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2.4 vs. 2.6 (was: Re: Moving /var/run to a tmpfs?)

Marco d'Itri <md@Linux.IT> wrote:
> The problem with supporting old kernels is not just the need to maintain

2.4 is not old, it's just stable :)

> a few packages like initrd-tools or modutils, but that every important
> package cannot rely on features of modern kernels: inotify, sysfs, etc.

Well, I live quite well with Debian unstable on top of 2.4 on my
workstation. It seems there are not so much important packages that
really rely on "modern" features.

> This means that Debian as a whole will either lack support for features
> relying on these kernel features or will become more and more complex
> due to compatibility code.

Well, if there are really packages that demand on 2.6, they just can
depend on kernel-image-2.6, this is no problem at all. I agree with you
that package maintainers should not be forced to develop
2.4-compatibility on their own, if upstream doesn't do it itself.
However, from my point of view, quite all relevant software just *does*
support 2.4 and 2.6 upstream anyways. So there is virtually no need to
increase complexity.

> Please consider carefully the effects of advocating support for old
> kernels.

IIRC, Linus declared feature-freeze for 2.6.16 first. To be honest, I
cannot see any feature-freeze until now. I personally decided to give
2.6 a first try on my workstation when 2.6.18 is out. However, as long
as I can easily freeze my machine just by doing really simple disk-I/O
tasks (which just happened when I had a need to boot into a Knoppix),
I will definitely not consider it to run on my servers.

File names are infinite in length where infinity is set to 255 characters.
                                -- Peter Collinson, "The Unix File System"

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