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A suspend blockers post-mortem

A suspend blockers post-mortem

Posted Jun 3, 2010 20:38 UTC (Thu) by farnz (subscriber, #17727)
In reply to: A suspend blockers post-mortem by malor
Parent article: A suspend blockers post-mortem

It's interesting that you describe it as "treating Google like shit and putting their developer(s) through hell"; I see it very, very differently (and I've been following the threads on LKML as well as reading the articles here).

I see Google's developers coming up with a solution to a very specific problem, that's not going to help people outside of their devices, and that involves intrusive changes all over the kernel. By the time they bring it to the kernel folk, they're heavily invested in it - changing it is going to cost them a lot of effort.

Needless to say, they get a lot of pushback, as the solution they're proposing doesn't work for anything bar the areas Android is targetted at, yet requires all kernel developers to make allowances for them. At first, most of the pushback is met by the argument that they've shipped huge numbers of devices, and can't possibly change a design that they've made work.

Eventually, we get a statement of the problem that Google are trying to solve; as seems common with controversial kernel features, this triggers a whole pile of ideas, some of which get shot down as unworkable, others get refined into better solutions. We now seem to be at the stage where we're down to a single core idea for solving the problem, which is being refined into a decent userspace interface that can stay put forever, and a kernel interface that will work for now, but that can always be replaced.

In short, I see Google coming up with a short-sighted design, tied closely to details of their platform, and then (not maliciously, mind - it's hard to accept that you've made a mistake) trying to use their size to bully the kernel developers into accepting a bad solution to the problem, that's both intrusive and not helpful to non-Android users.

Had Google brought wakelocks/suspend blockers to the mainstream early in Android development (spinning it as something they do to save server power, for example, as Android couldn't come into the open at that point), they'd have had much less pain - they'd almost certainly have ended up implementing something closely related to the QoS constraints that seem to be winning the day now. Similarly, had they been able to get what they wanted in a tightly confined "android.ko", the kernel guys would probably have accepted it without this huge argument that's ensuing now. It's the combination of "this only solves our problem - the rest of you can go swivel, because we're shipping this", and "all of you need to allow for our solution to this problem, because it affects code all over the shop" that's caused the strife.


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