new kernel ... / meaning of stable-tracking

Mike (mwester) mwester at
Sun Sep 28 03:19:23 CEST 2008

Werner Almesberger wrote:
> Sean McNeil wrote:
>> Like a watchdog process?
> Exactly :-) It could monitor all other sorts of things as well, if
> necessary (trading reliability through simplicity for functionality),
> and it could also be gated.
> And the best things is of course that, whatever fancy policy user
> space needs to implement, not a single line in the kernel has to
> change and we avoid all the deployment issues with making kernel
> changes :-)
> - Werner

Sigh.  I understand what you are arguing, and at some point in the
future, I would even agree.  But not yet.

None of the distros, and certainly not the kernel, are stable enough to
ensure that any such code would actually remain running -- for every
"solution" you come up with to insulate such a daemon from a failure,
somebody somewhere will come up with another way to make it fail.

So, we can can move to another round in the constant battle I have with
you and Andy over the premature removal of debug code from the kernel,
and we can argue this for the next few days.  But that is just a waste
of everyone's time.

Of course Openmoko can just unilaterally do what you state, and force
developers for every distro to invest huge amounts of effort in
developing fail-safe watchdog daemons for their distros.  But that would
be effort that the community would rather see invested in making the
device behave like a proper phone.  Am I the only one who thinks it's
rather amazing that after two years, we still don't have reliable basic
phone functionality?!  And you present a proposal to make those
developers take time away in order to write daemons to replace a small
chunk of existing and functional kernel code?   This makes no sense at
all to me.

I suggest that we all take a "reality pill" and accept that the kernel
is still only as stable as a bowl of jello, that the folks doing
user-space don't have time to write new daemons, and that our goal
continues to be to make these devices work at some small level of what
they should.  Obviously, the best thing is to keep that little bit of
kernel code in place.  (And to waste no further time on discussing it!)

General comment to Openmoko: Come on!  Have you all lost sight of the
fact that the goal is to make a phone, and that nothing shipped to date
has yet made the device work any better than a $25 pre-paid phone I can
buy from a stand at the local shopping center?

Yes, I'm frustrated.  And I know that many others in the community are
too.  Listen up, Openmoko!  We need some progress: suspend/resume with
that ***** glamo (WSOD); the GSM is still broken (check out #1024 and
others); batteries still go flat because nobody has coded the batt-low
stuff; the wifi cannot be powered off; and many other kernel issues that
should be worked instead!


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