and so on in the coming months. It's because of the way they develop (and, as in the case of linux have been developing for years) - they just do their thing and increase the numbers as they go, like chrome/FF.

  • by JustTech (1961012) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @07:29PM (#37090058)
    What's with all the slashdot users recently, going fucking stupid about version numbering? Who cares what the versions are called: 3.10, 3.11.30 3.A03930. As long as the software works and the users (developers and end users alike) are able to interact with the software, what's the big issue?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @07:36PM (#37090090)

    No, Chrome and Firefox don't release major versions often. Yes, they increment the version number at a stupid pace, but the changes themselves are quite minimal. It's difficult to tell Firefox 4 from Firefox 5 from Firefox 6 from Firefox 7 from the Firefox 8 nightlies, for example. Although they represent five "major" versions, there are no major changes between them.

    The same goes for this Linux 3.x nonsense. No major changes happened relative to the most recent 2.6.x releases, yet they major version number was increment. It's pointless.

    At least when FreeBSD increments its major version number, for instance, we know full well that there are major changes involved. We know that there'll be game-changing new features, or the removal of certain very outdated functionality, or new APIs. But we also know that compatibility will be maintained within the major release. That's something we can't be sure of when it comes to the Linux kernel.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @07:50PM (#37090154)
    FFS this site is getting pathetic with the whining about version numbers. Does it really matter that damned much if it's 2.26.41, or 3.1? Does it make any difference if it's called Firefox 3.8 or 6.0? I tell you, I wish I could get back to a place in my life where my biggest issue was worrying about what the version number on open source projects was.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @07:59PM (#37090234)

    I hate to break it to you, but there are many of us here who work professionally in the IT field. We don't have the luxury of being students such as yourself.

    When you have to manage 80,000 or more desktops and servers, spread around the world, things like version numbers become very important. It's not so much the numbers themselves, but the expectations and facts that they should convey.

    Responsibly using version numbers lets the software developers convey to us, the software administrators and users, important knowledge about the software they have created, and how it relates to earlier and future releases.

    A major version number increase should signify massive changes. It should indicate to us that we should disregard any previous knowledge we have, and learn the software product from scratch. It indicates to us that we may need to provide extra assistance to the employees using the software we're tasked with administering. Do you get the idea? Are you beginning to follow what the real world is like? Yeah, it's not like what your computer science professors may have caused you to believe.

    When projects start changing major version numbers without good reason, it makes us unsure about such projects. We lose the ability to predict how much of an impact upgrading will have, for instance. Worse, it gets executives asking questions. Even though Linux 3.0 is only slightly different from the last 2.6.39, the major version number jump makes some executives worry unnecessarily. They start to think that what's nothing more than a routine upgrade is more risky than it is.

    I have colleagues in IT who have experienced similar problems with the recent Firefox debacle. They have to deal with users who don't want to upgrade from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5, thinking there will be major changes and adjustments, while there's almost no noticeable difference between the two "major" releases!

    It hurts the adoption and acceptance of open source software when major projects start playing dumbass games like these with their version numbers. It does indeed create the so-called "FUD" for those who make decisions regarding the use of open source software.

  • by Surt (22457) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @08:46PM (#37090476) Homepage Journal

    Yes, the version numbering matters. Because people with Cs in their titles make deployment decisions based on potentially false assumptions about the versioning. For example, there are going to be organizations stuck on firefox 4 for years because their CTO/CIO thinks that firefox 5 obviously represents a major upgrade and serious risk to their organization.

  • by chromatic (9471) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @08:58PM (#37090528) Homepage

    Because people with Cs in their titles make deployment decisions based on potentially false assumptions....

    I can easily imagine that such organizations have much more dramatic problems than Mozilla's numbering scheme.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @09:00PM (#37090540)

    Or perhaps ... just perhaps ... the many of you that work professionally in the IT field got lazy. Really, really lazy. Rather than actually evaluating the merits of a new software release for yourselves (as one would expect an actual professional to do), you lazily shirked your responsibility and expected someone else to do your job for you. For software you very likely didn't pay for, because it was provided to you free of charge, with full source code, access to the entire history of the code repository, development mailing lists, a detailed changelog etc. It doesn't get more transparent than this.

    Quit whining. Seriously.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @09:13PM (#37090610)

    In the case of the Linux kernel I don't think that applies, after all the 2.6 kernel lasted many years and it is highly probable that 3.x will now do the same.

