path: root/documentation/kernel-dev
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authorScott Rifenbark <>2013-01-28 17:18:25 (GMT)
committerRichard Purdie <>2013-01-30 14:10:02 (GMT)
commitd029e786b56b1e38fc5ac7243ba61672f47a7e18 (patch)
tree09f56a4922804d8f227aec1f0e4af7b2422f398f /documentation/kernel-dev
parentb80e98362039281873e2d8df1badb4c223e2d69f (diff)
kernel-dev: Added new appendix for kernel concepts.
(From yocto-docs rev: e25465c6d177a27d3dee742ebc958ae30f968ffa) Signed-off-by: Scott Rifenbark <> Signed-off-by: Richard Purdie <>
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1<!DOCTYPE chapter PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.2//EN"
3[<!ENTITY % poky SYSTEM "../poky.ent"> %poky; ] >
5<appendix id='kernel-dev-concepts-appx'>
6<title>Advanced Kernel Concepts</title>
8 <section id='kernel-big-picture'>
9 <title>Yocto Project Kernel Development and Maintenance</title>
10 <para>
11 Kernels available through the Yocto Project, like other kernels, are based off the Linux
12 kernel releases from <ulink url=''></ulink>.
13 At the beginning of a major development cycle, the Yocto Project team
14 chooses its kernel based on factors such as release timing, the anticipated release
15 timing of final upstream <filename></filename> versions, and Yocto Project
16 feature requirements.
17 Typically, the kernel chosen is in the
18 final stages of development by the community.
19 In other words, the kernel is in the release
20 candidate or "rc" phase and not yet a final release.
21 But, by being in the final stages of external development, the team knows that the
22 <filename></filename> final release will clearly be within the early stages of
23 the Yocto Project development window.
24 </para>
25 <para>
26 This balance allows the team to deliver the most up-to-date kernel
27 possible, while still ensuring that the team has a stable official release for
28 the baseline Linux kernel version.
29 </para>
30 <para>
31 The ultimate source for kernels available through the Yocto Project are released kernels
32 from <filename></filename>.
33 In addition to a foundational kernel from <filename></filename>, the
34 kernels available contain a mix of important new mainline
35 developments, non-mainline developments (when there is no alternative),
36 Board Support Package (BSP) developments,
37 and custom features.
38 These additions result in a commercially released Yocto Project Linux kernel that caters
39 to specific embedded designer needs for targeted hardware.
40 </para>
41 <para>
42 Once a kernel is officially released, the Yocto Project team goes into
43 their next development cycle, or upward revision (uprev) cycle, while still
44 continuing maintenance on the released kernel.
45 It is important to note that the most sustainable and stable way
46 to include feature development upstream is through a kernel uprev process.
47 Back-porting hundreds of individual fixes and minor features from various
48 kernel versions is not sustainable and can easily compromise quality.
49 </para>
50 <para>
51 During the uprev cycle, the Yocto Project team uses an ongoing analysis of
52 kernel development, BSP support, and release timing to select the best
53 possible <filename></filename> version.
54 The team continually monitors community kernel
55 development to look for significant features of interest.
56 The team does consider back-porting large features if they have a significant advantage.
57 User or community demand can also trigger a back-port or creation of new
58 functionality in the Yocto Project baseline kernel during the uprev cycle.
59 </para>
60 <para>
61 Generally speaking, every new kernel both adds features and introduces new bugs.
62 These consequences are the basic properties of upstream kernel development and are
63 managed by the Yocto Project team's kernel strategy.
64 It is the Yocto Project team's policy to not back-port minor features to the released kernel.
65 They only consider back-porting significant technological jumps - and, that is done
66 after a complete gap analysis.
67 The reason for this policy is that back-porting any small to medium sized change
68 from an evolving kernel can easily create mismatches, incompatibilities and very
69 subtle errors.
70 </para>
71 <para>
72 These policies result in both a stable and a cutting
73 edge kernel that mixes forward ports of existing features and significant and critical
74 new functionality.
75 Forward porting functionality in the kernels available through the Yocto Project kernel
76 can be thought of as a "micro uprev."
77 The many “micro uprevs” produce a kernel version with a mix of
78 important new mainline, non-mainline, BSP developments and feature integrations.
79 This kernel gives insight into new features and allows focused
80 amounts of testing to be done on the kernel, which prevents
81 surprises when selecting the next major uprev.
82 The quality of these cutting edge kernels is evolving and the kernels are used in leading edge
83 feature and BSP development.
84 </para>
85 </section>
88vim: expandtab tw=80 ts=4