Important kernel update should not break stuff

Roman Kennke rkennke at
Wed Jun 13 12:00:29 UTC 2012

> Today something happened, that happens over and over again with Fedora,
> and it makes me angry. I am running Fedora 17, and so far it worked well
> with the initial kernel 3.3.x (except that it would panic on shutdown...
> but that was not important to me, but still embarassing). Today I was
> notified of an important security update in the kernel. Curiously, it
> would update from 3.3 to 3.4 (a major version upgrade, which should not
> happen in such a core package anyway, IMO). Reboot into the new kernel,
> everything comes up --- until I want to actually want to read email,
> surf web, or anything that requires my network. I am on an Intel Wifi
> card, iwlwifi module. I *can* connect to the network, but everything is
> suuuuuuper  slow or times-out every now and then. Completely unusable.
> Reboot into the older kernel, things work well again. Now I am left with
> the choice of running a new kernel w/o network or an unsecure kernel.
> Thank you very much!
> This sort of thing I would expect in rawhide/development builds, but not
> in a supposed-to-be stable release. I can understand the underlying idea
> of being on the bleeding edge, but I don't want to actually be bleeding.
> At least the base system components should not undergo major version
> updates. Security fixes should be backported to the software version
> that is in the stable release (1 year release cycle shouldn't be too
> demanding for this), and only security fixes and absolutely important
> fixes should go into stable releases. (Not to mention that some fixes
> that I *would* consider important enough to go into stable never end up
> there.) If major version updates are really really necessary, they
> should undergo serious testing. I cannot believe that I am the only one
> on an Intel Wifi chip. The way it is now, Fedora feels like a constantly
> rolling development version that is almost unusable (because any update,
> even security, has a fairly high risk of breaking things) for day-to-day
> work.
> Bugzilla report:

Since I just received an email in private pointing out that emails like
mine above might be discouraging and not helpful... let me apologize for
this. My intention is not to bash other people's best efforts, but
instead try to help out (otherwise I would not bother to diligently file
bugreports and mention my concerns on this list). I am willing to help
track down and fix the problem. However, I see a more general problem
and maybe we can turn this into a discussion how to address (or answer)

- Why do we allow new major versions of core components into a stable
release? What sort of testing is performed before a major kernel update
hits Fedora stable?
- What is the policy with regards to risky changes (like unnecessary
feature updates, ABI changes, etc) in stable?
- How can problems like the one I described above be avoided? Is there
anything I and others can help with?


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