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Jiri Eischmann's Blog

3.5 Shows Drawbacks of Rolling Released Kernel

I’m a supporter of rolling release mode for kernel. A new kernel means better hardware support and it has helped me a lot several times. Unfortunately, pushing new kernels into a stable release has its evil side – regressions. I usually have no problems with regressions when a new kernel comes. Unfortunately, the kernel 3.5 has brought a lot of regressions and problems:

  1. After several hours of uptime, I experience artefacts, disappearing items in menus etc. (#848099). In my case, it occurs on two different Intel cards and AFAIK I’m not the only one affected by this regression.
  2. Many users have reported severe problems with ATI cards (#846505). I’ve heard there are quite a lot of regressions in nouveau, too. My friend couldn’t suspend/hibernate his laptop with an nVidia card after upgrading to 3.5.
  3. NFS problem that affects for example oVirt (#845660). oVirt developers even recommend running Fedora with pre-3.5 kernels.

IMHO 3.5 is definitely the worst kernel since Fedora switched to the rolling release mode for kernel. It has fully showed the drawbacks of this model.

BTW all the problems mentioned above are solvable by downgrading to 3.4 (you still can find them in Koji).

How can we make it better? Should we be not so aggressive in pushing new kernels into stable releases, doing more testing? Or should we give users an easy way to stick with an old kernel or downgrade to it? (of course, users have 3 kernels to choose in GRUB, but sooner or later the older version gets removed and if users upgrade or install Fedora after the new kernel is released they don’t have the old kernel at all).

9 responses to “3.5 Shows Drawbacks of Rolling Released Kernel”

  1. Dieter Spahn Avatar
    Dieter Spahn

    I was using the Fedora (Core) distribution since it first release many years ago. Most of the time it was a pleasure working with those releases. But now, with Fedora 17 and GNOME 3.4, I’m sick of all the occuring errors (not only Kernel errors) and usability drawbacks. So I decided after many years without MS Windows to switch back to Vista (don’t laugh) which gives me all the stability I need for my daily work. Fedora has lost me forever! There is no way back!

    1. Bucky Avatar

      Just make sure that 20 or 30 years down the line you don’t make a mistake and actually “try” Fedora again. We’d hate to have to have you…eliminated…

      Bwa ah ah ah.

  2. foo Avatar

    Isn’t Fedora supposed to be a distro for folks who want to test things? RHEL, Debian, Gentoo etc rely on Fedora users to test the stuff upstream puts out before we accept it into our distros.

  3. petr_p Avatar

    There is no problem with rolling updates as long as user has freedom to stick with older version until the regressions gets resolved. Unfortunately Fedora is not this case because it replaces packages in Updates repository. This should be fixed.

  4. Josh Boyer Avatar
    Josh Boyer

    As long as you are booted into the working/downlevel kernel, yum won’t remove it. So you really don’t run a risk of losing the working kernel even if you try multiple updates. The only way you would lose it is if you manually removed it, or if you were booted and running on a “bad” kernel when you did the next update.

    1. lzap Avatar

      Exactly. Looks like we need to warn users when they are clearing out old kernels. And bigger boot partition size by default maybe.

    2. eischmann Avatar

      Thank you for this. I didn’t think of this and it completely makes sense. On the other hand people who upgrade too late are still out of luck because they already get the new kernel (3.5 in this case).

  5. […] že po třech aktualizacích nakonec přijde i o to poslední spolehlivé jádro? Toho jsem se donedávna bál (stále zůstávám na 3.4). Nicméně platí, že aktualizace vám kernel, který aktuálně […]

  6. Andrew Avatar

    Actually I think current Fedora has gotten somewhat more robust. Somehow I’m still running the install I did about a year ago. Last time I tried Fedora (sometime in the Core era) I managed to break the freaking rpm database within a month of usage. Twice that is.

    Linux kernel is whole other story. I’m sick of these guys breaking hibernation or suspend every other year. Keep up that spirit and I may actually learn what’s what in there 😀

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