GNU + Linux = broken development model
Posted Jul 30, 2009 2:53 UTC (Thu) by mikov
In reply to: GNU + Linux = broken development model
Parent article: A tempest in a tty pot
Same thing is true of windows drivers -- they promise not to break the ABI, but microsoft isn't going to test your little driver for custom hardware with their new OS...sure it might still load, but then maybe it'll immediately crash. There's no guarantee against that!
No, it is not the same thing by far. While Microsoft will not test my driver (unless I have submitted it for WHQL, which BTW is much easier for a business than submitting to the Linux kernel), the amount of time I would have to spend making sure it works is minuscule by comparison. Plus:
- Microsoft at least tests all the drivers that are shipped with the OS. This is a huge difference with any Linux distribution.
- The above alone guarantees a very high level of API compatibility.
- They don't ship new kernels with frequency anywhere near Linux.
Even if a 100% reliable stable API is not realistic, aiming for one is a really immense help for developers and businesses alike. Especially for smaller businesses where the need for an extra high salaried employee would make a huge difference.
In my opinion it would be sufficient if Linux maintained a source-level API with explicit versioning, and with explicit documentation for each change. Change the API at every release if you like, but increment the version and maintain a formal documentation of the changes (and I don't mean a GIT log).
Sigh... Alas, that will never happen. I am convinced that it is one of the big reasons why we will never see mass adoption of Linux on the desktop. Specialized huge volume devices with fixed hardware like phones, netbooks, game consoles - perhaps, but a PC - not until this changes.
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