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From: "josh@joshtriplett.org" <josh@joshtriplett.org>
To: "Bird, Tim" <Tim.Bird@sony.com>
Cc: linux-arch <linux-arch@vger.kernel.org>,
	ksummit <ksummit-discuss@lists.linuxfoundation.org>,
	Linux Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org>
Subject: Re: [Ksummit-discuss] [TECH TOPIC] Planning code obsolescence
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2020 15:47:04 -0700	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20200731224704.GF32670@localhost> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <CY4PR13MB1175A3B5D9DE33D3A1E045A6FD4E0@CY4PR13MB1175.namprd13.prod.outlook.com>

On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 09:57:41PM +0000, Bird, Tim wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: josh@joshtriplett.org
> > 
> > On Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 05:00:12PM +0200, Arnd Bergmann wrote:
> > > The majority of the code in the kernel deals with hardware that was made
> > > a long time ago, and we are regularly discussing which of those bits are
> > > still needed. In some cases (e.g. 20+ year old RISC workstation support),
> > > there are hobbyists that take care of maintainership despite there being
> > > no commercial interest. In other cases (e.g. x.25 networking) it turned
> > > out that there are very long-lived products that are actively supported
> > > on new kernels.
> > >
> > > When I removed support for eight instruction set architectures in 2018,
> > > those were the ones that no longer had any users of mainline kernels,
> > > and removing them allowed later cleanup of cross-architecture code that
> > > would have been much harder before.
> > >
> > > I propose adding a Documentation file that keeps track of any notable
> > > kernel feature that could be classified as "obsolete", and listing
> > > e.g. following properties:
> > >
> > > * Kconfig symbol controlling the feature
> > >
> > > * How long we expect to keep it as a minimum
> > >
> > > * Known use cases, or other reasons this needs to stay
> > >
> > > * Latest kernel in which it was known to have worked
> > >
> > > * Contact information for known users (mailing list, personal email)
> > >
> > > * Other features that may depend on this
> > >
> > > * Possible benefits of eventually removing it
> > 
> > We had this once, in the form of feature-removal-schedule.txt. It was,
> > itself, removed in commit 9c0ece069b32e8e122aea71aa47181c10eb85ba7.
> > 
> > I *do* think there'd be value in having policies and processes for "how
> > do we carefully remove a driver/architecture/etc we think nobody cares
> > about". That's separate from having an actual in-kernel list of "things
> > we think we can remove".
> 
> I'm not sure the documents are the same.  I think what Arnd is proposing
> is more of a "why is this thing still here?" document.  When someone does
> research into who's still using a feature and why, that can be valuable information
> to share so that future maintenance or removal decisions can be better informed.
> 
> Maybe e-mails are sufficient for this, but they'd be harder to find than something in
> the kernel source. But that supposes that people would look at the file, which 
> appears didn't happen with feature-removal-schedule.txt.

Ah, I see. So this *isn't* about "features we want to remove", this is
"features people might think we should remove, but here's the
documentation for why we aren't"? More of an
obscure-but-still-wanted-features.txt?
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  reply	other threads:[~2020-07-31 22:47 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 9+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-07-31 15:00 Arnd Bergmann
2020-07-31 21:27 ` josh
2020-07-31 21:57   ` Bird, Tim
2020-07-31 22:47     ` josh [this message]
2020-08-05 17:26 ` Pavel Machek
2020-08-05 18:50   ` Geert Uytterhoeven
2020-08-05 19:30     ` Pavel Machek
2020-08-10 19:39       ` Olof Johansson
2020-08-16 12:53 ` Michael Ellerman

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