"BACK UP ANY IMPORTANT DATA," began the Linux 0.10 installation instructions. "Linux accesses your hardware directly, and if your hardware differs from mine, you could be in for a nasty surprise. Doublecheck that your hardware is compatible: AT style harddisk, VGA controller." The installation guide explained that there were five major steps in getting Linux installed and running on your computer, including the above first step of backing up the system. The second step was to use Minix and the
mkfs command to create a new filesystem on an empty partition of your hard drive. Third you used
dd to write the 'boot' and 'root' Linux disk images to floppy disks. The fourth step was actually booting from the floppies, "having a floppy as root-device isn't very fast (especially on a machine with less than 6MB total ram -> small buffer cache), but it works (I hope)." The final step was mounting the empty hard disk partition, copying the files from the floppy disks to the partition, and creating the necessary
/dev files with
mknod, "you should now have a filesystem you [can] boot from. Play around a bit, try to get acquainted with the new system. Log out when you've had enough." The document noted that while it was possible to install Linux using DOS, the instructions were intended for people using Minix:
"In general, this version is still meant for people with minix: they are more used to the system, and can do some things that DOS-based persons cannot. If you have only DOS, expect some troubles. As the version number suggests, this is still not the final product."
Theodore Ts'o posted an update on the ext4 filesystem [story], "I've respun the ext4 development patchset, with Amit's updated fallocate patches. I've added Dave's patch to add ia64 support to the fallocate system call, but *not* the XFS fallocate support patches. (Probably better for them to live in an xfs tree, where they can more easily tested and updated.) Yes, we haven't reached complete closure on the fallocate system call calling convention, but it's enough for us to get more testing in -mm." Jeff Garzik noted that none of this development was happening in the kernel as originally planned, "why isn't this stuff going upstream rapidly? AFAICT nothing much at all has happened upstream besides a mass renaming? The whole point of having ext4 in the kernel is to do development upstream, in the public view, getting new stuff in ASAP (even if that means changing or pulling some stuff later)."
Theodore acknowledged, "in general, yes, ext4 development has been a little slow; part of the problem is that we have a lot of people, but a number of folks are new and their patches need review before they are ready for upstream acceptance, and a number of other folks who should be doing the review have been overloaded with multiple other projects and have been time-sharing." He went on to note, "but we also get flamed when the patches don't meet various criteria, up to and including breaking on ia64. We are in the process of setting up automated testing to help address that problem, but it's a taken a little while to get that going. I'm also trying to schedule more time so I can do the needed review of the patches so they meet basic upstream standards so we *can* push them. If other folks would like to help with the review process, that would be more than welcome. But yes, we will try to get more of the patches pushed sooner rather than later."
Theodore Ts'o announced that the 2007 Linux Kernel Summit will be moved from its usual location in Ottawa, Canada, taking place this year in Cambridge, England. Ted described the move as a one-time experiment to be re-evaluated at a future date to see if it's worth moving the Kernel Summit to other locations in the future. He noted, "I understand that if it were only up to us developers, we'd want to have the conference in Honolulu, or perhaps in Australia or New Zealand. Unfortunately there are other stakeholers and other financial realities involved." Regarding this year's summit, Ted explained:
"This year, the Kernel Summit will be held in Cambridge, England, at the DeVere University Arms Hotel, September 5-6 (with a welcome reception on the 4th). The decision to move the Kernel Summit to England is a one-year experiment based on the very strong request of last year's kernel summit attendees to try a location outside of Ottawa, and especially from the roughly 1/3rd of the attendees that come from the UK or Europe. So the plan is for us to book the Ottawa Congress Ceter space for July 2008 (which we will need to do by mid-year 2007), and pending how well the Cambridge venue works out in September 2007, we'll figure out how often we want to try moving the Kernel Summit to other locations in future years beyond 2008."
The discussion about why the Reiser4 filesystem has not been merged into the Linux kernel [story] continues on the lkml. Hans Reiser [interview] contrasted the struggles Reiser4 has had trying to get merged versus recent discussion about the up and coming ext4 filesystem [story], "the code isn't even written, benchmarked, or tested yet, and it is going into the kernel already so that its developers don't have to deal with maintaining patches separate from the tree. Wow. Kind of hard to argue that it is not politically differentiated, isn't it?"
Theodore T'so responsed, "it is a development procedure that was developed after discussion and consensus building across LKML and the ext2/3/4 development team. It was not the original plan put forth by the ext2 developers, but after listening to the concerns and suggestions, we did not question the motives of the people making suggestions; we listened." He went on to note that parts of what will be ext4 were written a year ago, and have been heavily tested and reviewed. Others pointed out that the evolution between ext3 and ext4 will be a very public process, with patches being merged gradually, whereas Reiser4 is a completely different code base from Reiser3.
The latest chapter in this ongoing debate tends to be more about clashing personalities than the code in question. How this affects if and when the Reiser4 filesystem will be merged into the mainline Linux kernel is yet to be seen.
Theodore Ts'o offered an insightful summary of issues affecting future development on the ext3 filesystem, "it is clear that many people feel they have a stake in the future development plans of the ext2/ext3 filesystem, as it [is] one of the most popular and commonly used filesystems, particular amongst the kernel development community. For this reason, the stakes are higher than it would be for other filesystems." He listed the three main concerns for future development as stability, compatibility confusion, and code complexity, "unfortunately, these various concerns were sometimes mixed together in the discussion two months ago, and so it was hard to make progress. Linus's concern seems to have been primarily the first point, with perhaps a minor consideration of the 3rd. Others dwelled very heavily on the second point."
Theodore went on to say, "to address these issues, after discussing the matter amongst ourselves, the ext2/3 developers would like to propose the following path forward." He listed a four step plan beginning with the creation of a new ext4 filesystem registered with the kernel temporarily as 'ext3dev', "this will be explicitly marked as an CONFIG_EXPERIMENTAL filesystem, and will in affect be a 'development fork' of ext3. A similar split of the fs/jbd will be made in order to support 64-bit jbd, which will be used by fs/ext4 and future versions of ocfs2." Theodore explained that new features will go into the ext3dev tree, with only bugfixes making their way back to the stable ext3 tree. He noted that it will remain important that the ext4 code base can mount ext3 filesystems, "this is necessary to ensure a future smooth upgrade path from ext3 to ext4 users." Finally, "probably in 6-9 months when we are satisified with the set of features that have been added to fs/ext4, and confident that the filesystem format has stablized, we will submit a patch which causes the fs/ext4 code to register itself as the ext4 filesystem." He further noted that once ext4 is deemed fully stable, it may completely replace ext3 in the source tree.