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Debian-Kernel Team Oveview and Status

Proposal details:


I would like to lead attending members of the debian-kernel team in a talk that will serve as a status update for our team. The Debian Kernel Team has been around for about a year now.

Discussion topics would be mostly technical, but would include both social (how we work together) and political (non-free firmware) as well.

Technical topics include:
Introduction - Who are we, and what do we do?
* Maintenance of kernel-[source,image,patch-ARCH], initrd-tools, etc
* security for testing/unstable
* Package architecture. What packages does our team create, and what are they for?
* kernel-tree vs. kernel-source
* What kernel-headers do I need?
* What is the right way to file a bug?
* What bugs should be filed against the 'kernel' package, vs. a real package.
* Classes of bugs
* Build issues
* Runtime issues
* Where can you find our source? An overview of our svn repo.
* Daily build testing - Simon Horman and I have both done some work in this area; hopefully we'll have some results by DebConf5 time.
* What requirements must a patch fulfill before we will include it
* Interacting with the debian-installer team (l-k-di)
* ABI changes; what they're for and why the suck
* Exist for module compatability
* Break upgrades (anecdotal ia64/vfat issue?)
* How ABI breaks break debian-installer
* Testing for ABI breaks
* How to build additional modules for our precompiled kernel-images
* How the architectures work together (or not) - sharing configs, build system; sharing source vs. kernel-patch-ARCH packages.
* All-kernels-from-one-source-package plans. Sven Luther has been looking into building most (or all) of our kernels from a single source package. What are the benefits? What are the bottlenecks? What is the status?
* What areas can we use help?
* Firmware; what is acceptable and what's not. This topic maybe one to avoid, due to its political nature. It maybe better to fork this off into a BOF.
Why am I qualified for this talk? The principle reason is that I won't be developing the content or speaking alone. Topics are being worked out with the debian-kernel team, and there will be at least a few of us around to give the actual talk. I began a discussion of topics last month:

I also plan to prepare the talk with the group. I've setup a wiki for this purpose:

My personal involvement with the debian-kernel team has been mostly as a port maintainer. I took over maintenance of the ia64 kernel packages from Bdale a little over a year ago now, and I co-maintained these packages for some time before that. I converted the packages from a rather manual system to an architecture similar to Herbert Xu's, and began tracking his kernel-source packages. Once I joined the kernel team, I worked with Christopher Hellwig to merge the ia64 2.6 patches into our shared kernel-source package. I also created the ia64 versions of the linux-kernel-di packages. Outside of my porter role, I help out with the occasional security patch or bug fix.

Qualification Links:
The 2.6/ia64 subtree of our svn repository:
A couple of tools I created to provide daily status:
Some documentation I wrote:
My first archived commit:
And participation in what I think was our only formal irc meeting:


Presentation type:

Talk (45 min)









  • dann frazier


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