Posted Nov 14, 2005 23:29 UTC (Mon) by sepreece
Parent article: On binary drivers and stable interfaces
I don't have any trouble with agreeing that open-source drivers are preferable. However, I think you overstate some of the issues you raise:
The statement, "The code does not go through any sort of peer review, so obvious problems will persist into the final product." is generally untrue. Most mature software organizations do peer reviews. I suspect you mean they don't do open, external peer reviews, but the phrase "peer review" has never implied that.
You say "it is simply that the developers have no way to track down problems when closed-source code is running." However, many OS vendors do, in fact, provide support for customers running code they are unwilling to share with the vendor. It's harder and demands more of the customer, but it's part of the job.
"Even if a vendor offers top-quality drivers and support, it is unlikely that said vendor supports all of the architectures that run Linux." But, of course, the kernel maintainers don't support all the architectures that run Linux, either. And if you're far enough off the beaten track, you're pretty much on your own anyway. A binary driver at least MAY have a vendor behind it that can offer support. This is particularly the case for those of us in the embedded space.
In fact, a lot of your comments are general-purpose, desktop-centric. For those of us who build products with Linux inside, hardware changes are largely irrelevant - the hardware will continue to be whatever it ships on. And the API/ABI won't change, either, because we won't let it. This doesn't reduce the validity of your points for desktop and enterprise users, but it does restrict the scope of your claims. We mostly come from using OSs that change infrequently and in big steps and are generally OK with that model, because product cycles can start fresh with whatever is the current release of the OS and, if necessary, do the upmerging needed to make any reused components work on it.
Again, though, I agree that open-source drivers are preferable...
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