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Re: ATI video comes out of the closet

On Saturday 08 September 2007, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> On Sat, 2007-09-08 at 15:22 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> > I want a stable kernel and device drivers. The unix-like system call
> > interface doesn't need to change every week.

> You've used similar phrases a few times in this and related threads, and
> it prompts a question:

> Is this hyperbole, or are you really suggesting that every time a new
> kernel install requires a recompile of an external driver or binary
> driver shim, that it's because the API has changed?

Run VMware workstation on a Fedora machine, going through the kernel updates, 
and then get back to me (or VMware server, it has the same problems).  And 
the problem isn't with the binary parts; it is with the open-source parts.  I 
shouldn't have to recompile stuff every kernel revision.

The short of it: even Linus will admit that the 2.6 kernel series is not 
stable between versions; not only does he admit it, but he likes it and 
thinks it is a good thing.  Not only does the binary interface change, the 
source interface changes.  Go to the vmware forums and search 
on 'vmware-any-any' and read the threads.

It's not limited to Fedora, either; Ubuntu does the same thing.  It's an 
upstream (kernel) disease that has decreed that ABI and API compatibility is 
not important between new versions. 

So between 2.6.19 and 2.6.20 a source patch had to be made to the open-source 
portions of vmware workstation (and vmware server) to get it to even compile; 
between 2.6.20 and 2.6.21 the same thing.  Between 2.6.21 and 2.6.22 the same 
thing.  It's bad enough to have to recompile every time a new kernel is 
sucked in by yum; it's worse when you have to track down what has changed and 
how to patch the vmware source to be able to recompile.  I just track the 
vmware-any-any patches and stay a week or so behind on kernel updates; I 
don't have time to dig into the kernel changelog to see what they changed 
this week.  And, of course, I only run Fedora 7 on development 
desktops/laptops; the servers get CentOS, not Fedora, and production desktops 
get something else.

I want the same thing Les wants: a stable kernel and newer, frequently updated 
userland. The CentOS Plus repo begins to get it; for KDE stuff KDE-Redhat 
installed on CentOS gets it.  In fact, KDE-Redhat on a CentOS base is just 
about ideal, if you use KDE (and I do); this is what I put on my production 
desktops that run Linux.

Incidentally, Les is quite active over on the CentOS lists, so, he's well 
aware of that option. 

Oh, just in case you are wondering about my 'history' check out the changelog 
for the PostgreSQL RPM's prior to version 8.0.
Lamar Owen
Chief Information Officer
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
1 PARI Drive
Rosman, NC  28772

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