[arch-dev-public] Kernel - vanilla vs patched?

Tom K tom at archlinux.org
Fri Nov 9 07:28:43 EST 2007

Well, this kicked itself off in IRC this morning (timezone GMT+1), and
as it seems most people didn't see it and/or didn't participate, we
should probably do it here.

Here's the question, as I see it - what do we patch kernel26 for?
Bugfixes? Stability? Enhancements? New features? Other?

Specific case under discussion: http://bugs.archlinux.org/task/8500 -
a request, from a single user so far, for a new feature in the kernel.

We also have, or had, a request for fbsplash (closed, of course) and
there are probably others - Romashka?

My understanding of The Arch Way, as it applies here, is that we patch
for bugfixes e.g. ipw2x00, and for enhancements to existing
functionality e.g. alsa. In the referenced bug report, there are
differing dev views expressed - as I'm posting this, I'll include my
view, which is that we should not add new features to kernel26.

I'll also include a possible compromise:

/me grabs big can of worms, opens it, pours it out onto DevLand :)

Two kernels - a strictly as-vanilla-as-possible kernel26 in Core, and a
more let's-try-new-features-here kernel26extra in Extra. It could be in
Community either, but I would see it as an official Arch package,
supported by the dev team. I would be happy to maintain it if necessary,
along with the usual array of external module packages -  in
cooperation, of course, with the current kernel maintainers.

Right now, anyone who has read the IRC log knows how Tobias P and Aaron
feel about it, but I expect others have views on this topic too, so
let's hear them.


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