Debugfs and the making of a stable ABI
Posted Dec 6, 2008 20:21 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata
Parent article: Debugfs and the making of a stable ABI
There's something deeply disturbing about a practice of ensuring forward compatibility by withholding function from the present release. It's selfishness masquerading as public service.
It is a software distributor's duty not to mislead people into using a function that will make it harder to move to a later release, and that's where the documentation that Linus finds useless comes in.
I think the only reason Linus sees documentation as having no effect on what people depend upon is that the Linux kernel has a no documentation culture. Stating in Documentation/xxx.txt that X isn't intended as a stable API falls way short of informing users that X isn't intended as a stable API, and in fact there often is no way to get that information across. In fact, given the vague nature of the Linux development community, I'm not sure "intended" has much of a meaning. But I'm sure Linus knows of many features in other software that are not depended upon only because documentation warns of loss of forward compatibility.
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