Linus Torvalds announced the release of the 2.6.13 Linux kernel. "The most painful part of 2.6.13 is likely to be the fact that we made x86 use the generic PCI bus setup code for assigning unassigned resources," Linus began. "That uncovered rather a lot of nasty small details, but should also mean that a lot of laptops in particular should be able to discover PCI devices behind bridges that the BIOS hasn't set up." He went on to note, "we've hopefully fixed up all the problems that the longish -rc series showed, and it shouldn't be that painful, but if you have device problems, please make a report that at a minimum contains the unified diff of the output of 'lspci -vvx' running on 2.6.12 vs 2.6.13. That might give us some clues."
During the 2005 Linux Kernel Developer's Summit it was decided that all major changes need to be merged within two weeks of a major release, giving the rest of the development cycle to fixing bugs [story]. Linus implied that the deadline would be pushed out a week this cycle, "I'm actually going to be away for most of next week, but in general we should now try to do all major merges within the first two weeks of the release. After that, we go into calm-down mode, and if you have work that didn't make the cut, you get to wait until 2.6.14." He also noted that going forward this should mean that major releases happen more frequently. You can download the latest kernel from your nearest Linux Kernel Archive mirror [story], and browse through all the changes using the 2.6 kernel's gitweb interface.
The git directory content manager was born in early April of 2005 [story], less than a week after the announcement that BitKeeper would no longer be available free of charge to kernel developers [story]. The tool was originally written by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and rapidly evolved with the help of an active developer community which Linus repeatedly noted he hoped would eventually take over [story]. A scant two months after development on the tool began, the 2.6.12 kernel was released, managed by git [story].
Now, Linus has announced that Junio Hamano is the new git maintainer. "I always said I didn't really want to maintain it in the long run," Linus explained, "and maybe some of you thought I was just saying that, especially as the weeks dragged out to over three months, but hey, that's just because this thing ended up being a bit bigger and more professional than I originally even envisioned." He went on to note that Junio was the obvious choice, and that this change means he will be able to return his full focus to the Linux Kernel mailing list.
Junio thanked those involved, described his development methods, and discussed the upcoming 1.0 release. Regarding 1.0, he suggested that all features are in, and that he is primarily looking for bugfixes and documentation updates. Following the announcement, Ryan Anderson posted an updated "Git 1.0 Synopis", a brief overview of the tool and its features. His document begins, "Git, sometimes called 'global information tracker', is a 'directory content manager'. Git has been designed to handle absolutely massive projects with speed and efficiency, and the release of the 2.6.12 and (soon) the 2.6.13 version of the Linux kernel would indicate that it does this task well."
Nearly three and a half months since the last stable release, Linus Torvalds announced the availability of version 2.6.12 of the Linux Kernel. He notes that the changes since -rc6 are minimal, "as you can see from the appended diffstat, most of the things are pretty small (ie it looks like a long list, and then you look at the diffstat and realize that most of the changes end up being just a line or two)." He adds, "one of the least important changes is still worth pointing out," talking about the recent update to the Developer's Certificate of Origin [story]. "The sign-off procedure was clarified to make it clear that the person signing off understands that the project - and thus the patch and the sign-off itself, of course - is public and will be archived."
This is the first stable release of the Linux kernel since the source code was moved out of BitKeeper in early April of 2005 [story]. 2.6.12-rc3, released in late April, was the first release candidate kernel managed by Git [story], thus Linus' git repository only holds changes since 2.6.12-rc2. Due to this fact, Linus did not release a complete changelog between 2.6.11 [story] and 2.6.12. He explains, "the full ChangeLog ended up missing, because I only have the history from 2.6.12-rc2 in my git archives, but if you want to, you can puzzle it together by taking the 2.6.12 changelog and merging it with the -rc1 and -rc2 logs in the testing directory." The latest version of the Linux kernel can be obtained directly from the kernel.org archive [story], or your nearest kernel archives mirror.
Linux creator Linus Torvalds started a lengthy discussion on the lkml regarding release numbering for the Linux kernel. Some have complained about kernel stability with the new development model discussed back in mid-2004 [story] in which active development occurs in the "stable" 2.6 kernel. In his recent email, Linus explained, "the problem with major development trees like 2.4.x vs 2.5.x was that the release cycles were too long, and that people hated the back- and forward-porting. That said, it did serve a purpose - people kind of knew where they stood, even though we always ended up having to have big changes in the stable tree too, just to keep up with a changing landscape." His new proposal involves still using an even and odd numbering scheme, but on a smaller level. Thus, the upcoming 2.6.12 would be "stable" in that it should only contain bugfixes over 2.6.11. Then 2.6.13 would be more development oriented, including some larger changes. These larger changes would again stabalize in 2.6.14, and so on. He adds, "we'd still do the -rcX candidates as we go along in either case, so as a user you wouldn't even _need_ to know, but the numbering would be a rough guide to intentions. Ie I'd expect that distributions would always try to base their stuff off a 2.6.<even> release."
The lengthy discussion that followed was a collection of mixed reactions. Some liked the proposal, but others were confused as to what it was supposed to solve. Essentially the idea seems to be to get more people to test the kernel, as only with more testers can bugs be found. The current strategy of using a series of "-rc" kernels [story] is confusing to many as in most projects this indicates a "release candidate", or something thought to be stable, whereas with the Linux kernel an -rc release is frequently where the active development takes place. As the common user has come to realize this, the -rc kernels have gotten less testing. Linus says, "that's the whole point here, at least to me. I want to have people test things out, but it doesn't matter how many -rc kernels I'd do, it just won't happen. It's not a 'real release'." Andrew Morton [story]'s -mm tree is intended to weed out obvious errors with big changes before merging patches upstream in the mainline kernel, but again as it frequently proves less stable it tends to get less testing.
In response to whether or not he had any objections to merging FUSE [story] into the mainline kernel, Andrew Morton [interview] offered some insight into what new features were slated for the upcoming 2.6.12 kernel. Andrew began, "I was planning on sending FUSE onto Linus in a week or two," going on to add "that and cpusets are the notable features which are 2.6.12 candidates."
Andrew then referred to several other patches currently in his -mm patchset [story], discussing their likelihood of being merged into the mainline kernel. He described crashdump [story] as seeming "permanently not-quite-ready". He noted that perfctr "works fine", but that it was "similar-to-but-different-from" the IA64 perfmon subsystem, and "might not be suitable for ppc64". Both nfsacl [thread] and the device-mapper multipath [thread] patches were deemed "OK for 2.6.12". Regarding cachefs, Andrew noted it "is a bit stuck because it's a ton of complex code and afs is the only user of it. Wiring it up to NFS would help." Finally, regarding whether or not he planned to merge reiser4 [story], he said this was "less clear" going on to add "once all the review comments have been addressed and we start seeing a bit of vendor pull for it, maybe."