Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 13th May 2005 07:20 UTC
Sun Solaris, OpenSolaris Sun Microsystems has delayed the release of two major features the company has trumpeted as reasons to try its latest version of the Solaris operating system. Eric Schrock, a Solaris kernel programmer, said on his blog in April that he's "completely redesigning the ZFS commands from the ground up" after finding some deficiencies.
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by hmmm on Sun 15th May 2005 01:26 UTC

... [Linux] kernels programmers do NOT want [the binary driver interface] to be stable.

...they believe that there should be no proprietary binary drivers in use with linux.


The kernel programmers want a stable interface, but they also want to keep full control of it. This means you should not expect it to be static, it can and will be changed as necessary.

They do discourage binary drivers because it means you would have to make any changes necessary to your drivers to maintain compatibility with the kernel's binary driver interface as it changes. Also, it is much harder to fix a stability or security problem in a closed proprietary driver. And if your driver is GPL and integrated into the kernel it will be automagicly updated by the maintainers with any changes made to the module/driver interface. And in additional to all this you would be able to use subroutines and code from anywhere in the entire kernel or userland GPL source that's available everywhere. That's millions of lines of functions and methods and data and good quality code.

Linux does have a fairly stable binary interface

Yep. So it is possible to maintain your own proprietary or combination of open source and closed binary drivers like ATI and nVidia. That way you can still take advantage of the community to keep the glue between your driver and the kernel stable.

The problem I see here is a lot of people feel threatened by open source. I do too. The company I work for has patents and code that they could not open source without it threatening their business. But that's not what this whole Linux thing is about. Its about building a stable platform to use for these proprietary patented kick ass applications. Its about getting and giving you full control of your hardware.

What would you rather have? A stable binary driver interface, or an OS that won't bow down to the demands of governments or media companies and offer you everything it can technically achieve in your lifetime for free?

I want more than stability. I want unlimited access to all available improvements for free. I demand more. Now.. gimme! ;)