Improving documentation on mainline kernel v. compat-wireless inquiry

Christopher Penalver christopher.m.penalver at
Thu Nov 8 14:06:04 UTC 2012

Andy, thank you for getting back to me on this.

On Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 5:23 AM, Andy Whitcroft <apw at> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 12:44:41PM -0400, Christopher Penalver wrote:
>> Dear Ubuntu Kernel Team / Ubuntu Bug Control:
>> Hello. While triaging wireless related linux (Ubuntu) bug reports, a
>> seemingly common misconception is that when an original reporter tests
>> the mainline kernel, they refuse to test compat-wireless or upstream
>> compat-wireless due to the following common response, "I already
>> tested the mainline kernel". This seems in error, as the mainline
>> kernel provided by the Ubuntu Kernel team
>> does not include patches
>> in linux-next, correct? If so, it seems prudent to further clarify
>> this in the following Ubuntu debugging articles to prevent this
>> misconception:
> Cirtainly mainline kernels only reach up as far as Linus' tree so if
> people are saying that compat wireless has been tested then they are
> probabally right in a sense as our compat wireless bundles are only made
> from full release versions.

So just to reiterate, compat-wireless packages in Ubuntu (ex. )
only take select wireless related commits from linus' tree (e.g.
mainline), correct?

If so, the following article section would benefit from having this
mentioned specifically

> If there is a 'next' version of that though
> they clearly have not tested it and we need to message that
> appropriatly.
> If you have any suggestions on the form of words we could add I would be
> appreciative.  Or indeed you could edit the wiki pages and we can
> review.

Upstream compat-wireless offers backports based on linux-next via . The newest
available as of today are
. Our LinuxWireless debugging article makes a quick, somewhat vague
reference about this
, and it does not go into specific detail about the differences
between mainline/linus and linux-next. Making this known seems

With this in mind, so far in triaging quite a few kernel-wifi reports,
in my asking original bug reporters to provide information from
, none have tested the linux-next backport of upstream
compat-wireless. I am confident in assuming this is due to how it's
not transactionalized (i.e. all the files requested of the reporter to
test are debianized, .deb files are familiar to most users, clear and
easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to install and remove
the files, etc.). As a reference, the mainline article is transactionalized.
Outside of a few one off exceptions, every original bug reporter I've
asked to test the mainline kernel, kernel-wifi or otherwise, has done

As well, if the linux-next backport was made available in .deb
fashion, similar to the mainline, I could see every original reporter
with a kernel-wifi problem at least trying to install it. I would
volunteer my effort in this if found to be helpful, while one would
want to keep in mind it's currently outside of my skill set, and I
would require much "spoon feeding".

I'll add the relevant information we've discussed above in and please edit if room
for improvement is found.

What do you think?

> -apw

Christopher M. Penalver
E-Mail: christopher.m.penalver at

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