Introducing RedPatch

The Ksplice team is happy to announce the public availability of one of our git repositories, RedPatch. RedPatch contains the source for all of the changes Red Hat makes to their kernel, one commit per fix and we've published it on oss.oracle.com/git. With RedPatch, you can access the broken-out patches using git, browse them online via gitweb, and freely redistribute the source under the terms of the GPL. This is the same policy we provide for Oracle Linux and the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK). Users can freely access the source, view the commit logs and easily identify the changes that are relevant to their environments.

To understand why we've created this project we'll need a little history. In early 2011, Red Hat changed how they released their kernel source, going from a tarball that had individual patch files to shipping the kernel source as one giant tarball with a single patch for all Red Hat-introduced changes. For most people who work in the kernel this is merely an inconvenience; driver developers and other out-of-kernel module developers can see the end result to make sure their module still performs as expected.

For Ksplice, we build individual updates for each change and rely on source patches that are broken-out, not a giant tarball. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to take the right patches to create individual updates for each fix, and to skip over the noise — like a change that speeds up bootup — which is unnecessary for an already-running system. We’ve been taking the monolithic Red Hat patch tarball and breaking it into smaller commits internally ever since they introduced this change.

At Oracle, we feel everyone in the Linux community can benefit from the work we already do to get our jobs done, so now we’re sharing these broken-out patches publicly. In addition to RedPatch, the complete source code for Oracle Linux and the Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) is available from both ULN and our public yum server, including all security errata.

Check out RedPatch and subscribe to redpatch-users@oss.oracle.com for discussion about the project. Also, drop us a line and let us know how you're using RedPatch!

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About

Tired of rebooting to update systems? So are we -- which is why we invented Ksplice, technology that lets you update the Linux kernel without rebooting. It's currently available as part of Oracle Linux Premier Support, Fedora, and Ubuntu desktop. This blog is our place to ramble about technical topics that we (and hopefully you) think are interesting.

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