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Debian kernel packaging: changes forthcoming in kernel-package 11.x


        [Please follow up on debian-kernel@lists.debian.org]

        The postinst script of the kernel image packages is huge -- but
 then, it comes from  a tradition of a postinst that would ask you if you
 wanted to put the new kernel on a boot floppy, format and initialize a
 new floppy, and create a bootable floppy from the newly installed
 image.  Thankfully, the format-and-create-boot-floppy functionality was
 removed from the postinst, but still a number of things remain hard-coded
 into the postinst.
        Apart from the fact that this functionality has been the cause
 of much teeth gnashing and many bug reports,  since the complexity of
 the logic is one of the most bug-prone bits of the image postinst, it
 also makes it harder to come up with alternatives to the algorithms or
 to tweak the behavior -- since one needs to tweak kernel-package,
 re-compile the kernel, and install it, to see new behavior.  For
 example, what if I want to create symlinks for the three most recent
 2.4, 2.6, and Xen images? It should be a simple task, but currently it
 is not.

        With /etc/kernel/*.d directories, we have a means of having the
 sysadmin installing arbitrary bits of code  in these directories, to
 do whatever they wish to post process the image so installed.

        So I plan on moving the symlink handling out of the postinst.
 Instead  of the postinst creating the symlinks, people can drop in a
 script that does symlink handling for them.  This should not be a big
 deal for most people now, since update-grub does not  really need the
 symlinks anyway.

        Secondly, the postinst will no longer run the boot-loader (it
 does not do  so for grub right now). Again, a simple run_loader script
 can be put in place in the /etc/kernel/ directories, for people who
 need them.

        I think the packages affected might be lilo, quik, palo,
 vmelilo, zipl, and elilo.  These packages might want to drop in a
 script that runs on install/remove into /etc/kernel; examples should be
 easy to provide.

        Third, I want to do away with the postinst deciding which initrd
 generator to run. The current initramfs packages already have commands
 to create the initrd; and these packages can again dump in scripts to
 run the initrd generator in /etc/kernel/*.d.  This is the chance that
 initrd generator people have to fix the interface that they have been
 complaining about.

        Finally, I want to have kernel-package come closer to the
 version numbering scheme that the official kernel images have been
 using, complete with native flavour support, but this can be dealt with
 in a separate thread.

        The critical issues are:
 a) How to configure which one of competing boot-loader scripts get run,
    if more than one boot loaders are installed
 b) Which initramfs generator gets run, if we have more than one
 c) What information would the scripts need, apart from kernel version,
    and the location of the image?
 d) How do we transition the changes -- wait for all involved packages
    to create a changed version, and upload all packages at once in a
    staged fashion, or just stagger it into Sid?

        The first two issues are specific instances of the general
 problem of how to configure any set of cooperating scripts; and a
 solution similar to those used for init scripts can be adopted

        So, the next step should be to create example symlink,
 boot-loader invocation, and initrd invocation scripts for people to dump
 into /etc/kernel.  I was thinking of also including these examples into
 the kernel image  packages, even if there is some duplication on disk
 of these small examples, at least while the transition is still going

The PINK SOCKS were ORIGINALLY from 1952!!  But they went to MARS around
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/~srivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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