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Upstream first policy

Upstream first policy

Posted Jun 3, 2010 14:08 UTC (Thu) by faramir (subscriber, #2327)
In reply to: Upstream first policy by neilbrown
Parent article: A suspend blockers post-mortem

>In the case of Linux, many of the developers are users first, and >developers second (I certainly started that way), so as a consequence it >ends up being focused on benefiting users too, which is nice.

Depending on how you define it, that should read "benefiting A FEW users".

Between Tivos, WRT54g routers, Android phones, some TVs, and a host of similar products; I suspect that the vast majority of users are not developers of any sort. In most cases, the manufacturers of those products discourage development as well (Android is obviously different).

As has already been stated elsewhere, these users usually neither know nor care that Linux is involved. That doesn't mean that kernel policy (to the extent it exists) should change. But lets be honest here, this is about certain kinds of developers not users.

If one is a developer of an appliance type product, there would appear to be little reason to even subscribe to LKML let alone be involved in the development process. Your product life cycle is short and chances are that any significant kernel changes that you propose will either take too long or never get accepted.

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Upstream first policy

Posted Jun 3, 2010 14:32 UTC (Thu) by corbet (editor, #1) [Link]

If you are the developer of one appliance-type product, then maybe you can ignore the process. However, the life cycle of such products tends not to be very long; soon you'll be developing another one. There comes a point where you can't drag that 2.4.x kernel forward any further; it just won't work on the hardware you're using. So you're stuck with trying to make your stuff work on something newer. And that will be painful.

I've consulted for companies like this. Had they worked with upstream and made sure the stuff they needed got there, they would have found it waiting for them when the time came to move to a newer kernel. Instead, they set themselves up for a bunch of high-intensity, short-deadline pain. That can be lucrative for kernel consultants, but it's not really a good way to run a company.

To me, treating the kernel as a throwaway resource doesn't make sense even for the most myopic of embedded systems developers. Unless they plan to go out of business soon, they will want a maintainable kernel five or ten years down the road, and they will want it to meet their particular needs. And that doesn't just happen by chance.

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