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Re: OCD programmers and backwards compatibility :-).

Dave Jones wrote:

> So does that mean that maintaining compatibility with anything outside > that kernel developers' direct control is hopeless? Should anyone who > cares about that just switch to Solaris now?

If you care about a kernel symbol remaining constant forever,
then you're in for disappointment.

What I care about is the ability for independent third parties to provide additional drivers that have a reasonable lifespan. And yes I am disappointed that the kernel developers refuse to cooperate by providing a stable interface.

We do offer _some_ ABI guarantees
with RHEL releases, but it's a ton of work to do so (even just a subset).
Doing that for Fedora would require a lot of manpower which doesn't
exist today. It also requires sacrificing certain upstream changes entirely,
which makes for real pain when subsequent must-have fixes are implemented
on top.

Yes, obviously any commercial offering is going recognize the customers' needs and meet them or they won't have any customers. Unfortunately, free projects don't have to care - they can break vmware, ati, nvidia, etc's added value on whim. Why should they worry about the effect on end users?

This isn't about control, it's about long term maintainence.

No, forcing one team to do everything is not the way to do maintenance in a way that scales or is even itself maintainable.

If Linux had a stable in-kernel ABI, it would be a horrific mess
to work on, and certain problems would just be completely unfixable
in a clean manner.

Odd, then, that more popular operating systems have managed it in a way that permits third party drivers for a vast variety of devices to work unchanged for years.

If you want to see some of the horror show that proves this, take
a look at what happens to a RHEL release near end of life.
By that point, large parts of it have deviated from anything that
ever looked like upstream, because instead of taking upstream fixes,
we've had to bend-to-fit fixes to work around ABI constraints.

It's not having an ABI that causes this problem. It is the fact that the current kernel hasn't respected it.

Thankfully, no RHEL release lasts forever.

Don't say that... Most of my machines are running Centos 3.x.

  Les Mikesell
   lesmikesell gmail com

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