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Linux kernel version support policy

Since glibc 2.17 (released Dec 2012), the minimum supported Linux kernel 
version for glibc has been 2.6.16.  The discussion resulting in setting 
the minimum to 2.6.16 started at 

2.6.16 ceased to be maintained in July 2009, according to Wikipedia 
<>.  Should we have 
a policy on how long after a long-term-support Linux kernel version ceases 
to be maintained we can move the minimum to the next long-term-support 
version, or such a policy based on distribution releases (or a 

For glibc 2.20 (July 2014), if the threshold is under 5 years we could 
move to 2.6.27 as minimum.  If it's up to 2 years we could move to 2.6.32 
(the oldest that's still maintained).

In any case, I suggest maintaining the principle that the versions that 
matter for --enable-kernel are * releases*; that, contrary to 
older practice, if a feature is present in version N but not N-rc1, use of 
--enable-kernel=N *should* assume that feature to be present (whereas some 
older conditionals only make that assumption for --enable-kernel=N+1).

Note: I realise that to increase the minimum version we'd need an updated 
version of Aurelien's patch for bug 9894 (and more generally, to review 
the conditionals that would be obsoleted by such a move to make sure the 
features that would be assumed to be available are in fact available in 
the chosen versions for relevant architectures).

Distribution kernel versions:

RHEL (information from 
<>): RHEL 5 uses 
2.6.18 (would cease to be supported for new glibc testing under these 
proposals).  RHEL 6 uses 2.6.32.

SLES (information from 
<>): SLES 10 uses 2.6.16 
(would cease to be supported under these proposals).  SLES 11 used 2.6.27 
but updates brought it to 3.0.

Debian 6 uses 2.6.32 <>.  Debian 7 
uses 3.2 <>.

Ubuntu (information from 
<>): Ubuntu 10.04 
uses 2.6.32.  Ubuntu 12.04 uses 3.2.

Joseph S. Myers

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