Release Criteria for the Linux Kernel

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Before software is released to its users, software developers will ensure that the software has met specified functional and technical requirements and that it is as free from bugs as possible. Users should be able to have a high degree of confidence that the software will perform as specified and without fault. With open source development practices such as those employed on the Linux kernel project, there are no detailed specifications and little formal testing processes. The questions, then, are what criteria, if any, are used in determining the suitability for release of a particular version of this software, and do users have any degree of confidence in the quality of that release of software? These questions were examined in this study using information from the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), the primary forum for discussion of development issues of the Linux kernel, and change logs submitted with version releases of the Linux kernel. It was determined that very little planning is employed in determining the release of a particular version of the software and that a version of the software is essentially a collection of source patches released at regular intervals with some stabilisation of the code base before each release. Very little attempt is made to verify that the code is bug free, and consequently, the code released is of a largely unknown level of quality. End users are left to decide for themselves the suitability and robustness of a particular version of the software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)online - approx 5-20pp
JournalFirst Monday
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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