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Avoiding the OS abstraction trap

Avoiding the OS abstraction trap

Posted Aug 15, 2011 9:08 UTC (Mon) by linusw (subscriber, #40300)
In reply to: Avoiding the OS abstraction trap by thedevil
Parent article: Avoiding the OS abstraction trap

I always nurtured the idea that we grossly overestimate the pain of writing code, especially concerning device drivers. Coding is easy, know-how is hard.

So writing three different device drivers tailored for three differen OS:es isn't necessarily that bad, as long as you have people who are actually comfortable with diving around all three codebases and making sure the know-how about the hardware is shared between all three codebases.

The key assumption I do is that if a developer is to focus on one technical aspect at a time across several codebase rather than one specific codebase across several technical aspects at a time, the outcome may be better.

This may be true to varying extent in different contexts, it's just my intuitive feeling.

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Avoiding the OS abstraction trap

Posted Aug 15, 2011 17:14 UTC (Mon) by misiu_mp (guest, #41936) [Link]

"Coding is easy, know-how is hard."
So true. To write a good driver you need to know both the hardware's secrets and the kernel's secrets. It is basically impossible to have a driver that does not need kernel secrets - which an abstracted driver tries to do (exception being the graphics drivers based on the opengl specs).

There is much more people with kernel knowledge than a with particular hardware knowledge. A well documented driver written in a language that is easy to understand to kernel hackers will widen the potential circle of hardware knowledgeable people. Once the know-how is out there or easy to reach, the writing is a formality.

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