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SubjectRe: 2.3.51 tulip broken
Donald Becker wrote:

> But this letter isn't about this detailed, narrow issue. It is instead
> about the attitude that such interface changes are readily, and only lightly
> considered. Each one of those minor interface change impacted multiple
> drivers. Many of those drivers were being actively worked on, perhaps based
> on a stable 2.2 kernel.

Bingo. I think you've hit the nail on the head. It comes down to the
difference between just junping in and doing a "quick hack" that seems
to suit an immediate need, or actually "designing" the change. By
design, I mean considering how the change might impact other peices of
code, etc.

> To you such an interface change is a minor tweak that can be with an
> automated search-and-hack. What takes you only a minute per file to change
> might take the developer hours over the next few months to deal with to
> integrate with testing. This is especially true when Linus insists that all
> traces of 2.2 support be expunged in the 2.3 drivers.

Ouch! That's a sore spot for me... I have no intention of moving any
production system to 2.3.xx, or even the 2.4 kernel until its been out
for some time. For that matter, I've still got production systems
running the 2.0.36 kernel, with uptimes of hundreds of days. If it
ain't broke, don't fix it!

The architectural changes to the drivers that Linus is insisting on mean
that I have to have completely different drivers for 2.0.xx, 2.2.xx or
the later 2.3/2.4 kernels. That's a problem, because most driver
maintainers are only going to keep the source for the latest kernel up
to date, while many Linux users in the real world may not be upgrading
to 2.4 for a long time to come. Basically though, if I add a new
network card to a system running those older versions of Linux, or run
into a bug in the drivers I am using, I am left out in the cold, unless
I want to hack the drivers myself, or do a massive upgrade of the

I hate the fact that lately, it seems the attitude of Linux kernel
development has seemed to be "screw the stable kernel tree". Too many
driver fixes, etc, make it into the 2.3.xx kernel, and not into the
2.2.xx source, I think. I have yet to see a good solid explanation for
breaking driver compatibility between 2.2 and 2.3.

| Jim Morris | Business: |
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