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On the driver life cycle

On the driver life cycle

Posted Oct 15, 2009 5:33 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313)
Parent article: On the driver life cycle

Thank you for spotlighting this issue, the discussion was buried in the middle of a thread that I'll bet a lot of people skipped.

I think the proposal for using staging to try and force maintainers to clean up their code or else have it dropped from the kernel is a very bad idea.

I think that 6-9 months (2-3 releases) is _far_ too short for users to notice. most users will be using a distro kernel that is on a release cycle longer than this (even if they are not using a 'enterprise' distro),
so their first inkling of a problem will be the driver disappearing on them. Yes the driver can be recovered through git, bit at that point there is going to be catch-up changes to make.

Also, what happened to the desire that Linux would be able to use anything, and once a driver was upstream changes to the kernel that would break it should be fixed by whoever is introducing those changes? This seems to be moving in the direction of only having drivers for fairly current, fairly common hardware.

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On the driver life cycle

Posted Oct 15, 2009 14:53 UTC (Thu) by arjan (subscriber, #36785) [Link]

increasingly there seem to be a handful of cases where the "he who makes the change fixes the driver" breaks down: If the driver that needs to be fixed is fundamentally broken already, it isn't really an option to "just fix it", since it's not clear, if you don't have/know the hardware, how to go about doing that.

Especially with the recent BKL work this is becoming a problem; some drivers have incredibly broken locking assumptions, and the best the BKL people can do is "it's not more broken than it was before".

Note that this is largely about unmaintained drivers for hardware that does not have much, if any, use... otherwise the serious problems would have been noticed and worked on.

Anyone who would regret such a driver going away can step up to help maintain the driver again, at which point it can even graduate from staging again....

On the driver life cycle

Posted Oct 15, 2009 17:43 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

the cases where the drive is already broken is not the issue here.

as for this only being for hardware that does not have much, if any use.. how can the kernel developers know which drivers people are using? how little use does a driver need to have before it's removed?

this isn't being proposed for drivers with serious functional problems, it's being proposed for drivers that are 'ugly', they work, but don't do things the right way.

yes, someone can step in to pick up a driver, they can even recover it from git history if needed, but in the meantime the driver that has been removed is _not_ getting updated with the other changes taking place, so this becomes a problem similar to backporting drivers to earlier kernels (just moving the other direction)

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