Bug-Free Linux 4.0?

Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but Linux founder and “keeper of the flame”, Linus Torvalds, has put developers and the rest of the world on notice that a Linux 4.0 is coming sooner rather than later, “I don't want us to get to the kinds of crazy numbers we had in the 2.x series, so at some point we're going to cut over from 3.x to 4.x, just to keep the numbers small and easy to remember. We're not there yet, but I would actually prefer to not go into the twenties, so I can see it happening in a year or so, and we'll have 4.0 follow 3.19 or something like that,” said Linus Torvalds in the Linux kernel 3.12 announcement.

Torvalds goal, however is not to just change numbering willy-nilly, but rather to release something more momentous accompanying something as large as a full prefix change. To that end, his plan is to have developers focus strictly on bug fixes prior to the release of 4.0 in order to give it unparalleled stability…as long as developers can avoid succumbing to their inner squirrel!

“I may be pessimistic, but I'd expect many developers would go "Let's hunt bugs.. Wait. Oooh, shiny" and go off doing some new feature after all instead. Or just take that release off.

But I do wonder…Maybe it would be possible, and I'm just unfairly projecting my own inner squirrel onto other kernel developers. If we have enough heads-up that people ‘know’ that for one release (and companies/managers know that too) the only patches that get accepted are the kind that fix bugs, maybe people really would have sufficient attention span that it could work. And the reason I mention ‘4.0’ is that it would be a lovely time to do that. Roughly a year’s heads-up that ‘ok, after 3.19 (or whatever), we're doing a release with ‘just’ fixes, and then that becomes 4.0’,” said Torvalds.

Gentlemen (and Gentlewomen) start finding & fixing!
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I'm not a developer so my

Tiger25's picture

I'm not a developer so my opinion may not count much. But, I do like the idea of focusing more on bug fixes, removing old code, and speed. However, I disagree with fest3er8 that .0 version should have little operational difference from the previous release. The reason is that I don't want X.0 to be same as X-1.YY; but then X.1 to be with new features and completely different from X.0. It is human nature to imply that 3.0 and 3.1 are similar; but 3.1 and 4.0 are significantly different.

I think use X.0 to load with new features; then use X.Y to focus on bugs and optimization. So if your new feature does not make it to X.0, you'll have to wait for X+1.0 (and it will give you more time to make the new feature better before it enters X+1.0). If significant number of bugs are fixed in X.0 (ie 90%) then move into X+1.0. (The time frame between X.0 and X+1.0 could be a couple of months up to as long as it takes to fix X.0)

I think Linus should say "folks, if you want new features get them in for the 4.0 release because once 4.0 is out no new features until 5.0"

Backwards. .zero should be a

fest3er8's picture

Backwards. .zero should be a fresh, clean foundation for the major development effort that is about to begin. The rest of the minor releases in that major release should contain bug fixes and new features.

One should build a series of releases on a shaky, buggy base as readily as one should build a house on loose, dry sand.

I think we're saying the same

Tiger25's picture

I think we're saying the same thing. I didn't mean for .Zero to be full of holes & bugs. What I meant was for .Zero to have new stable features, and then if/when/should bugs be discovered in .Zero fix them for .1, .2 etc. releases. But no new features in .1, .2 etc. If .Zero or .1 etc, does not have any new bugs discovered for a while then shift to 5.0 and include new stable features.

@fest3er8 perfect thought,

Anonymous's picture

@fest3er8 perfect thought, this is the type of forward planning that enterprise likes to hear about IMHO. It would also be nice if sooner rather than later they start to target specific changers for specific versions such as all X.0 will be bug fixes all X.5 will be a hunt for drivers and workable FS implementations/upgrades, versions X.XX is time for the "oh shiney"

I like the idea. In fact, I

fest3er8's picture

I like the idea.

In fact, I like the idea of *every* .zero Linux release being a bug-fix, code-tidying release. No new features, remove deprecated features, redo sloppy code (short of major rewrites), et alia. If done right, there should be little operational difference between .zero and the previous release.

Good idea. Would love to see

Anonymous's picture

Good idea.

Would love to see a new "Linux device drivers" book to appear at that time frame, or earlier, too. Would certainly buy a hard copy.

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