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On binary drivers and stable interfaces

On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Posted Nov 10, 2005 11:58 UTC (Thu) by hanwen (subscriber, #4329)
Parent article: On binary drivers and stable interfaces

I think the issue with binary drivers revolves around the wrong point. The real problem is

proprietary drivers tend to have plenty of bugs. They are often written by developers with little time and even less expertise with the Linux kernel

No amount of standards, conventions, ABIs, APIs, etc. is going to solve this. Having a driver ABI just makes it easier for vendors to put crappy drivers up, and add a cute Penguin logo to their packaging.

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On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Posted Nov 10, 2005 13:12 UTC (Thu) by fenrus (guest, #31654) [Link]

this wasn't so much about proprietary drivers.. those are illegal anyway in many of the existing cases.

the point was about drivers shipped in binary form (even though the source may well be available). Some vendors only want to ship "certified" binaries.. even when they are older and more buggy than newer, not yet certified drivers

On binary drivers and stable interfaces

Posted Nov 10, 2005 15:04 UTC (Thu) by coopj (subscriber, #1139) [Link]

I often have to deal with drivers which while written under GPL, are
very poorly written. Sometimes they may perform well enough, and
not be very buggy, but they use all kinds of hacks to work with
only one or a few kernel releases, and are almost impossible to
port forward to even minor changes in kernel API and headers.

Overall I think this is a good thing -- by releasing under GPL
they at least give kernel developers a start and an opportunity
to push a better driver upstream. However, I wish rather than
producing these hacks they'd put a little more effort into
respecting kernel practices and standards -- in many cases it
would be less work, not more.

The "you can do anything you want as long as it is GPL" attitude
is very widespread in the corporate culture, and while it is
better than promotion of binary drivers, further education is needed.

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