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Bits from the kernel team

The Debian Kernel team recently had a series of face to face meetings
during the Linux Plumbers Conference [1].

The DPL managed to arrange for the whole team to be present in Oregon
at the same time, a representative of the release team was also present.

The LPC conference venue allowed the kernel team to interact with the
upstream developers and other distributions kernel teams in an
positive and productive way.

The Debian kernel team meetings ran over four days and covered a large
number of topics, the abridged minutes are presented here, the full
meeting minutes are also available [2].

Co-operation and version synchronisation with other distributions

This discussion involved timing of the Debian freeze and what
implications this might have on the kernel version selected for
squeeze. The version selected by other distributions was also

In conclusion the 2.6.32 release will probably be the initial kernel
version shipped with squeeze.

Separate firmware, what is left to do?

A constructive discussion was held about the outstanding firmware
issues, how the team addresses them and how we might work with upstream
to address our DSFG issues with kernel sources.

Kernel Mode Setting transition

It was resolved that KMS will be enabled at build time but disabled at
run time by default. The X packages will be able to use modprobe
config files to enable KMS at run time as required.

Feature patches

These are patches the Debian kernels have for major features which are
not upstream.


Debian will continue to support this system with assistance from the
openvz developers.

rt patchset

This is apparently not ready for production use and will not be
present in Debian kernels.


This feature will be present in squeeze but will be marked as
deprecated and a migration path to Linux containers investigated.

xen dom 0

This feature will be included in the squeeze kernel release subject to
ongoing stabilisation work. The feature will be marked as deprecated
and will not appear in future releases.

IDE to libata decision

Debian will perform this transition using the udev packages in a
similar way to Ubuntu. The Ubuntu developers have offered their
assistance with this transition.


This feature will be enabled for the squeeze release.


This has been a deprecated kernel interface for some time and will be
disabled for squeeze with mechanisms put in place to deal with legacy

bug triage and tagging

The kernel team has a large number of bugs, many of which contain
inadequate information. The team decided that a policy for bugs and
patches will be produced and enforced. We will also be improving the
bug reporting by improving the reportbug usage.

Moving the Debian Kernel packaging to Git

A robust discussion happened with several views and ideas
expressed. The final outcome was that the team as a whole favoured the
move to git and that further investigation and implementation would

Coordination with release team and D-I

Several issues were covered the main item from this session was an
investigation as to if udeb generation should be merged with the main
kernel source package.

Out of tree modules

After some discussion it was resolved to remove linux-modules-extra
and -nonfree as they are an impossible to support properly.

A few modules the project really must have will be placed
directly into the linux-2.6 source

The kernel team will endorse the use of dkms as a way for out-of-tree
module maintainers to get their modules auto-built.

Leveraging upstream .deb building

This became a discussion about the general kernel packaging and how we
might use the upstream provided facilities better. There was some
discussion we have way too many ways to build a kernel.

We will be rationalising this to two methods, an upstream merged "make
deb-pkg" target and the linux-2.6 Debian source.

We will also be rationalising the kernel postinst and co-ordinating
our efforts with the Ubuntu developers.

New lists to co-ordinate

There is a mailing list which we might resurrect for general
distribution co-ordination


And a list the Debian kernel team might want to join to co-ordinate with Ubuntu


Debug Packages

This refers to debugging information from current packages, not a
separate configuration, useful for crash tools. This will be
investigated further.

Automated build and test

This might be a useful tool in the future and work is ongoing.


Some upload experimental uploads of the 2.6.31 version will be made.

[1] http://linuxplumbersconf.org/2009/
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-kernel/2009/10/msg00613.html

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