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Non-free drivers

Non-free drivers

Posted Jan 27, 2011 18:30 UTC (Thu) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
In reply to: Non-free drivers by trasz
Parent article: The real BKL end game

It's about keeping them stable for a reasonable amount of time, in a way that administrators and 3rd party developers can actually understand and adapt to.

The only reason to do this is to provide an interface for outside-of-tree kernel facilities. Which are their own mistake. Even if they are only device drivers.

Semantics like those of the BKL, to the extent that they leak into the semantics of your ABI, are an excellent example of semantics that are difficult to just handwave in a wrapper. You'd have to make a real lock that at a minimum would lock out all of its callers, which would be other ABI clients. Consider the Vint Cerf piece today. They made mistakes because they simply did not consider that IP devices would be mobile. We make the same mistakes every day. It's really nice when they aren't cast in concrete. Remember the story of the syntactic white space in makefiles and why we still have it today.

I'm also thinking of the ext4 data loss argument, and the discussion of what the implied semantics of rename should be and whether programmers should have to explicitly call fsync. Some of this stuff is really hard to keep from spreading its dirty fingers far beyond your wrapper.


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Non-free drivers

Posted Jan 28, 2011 22:24 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

The only reason to do this [keep a stable interface protocol] is to provide an interface for outside-of-tree kernel facilities. Which are their own mistake.

What besides the need for the stable interface protocol makes outside-of-tree kernel facilities a mistake?


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