ELC: The embedded Linux nightmare
Posted Apr 18, 2007 4:41 UTC (Wed) by sepreece
Parent article: ELC: The embedded Linux nightmare
Gleixner's talk had a distinct implication that the vendors were at fault and the community had a right to expect more of them.
The vendors, of course, see things differently. Unlike computers, whose users have been taught to expect to have to replace the system software regularly, devices are generally expected to remain the same from the day they are shipped to the day they are discarded. Most users would not like to see that change.
Vendors, therefore, tend to like to get the software very stable before they ship the product, and to use the same software base to build a given product (and updates, refreshes, and successors of that product) for a long time.
So, vendors tend to be working on old releases, even though they want current features. Thus it's not surprising that he found a vendor release that was based on 2.6.10 but was actually closer to a later release, based on patch size.
The point is that this is not evil on the vendor's part, it's just a difference in needs and expectations. In many cases it's not that the vendors don't want to "give back", it's that they can't. When they find a bug or make an enhancement, their base is so far from the community's that the community has no interest in what they have to say.
The vendors aren't dumb. They know that community gives leverage and that having more eyes working on something will make it better, faster, and many of them would love to have their work mainstreamed so they don't have to maintain it. But they are often working on things that literally nobody else in the world cares about (like devices for custom hardware) or on old releases or just have different priorities than the community developers.
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