Linux Kernel

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Red Hat Linux 7.3 shipped with a kernel based on Linux 2.4.18 and in general is intended for use with the 2.4 series of kernels. When the next series is released (which will probably be either 2.6 or 3.0), Red Hat's 7.x series might or might not work with the newer kernels; Red Hat generally engineers their distributions to function with a specific kernel series. Though they may strive for forward compatibility, Red Hat's ultimate goal is an overall robust, functional system, so they occasionally forgo forward compatibility when they think the required changes would reduce the quality of their distribution. (Red Hat takes this attitude toward all parts of their system, not just the kernel, as you will see as you read on.)

Because Red Hat is intent on producing a high-quality distribution, they rarely ship a "stock" Linux kernel with their operating system. Instead, Red Hat puts the kernel through extensive quality assurance tests, and they usually apply customizations and bug fixes intended to improve the quality of the distribution or to add some functionality that they deem useful. Red Hat is not alone in this practice; most of the commercial distribution vendors have similar practices, though some other distributions (such as Slackware, which is covered in Chapter 5) focus on stock kernels.

Red Hat does, of course, submit any changes they make to the Linux kernel back to the kernel development community. In fact, Red Hat employs developers who are regular and crucial contributors to the stock Linux kernel. Generally, any changes Red Hat makes are eventually included in the stock kernel sources, but occasionally they are not, which rouses fears of a "kernel fork" or incompatibilities.

To date, though, Red Hat has never shipped a kernel that was a truly significant departure from the stock kernel.



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Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
ISBN: 1893115275
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 159

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