When asked how to best refer to kernels between official releases and release candidates, Linus Torvalds pointed to his automated git snapshots. "I still call them 'nightly snapshots', but they do in fact happen twice a day if there have been changes, so that's not technically correct," he noted. The latest snapshot is 2.6.23-git15, "this is an exact name, because you can go to kernel.org and look up the exact commit ID that was used to generate it (there's an 'ID' file associated with each snapshot there)." For git users, he suggested using the "
git describe" command to get the git name, with the current head being named v2.6.23-6562-g8add244. He went on to explain that the name "tells you three things: (a) it's based on 2.6.23 (b) there's been 6562 commits since 2.6.23 and (c) the top-of-tree abbreviated commit is '8add244'."
When asked about the previously discussed usage of "-rc0" and other similar proposed naming conventions, Linus replied:
"Please don't use those names. They don't actually tell anything about where in the cycle it is, and as you can see above, there's been 6500+ commits since 2.6.23, so saying '2.6.23-rc0' or similar really isn't very helpful if anybody actually cares about just where in the release cycle you are."
"I'm trying to keep some external drivers up to date with the kernel, and the first two weeks after the release is the worst time for me. There is no way to distinguish the current git kernel from the latest release. It's only after rc1 is released that I can use the preprocessor to check LINUX_VERSION_CODE," explained Pavel Roskin, describing the ongoing effort to keep the out of tree MadWifi driver in sync with the latest released kernel. Rik Van Riel suggested:
"Consider this an incentive to submit your code for inclusion in the upstream kernel. Having all the common drivers integrated in the mainline kernel makes it much easier for users to use all their hardware, external drivers are not just a pain for the developers."
Pavel acknowledged, "the incentive has already worked for MadWifi, which has landed in the wireless-2.6 repository under the name 'ath5k'. Still, there is a lot of work to do, and some features won't appear in the kernel driver soon, partly because they rely on the chipset features that still need to be reverse engineered. " In response to Pavel's original question, Dave Jones noted that Fedora kernels treat the development between a major release and the first release candidate as "rc0".