Archive for May 10th, 2007

Lost is getting goooooood…

What an awesome episode was that last night? It was both amazing (so far it has been rated as the best episode of the season and in the top-3 of all seasons), and scary as hell. The last 15 minutes resembled a horror film, and so I was in distress after watching that sequence in the dark room. I had a very uneasy night sleeping after that and I had a… Lost-based nightmare too.

[Spoilers below]

And then there you have Richard (the Maybelline Man), being hinted in three different instances during the episode that he is 150+ years old. I think the series is going towards “the island can regenerate flesh and make people almost immortal, but they can’t have babies”.

The truth about the Linux kernel

Arch Linux maintainer of the –beyond Linux kernel version announces that he won’t be a maintainer of that package anymore:

I’m sick of the kernel. It’s crap. Every release breaks something new, and every release is as poorly tested as the last. (not you tpowa [another maintainer], I mean upstream — you do a good job with what you’re given by them). The stable tree, isn’t stable. I want something that works and won’t break.

James, hat off to you!

That’s what I like! People who are not afraid to tell the truth. THESE are the people who can bring real value to a community. And the reality of the matter is, that no, the Linux main kernel is NOT properly tested before release. Major bugs slip with each release. The Linux kernel is patched up pretty quickly overall, but the point remains, you have things that didn’t work before and they now are fixed, and things that did work before but now aren’t. I am running Ubuntu and Arch on several machines, and each one has major bugs, ranging from ACPI to USB to Bluetooth initialization etc. Bugs that didn’t necessarily exist in the previous release.

The Linux kernel, and 99% of the open source applications that I have tried, only beta test, they do not do PROPER testing with pro tools and professional testers who are able to write specialized code and scripts to find bugs. Instead, the OSS community only releases versions deemed as “betas”, and then they are relying on average Joe for bug reports. I am sorry, but there is a full stage of testing that is completely skipped by these OSS projects. And that’s pro-testing, in house. And in the case of the kernel, they need at least 50-60 different computer hardware and at least 10 pro testers to test the kernel BEFORE they release an -RC version to the world.

But OSDL seems to mostly be about the “face” of the Linux kernel rather than actual work on it. Thank God that Red Hat actually *does* some of that work in-house (so their RHEL-branded kernels are not too bad). Ubuntu only does beta-testing, not pro testing — and that’s a major minus point off them as far as I am concerned. I am not sure what Novell does.

I remember Be’s testing lab, they had 4-5 pro testers in there and a room full of machines to test with (sometimes with scripts running overnight). And remember, Be’s kernel was tinee-tiny compared to the thousands (millions?) of lines of the Linux kernel code, and yet they were doing as much as in-house testing as they could before releasing betas to their beta testers. Think how much work the Linux kernel would require before they shove us a new version every 5 months!

I have been saying that stuff to my friends all along, but I am glad that someone from the Linux community itself has stepped up and told the truth. Linus himself must ask OSDL to hire pro-testers, or he should quit. That would be the right thing to do if he cares about the quality of the kernel.