Reply to post: Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

Linus Torvalds releases Linux 3.18 as 3.17 wobbles


Re: Unknown source of kernel lock-ups?

It's being released to other developers, not to the end users. It's not going to show up in your PC unless you manually download the source directly from their repository, compile it, bypass your distro's software management system, and manually force an install yourself. My PC runs the current and updated Ubuntu LTS release (14.04) and it has kernel version 3.13. Kernel 3.18 is unlikely to show up in any current or future version of Ubuntu.

Every 'x' weeks the Linux kernel developers put out a release which is intended for other developers who are working on next-generation stuff. The distros (e.g. Red Hat, Suse, Ubuntu, Debian, etc.) pick a known good release kernel, and then put more work into it to polish it up for their customers. If a new kernel has unresolved problems at around the time a distro wants to put out a new version of their OS, then they simply stick with an older one. Customers on existing releases may be running kernels which are several years old, with security patches and updated drivers added by the distro.

The kernel developers are the R&D department, not the product release department. They just happen to do everything out in the open rather than keeping it secret. If you want to compare them to Microsoft or Apple you would have to hack into Microsoft's code repository, download the work-in-progress source for Windows 11 (or whatever they're going to call it), compile it yourself, hack the result so it replaces the Windows kernel in your copy of Windows 7, and then go on the internet and bitch if your result occasionally locks up.

El Reg is reporting this story because it's of interest to a small group of people who want to follow what's going on in the world if IT. It's not something that any of us outside of a small group of developers are ever going to have to deal with though. And let's face it, even a Xen bug is pretty unlikely to affect anyone other than a Xen developer since nobody else is going to run Xen on their desktop.

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