> there is already code in the kernel that is primarily developed and maintained elsewhere.
> however, the kernel developers don't feel much need to respect the idea of 'this code is read-only on kernel.org', if they make an interface change in the kernel, they will make that change even on these drivers that have their 'primary source' external to the kernel, and it's up to that external source to pick up the changes so that they don't break with the next merge request.
I suppose the easiest way around that would be to make sure that the code parts which are "kernel-external" only interface to other parts in the driver, and not to anything outside. Without letting those other parts become too much of a simple abstraction layer, see above. Another problem that I see though is coding style - having code shared between the kernel and something else in this way forces that something else to adopt the kernel coding style, which is likely not to be the same as their preferred style.