Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 22nd Jul 2007 00:33 UTC, submitted by liquidat
Linux Linus Torvalds included patches into the mainline tree which implement a stable userspace driver API into the Linux kernel. The stable driver API was already announced a year ago by Greg Kroah-Hartman. Now the last patches were uploaded and the API was included in Linus' tree. The idea of the API is to make life easier for driver developers: "This interface allows the ability to write the majority of a driver in userspace with only a very small shell of a driver in the kernel itself. It uses a char device and sysfs to interact with a userspace process to process interrupts and control memory accesses."
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From a technical standpoint, this is great. It's great to have the option to design components of your driver to run in userspace or in kernelspace, depending on the application.

However, I'm worried that this will make it easier to write binary-only userspace driver components and that companies will see it as an opportunity to claim linux compatibility without releasing open drivers/specs.

I could be wrong about this (I guess the code would still be considered linked to GPL code, but then maybe you could create some sort of bridge between your linked userspace open source component and your nonfree userspace components... more easily).

I'm not saying that technological progress in free software that might encourage nonfree software development should be avoided, but it'll be interesting to see if this has an impact on nonfree software development in the linux world.

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