GNU + Linux = broken development model
Posted Jul 30, 2009 19:41 UTC (Thu) by mikov
In reply to: GNU + Linux = broken development model
Parent article: A tempest in a tty pot
It seems to me that he's not missing it by much. Although I would prefer a
stable API it looks like this is a matter of priorities. If you prefer
stability and longevity, you choose RHEL or Debian and stick with their
kernels. RHEL 4 supported 2.6.9 for 4 years.
As I pointed out, that doesn't work.
First, what are you supposed to do with this stable kernel if you want to use newer hardware?
Secondly, every vendor and distribution has a different "stable" kernel, which in turn is different from the vanilla kernel with the same version. So, what do you do if you a hardware vendor? Even if you have included your driver in the mainline in 2.6.30, who does it help your customers some of who are using 2.6.18, some 2.6.9, some 2.6.26, etc? Is anybody surprised that hardware vendors are not keen on supporting Linux?
Lastly, even if there was only one stable distribution in the world, 4 years is a far cry from 15.
You pointed out (several times) that you are speaking from the developers
standpoint. But here you base your argument on a claim that _businesses_
and _users_ want a stable API. It's the ABI they (well, me at least) care
Clearly I mean businesses who develop and support software and their customers who are affected by it because their reliability goes down and their costs go up. What I am going for here is that an enthusiastic hacker who is happy to recompile his own kernel daily (like most of us) can't always see the big picture.
Another thing here that sticks in my eye, and I see that I'm not the only
one, is the allusion that Microsoft offers support for it's kernel for 15
years. IMO nobody there has touched the NT4 kernel for quite a while and
would be greatly surprised if the NT5 family had any recent updates. They
are only stable by virtue of being old.
Huh? Who is talking about support? The point of a stable API is precisely that - to continue using the same source with the newer OS-es which are currently supported.
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