No direct control? Device driver patches are accepted readily, so if you aren't getting your patches accepted something very strange is going on.
Let's say I am a manufacturer and I receive a bug report from a customer. How am I supposed to fix it? Submit a patch to LKML and tell the customer to wait for a new kernel version? That is absurd. So, I have to maintain an out-of-tree driver in any case. I want my customers to use the same driver in all kernel versions.
In general linking a particular driver version to a particular kernel version is just stupid. If I have one a single misbehaving driver I have to update my entire kernel, making many more unnecessary changes. That is is a support and maintenance nightmare.
As for manufacturers doing a better job with out of tree drivers quite often hardware manufacturers build a device for a short while sell it and quickly become no longer interested in it. Which makes a community model where all the people who care (not just the hardware manufacturer) can participate a better thing.
All drivers must still be GPL, of course, so people can participate if they want. But before all, it must be easy for the original manufacturer to participate because that is the most efficient way to do it. Currently, it is very expensive to do that and that is at least part of the reason why many hardware manufacturers aren't doing it at all.
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