12 Nov 2002 Zaitcev   » (Master)

The incredible shrinking Red Hat Linux

To my amazement, I just found that RH8.0 takes about 27% less space than RH7.3 (860MB vs. 1200MB) with essentially identical installation on my laptop. Of course, I have only myself to blame for even paying attention to this. I partitioned the disk in the way which allows me to test betas painlessly and I thought that 1300MB system partitions would be plenty for the life time of the laptop. The 7.3 release got me thinking about repartitioning and moan about bloat at mailing lists.

UML, what UML?

I found that we shipped a broken User-Mode kernel in RH8.0. The bug was pretty easy to hit, and known to the UML community. Jeff Dike told me what to fix, so the patch is in the CVS already, tested to work, and I'm running patched kernels already.

But this got me thinking. Nobody, not a single customer posted an issue to issue-tracker, or a bug to bugzilla. This can mean only one thing: nobody is using UML. Why is that?

If we consider rumors, the main reason is that the jail mode is slow, and "regular" mode provides no security. Thus, UML cannot be used by ISPs to hand out shells. Without the proper security, UML is nothing but a debugging tool for kernel hackers, and those just ignore what we ship and download all latest anyway. This is all speculation, of course. Perhaps we just have a solution in search of a problem here.

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