Published by David Gilson at 18:15 UTC, January 13th 2011
[December] The Meego technical steering group have announced a new policy for dealing with the increasing backlog of vendor-contributed kernel patches relevant to MeeGo waiting to be added upstream. Each of these vendors accumulated hundreds of patches which made managing the MeeGo kernel impractical. To remedy this, the new policy requires specific compliance from vendors, and will entail maintaining a "reference kernel", which closely matches the upstream Linux kernel. Read on for more analysis.
The MeeGo reference kernel is designed to be an easy to manage adaptation of the upstream Linux kernel, and will ship in future MeeGo platforms. Vendors wishing to use the reference kernel without supplying their own adaptations, must already have drivers for their hardware included in the upstream Linux kernel.
According to the kernel policy, vendors not wishing to comply with the requirements of the reference kernel need to supply their own (clearly named) .RPM package created with one of the MeeGo OBS instances. Vendors choosing this method of kernel adaptation will therefore be held responsible for maintaining their own packages for the lifetime of their product, with respect to both bugs and security fixes.
The kernel policy also states that vendors are still expected to get their drivers and kernel adaptations pushed upstream within "a reasonable time frame". This requirement seems to firmly delegate the responsibility of resolving patch conflicts to vendors, and away from MeeGo developers.
Correspondingly, maintainers of "kernel adaptations" will be expected to backport features from the main MeeGo reference kernel to their own kernels, to protect the reputation of MeeGo and maintain functionality for end-users.
You can read the full kernel policy here.
David Gilson for All About MeeGo, 13th January 2011.
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