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

Simo Leone simo at archlinux.org
Fri Nov 9 10:44:46 EST 2007

On Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 12:28:43PM +0000, Tom K wrote:
> 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.
At the risk of sounding like an ass for a minute, I really don't
understand how this is even an issue/discussion. We've pretty much
always advertised packages "as vanilla as possible". I don't really see
the need to be re-dicussing it.

In short, this design desicion was already made when this distro was
started, and was likely among the reasons you started using this distro.
There is no need to rediscuss it, our philosophy on this is pretty
clear, since it's always been "as vanilla as possible".


PS: This is just one of the many sad incarnations of our current trend
of throwing out or questioning everything that defines ARCH as ARCH. And
quite frankly it kind of pisses me off that we're ever so slowly but
surely gravitiating away from these core values. I don't know about you,
but I started using Arch because I liked the way it did things, not
because I wanted to change everything. If that were the case, I would
have gone elsewhere.
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