Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing

And get their timing right so that fixes aren't features


Linus Torvalds has given the Linux kernel development community a bit of a touch-up, after finding some contributions to Linux 4.18 complicated the kernel development process.

In his post announcing release candidate 2 of Linux kernel 4.18, Torvalds mentioned “some noticeable filesystem updates, particularly to cifs.”

“I'm going to point those out, because some of them probably shouldn't have been in rc2. They were ‘fixes’ not in the ‘regressions’ sense, but in the ‘missing features’ sense.”

Torvalds’ beef is that people have been adding new stuff to the kernel in release candidates and calling it a fix.

Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

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“So please, people, the ‘fixes’ during the rc series really should be things that are _regressions_. If it used to work, and it no longer does, then fixing that is a good and proper fix. Or if something oopses or has a security implication, then the fix for that is a real fix.”

“But if it's something that has never worked, even if it ‘fixes’ some behavior, then it's new development, and that should come in during the merge window. Just because you think it's a ‘fix’ doesn't mean that it really is one, at least in the ‘during the rc series’ sense.”

We think that all translates to “fixes fix broken things, but don’t fix lack of functionality, which can be fixed so long as the fix arrives during merge windows.”

RC2 is otherwise nothing startling: Torvalds said it’s “mostly arch updates (x86, powerpc, arm64, mips), and core networking.” ®

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