Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 6th May 2006 17:26 UTC, submitted by JMcCarthy
Linux Andrew Morton, the lead maintainer of the Linux production kernel, is worried that an increasing number of defects are appearing in the 2.6 kernel and is considering drastic action to resolve it. "I believe the 2.6 kernel is slowly getting buggier. It seems we're adding bugs at a higher rate than we're fixing them," Morton said, in a talk at the LinuxTag conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Friday.
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RE[2]: Million times
by egarland on Sun 7th May 2006 04:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Million times"
egarland
Member since:
2005-08-05

He has a point.

It is *very* hard as a hardware vendor to support Linux.

For Windows you simply put out a driver that works and you only have to fix bugs occasionally and release a new version every 5 years or however often they release a new Windows.

For Linux.. you have a kernel release every few months and a large number of distributions each of which compile the kernel differently and often support multiple arcitectures. In any release they can partially or completely rewrite the code that your driver talks to. The headers can change, the data structures, everything, in every release. Creating code that will compile against all versions of the kernel using multiple compilers is a coding nightmare. Creating a version of the driver for each kernel revision and supporting them all is a coding nighmare. Full QA is darn near impossible

Open sourcing your driver can help, but that doesn't work when people come to you to get a driver because their distribution chose not to include the kernel's driver for your hardware in their binary kernal.

Basically Linux currently only works well with hardware that Linux distributions support natively. Companies trying to support customers using their hardware with Linux are left with nothing but bad options.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Million times
by siki_miki on Sun 7th May 2006 14:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Million times"
siki_miki Member since:
2006-01-17

You outlined the problems with "moving target" ABI very well. Kernel developers should provide at least ABI/API matrix in which they note what changes between versions and which ABI's they not reccomend to use because they will likely change. This will greatly help.

Then distro vendors should also put up a website together and outline which compiler versions they use in releases and what is incompatible between those.

I strongly disagree about the move to fixed API, it means in the end that kernel can't evolve without nasty workarounds and devs are aware of that very well. But they should at least try as much as possible to leave compatible stuff in there until this is a maintenance or design problem. The reason why windows works with old drivers is because its kernel almost didn't change since W2k release.

Adding microkernel bits to linux isn't impossible either. Fuse does that for FS drivers, similar beast is DRI. Non-performance critical device can be a first target.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Million times
by McBofh on Tue 9th May 2006 00:22 in reply to "RE[3]: Million times"
McBofh Member since:
2005-07-07

That's something that the commercial unix vendors have been doing for years. It would be great to see it happen in the linux world too.

Reply Parent Score: 1