driver interface stability
Posted Jul 27, 2004 13:53 UTC (Tue) by mdomsch
In reply to: driver interface stability
Parent article: Kernel Summit: The customer panel
> But I suppose the fact that vendors don't take the trouble
> to ship drivers that work with all historical Linuxes is
> also a good reason never to change (incompatibly) the API.
Hardly. That would suggest that because people outside our sphere of influence (they're not in the kernel) don't do work with the kernel, that they should have significant influence on kernel design and development (freezing the APIs). That way lies madness.
The kernel (through kcompat.h) and projects like DKMS make it easier for vendors to backport their work to earlier kernels, even those with different APIs than the current kernels. Also, it's a matter of timing. If drivers are merged in early enough, then there's less need to do backports, yes? That can't always happen (new hardware does become available, and users of that hardware want support on historical kernels), so good programming practices like kcompat.h and DKMS can help vendors there too.
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