out of tree
Posted Aug 3, 2009 22:14 UTC (Mon) by mikov
In reply to: out of tree
Parent article: A tempest in a tty pot
There's no logical fallacy there. I stated that an out-of-tree driver requires a lot of work to get into the kernel if it has to be done once the company has gone bankrupt, compared to if the driver was in the tree in the first place. But you're stating that an out-of-tree driver is easy than no driver at all which is true, but not really relevant to an in-tree or out-tree discussion.
I do get where you're coming from, but I do think that in the long run, Linux will have the bigger advantage of having all the drivers in tree.
Well, you are implying that it is somehow "bad" to have an existing working GPL driver, which just happens to be out of tree. That is the fallacy. In fact it cannot possibly negatively affect the desired outcome, which is to have a working driver.
I actually think that there should be no drivers in tree. That is an unmanageable situation - keeping all possible drivers in one monolithic source tree, and upgrading them at every kernel release. It should be obvious that this simply cannot scale. You cannot expect a finite number of developers to maintain a potentially infinite number of drivers for ever.
The other day, for example, I need to get a webcam working on an ARM device. In linux it was easy because all the drivers were just there. I plugged in the webcam and it just worked.
That sort of thing is simply not possible in Windows.
That is a funny example because I have exactly the opposite experience with an embedded project. It is not possible to buy a working camera for it because its kernel can't practically be upgraded. And even with a modern kernel, I can't find a single webcam from Fry's to work on my Linux desktop.
AFAIK, there is a very high turnover rate with webcam chips, so it simply does not make economic sense to maintain a driver for hardware whose life is 6 months. Now, if only there was a stable driver API ... :-)
Likewise I dread re-installing Windows because the drivers for my wireless card are difficult to get. The company that made the drivers has since gone and their website is now down.
I don't get it. Why would you have to re-install Windows for a single driver?
Let's for a second forget about the labels Linux and Windows and look at it as impartial scientists performing an experiment. We have "OS A" which owns 99% of a market, and "OS B" which has 0.5% and doesn't seem to be growing even though it is much cheaper (!?!). What reasons could we have, as impartial scientists, to believe that "OS B" is somehow superior?
Personally I obviously think that Linux is superior in many respects, or I wouldn't be here. But I am sure that that it is despite the lack of stable API, not because of it.
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