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Freshmeat: The Linux Kernel and Linux Distributions

Feb 04, 2001, 18:15 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Garzik)

"Whenever a new kernel comes out, there's a lag time between when it's adopted by those who don't mind compiling it themselves and by those who are waiting to get it bundled in an already-tested package from the maintainers of their distributions. In part, the delay is just the result of the difference between those who live on the edge and those who stick with the tried-and-true, but could it be shortened by reducing the work that the distributions have to do to adopt the new kernel? In today's editorial, Jeff Garzik of Mandrakesoft describes the process of fitting the two together."

"Readying a distribution for a new release of the kernel at MandrakeSoft is, like other open projects, a constant process of refinement, testing, and interaction with non-MandrakeSoft Open Source developers."

"Mandrake's bleeding-edge development distribution, "cooker", is always available to outside testers on the Internet. When a new kernel appears on the horizon, the first step is to package the new development kernel in a special RPM called "hackkernel". (Mandrake uses the "hack" prefix to indicate a development/unstable version of a package.) Once hackkernel is packaged, we can begin testing the distribution with the newer kernel. Testing involves hardware testing at MandrakeSoft's labs, but, even more importantly, it involves the cooker users out on the Internet. They are our biggest resource; no amount of internal testing can replace beta testing on the Internet at large."

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