KS2007: The distributor panel
Posted Sep 7, 2007 20:42 UTC (Fri) by dlang
(✭ supporter ✭
In reply to: KS2007: The distributor panel
Parent article: KS2007: The distributor panel
The thing is, ABI changes don't need to be forbidden, they should just happen less frequently. With the modern 2.6 kernel, EVERY SINGLE RELEASE can potentially contain ABI changes. At least in the 2.0/2.2/2.4 days there were more guarantees of stability for the lifetime of the kernel. This could be enough to get drivers out the door and into customer hands and simultaneously into the tree.
did you actually use the 2.0/2.2/2.4 kernels that you are talking about? I did (I've been using Linux in production environments since around 2.0.30 and on my own systems prior to 1.0) and there was no more ABI stability between different releases then there is with the 2.6 kernel, every release changed something.
now the 2.6 development is much faster, so the amount of changes that took place in 2.0 in a year are taking place in a few months in 2.6, but they are spread across a larger code base as well.
and you are ignoring the fact that in the 1.2/2.0/2.2/2.4 days the kernels from RedHat, SuSE, and Linus were frequently not compatible with each other. you had to change userspace noticably when moving from one kernel series to another (the NPTL stuff is RedHat is the biggest example, but far from the only one).
the other big problem from the 1.2/2.0/2.2/2.4 days was the fact that you frequently couldn't run a stable kernel on your hardware, the driver (or a _working_ driver) was commonly only available in the development series (and developers, including leading ones like Alan Cox would tell you to run the development kernel rather then the stable kernel). I ended up deploying a 2.1.166 kernel on a production box that I mailed across the country to the data center because I needed the 3com NIC driver to work.
I'll take the current rate of change over these sorts of problems any day.
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