    But it hasn't been that long since 3.0 was released and now they are already getting close to 3.1. At that rate they'll be up to 4.0 by the end of the year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @09:29PM (#37090682)

    You are so ignorant you must be another student. Not the grand parent but some of us *do* pay for open source software. Out side of academia most people don't have the liberty of seat of your pants forum and IRC support when shit goes seriously wrong. Got a linux kernel bug? Your Redhat support contract may (if its serious enough) get Alan Cox on the phone (did some years ago, I realize he has now left Redhat). Got a table that is being completely mis optimized? Your Maria contract will get you Monty. I could go on and on. Open source software isn't just about free software for kids who think patents are yucky and everything should be free, its about quality software through open community development. Version numbers matter, they matter to executives, they matter to ignorant users who fear upgrades. They matter to those who pay those support bills and vendor contracts that fund open source software development.

    -- Don't have 80k Linux desktops, but I do have 35k and growing Linux servers

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @09:45PM (#37090764)

    Question:
    Why is it easier to manage them when theres an extra, superfluous, unchanging "6" in between the major and minor version numbers?

    I mean, linux was at 2.6 for like 8 years. And the time difference between Linux 1.0.0 and 1.2.0 was a measly 1 year. Linus apparently concluded that hanging onto a number in the middle for several years makes no sense (which it doesnt), and that it makes even less sense to have the major version contain 2 numbers punctuated by a dot.

    He has reverted to the exact same system that most other software has used for ages, MAJOR.minor. What is your beef?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:04PM (#37090850)

    Yeah the GP has a point when it comes to what Firefox has been doing but the new versioning for the Linux kernel isn't going down that route. As the parent said, it's just merging the first two numbers and there's no better time to do that then the next "major version" number switch (which would otherwise have been "2.8"). Even better in this case to start it at 3.0. So in reality this actually is a GOOD thing in terms of what the GP was posting about. It's a very clear line both in terms of when this change is taking place (3.x versus 2.6.x) and simplifies things going into the future.

  • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @10:49PM (#37091088) Homepage Journal

    That's not "shirking responsibility". That's due diligence. They're trying to judge the impact that upgrades will have, but doing a poor job using version numbers interferes with their evaluations.

    I'd suggest that using version numbers for such a thing is an inherently poor way of doing it. I can't believe that someone in 'enterprise' would upgrade to a new Linux kernel without appropriate testing and fallback positions even if that kernel update was a same-version distro update that only contained a few backported security fixes. You don't look at a version number and guess, you assume an update will fuck things up until testing shows otherwise.

    I think Mozilla can be faulted for not providing security fixes for relatively recent releases but I don't think their version numbering scheme matters at all.

    The kernel version number matters even less. Most people will only come across a kernel version change when updating to a new distro version at which time the quantity of change must require a significant amount of testing even from lazy admins.

  • by atomicbutterfly (1979388) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @11:45PM (#37091336)

    I'll just end this rant by asking: 'How many of you have been bit by one of the aforementioned issues, and what is your take on the modern 'MBA' mentality that seems to be creeping it's way into the open source ecosystem?'

    My take? It's been enough for me to completely abandon any further attempts to convert to Linux until they stop fucking with things. I'm sticking with Windows 7 for now because it's proven to me to me a mature, very solid and surprisingly stable platform to run all of my software (both proprietary and open-source, so I get the best of both worlds). I can also count on plenty of older software still working in Windows 7, as well as much of my ingrained habits still working in the new Windows alongside all the new functionality, as opposed to GNOME 3's method of forcing the user to relearn nearly everything about how to use an interface.

    Funny you mentioned the Loki installers. They are definitely broken, and I'm not the only one who's had issues with this. Not to mention more modern games like Doom 3 and Quake 4 have issues with Pulseaudio, which results in a noticeable sound lag unless you find out (via Googling) how to use the pasuspender command. Or still popular games like Wolf:ET in which you'll have absolutely NO audio in modern versions of Ubuntu which have removed OSS entierly from their versions of the kernel, unless you either recompile the kernel or find an ALSA wrapper a kind Ubuntu forum member was able to write.

    And yet... you don't get these problems with Windows 7. I know I don't enjoy the unnecessary stress/effort of getting things to work the way they should, so that's why I don't bother with Linux anymore. Believe me, I feel happier now too.

  • by drolli (522659) on Monday August 15, 2011 @01:30AM (#37091658) Journal

    Right. And by having the source code, scripts written for hundreds of use cases magically check and correct themselves.

    The parent *is* right. It helps if the version numbering consistently indicates whats going on. Being lazy and trying to rely on this has means not consuming too much hours for getting things done. And its sad. If i would know that upgrading a linux machine or connecting new versions to a environment is unpredictable in a way which makes me consume too-many extra hours for nothing (instead of using these to check when the real changes arrive), then i would have to recommend Windows or Solaris.

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