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SubjectRe: Binary drivers
On Sun, 05 Dec 1999, Kendall Bennett wrote:

> > How much of this should we carry? Should Linux 3.4 still support
> > the old PCI interfaces? If it did, it would be only to avoid
> > losing some binary driver whose author/supplier was undoubtedly
> > negligent.
> Eventually there comes a time when you can remove the old interfaces
> when they are no longer desirable for maintanance reasons.

They are no longer desirable for maintanance reasons the moment they are
made obsolete. Currently they can be removed almost immediately, after the
drivers in the source tree have been changed to work with the new interface.
If you have to wait X amount of time before you can remove, old, buggy,
unmaintained, insecure, etc, interfaces, things become evil.

> > The Linux device driver interfaces (such as they are) are fairly
> > stable indeed. The higher-level interfaces (for filesystems, for
> > example) are a lot more mobile, but this isn't your issue.
> >
> > The fact is that stable kernels have a fairly static driver
> > interface, which is _almost always_ source-compatible, if not
> > binary-compatible.
> Exactly! If the interfaces really are very stable and hardly ever
> change, then what the hell is all the fuss about actually *defining*
> what the currently API's are so that binary compatibility can be
> assured?

Because binary compatability *isn't assured*, and assuring it would create a
huge burden preventing things being changed in the kernel incase some binary
only module uses some buggy interface that creates huge security holes..

> Regards,

David Taylor
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