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    SubjectRe: IDE?

    On Sat, 17 Aug 2002, Andries Brouwer wrote:
    >
    > Of course, "IDE maintainer" implies work on the interface with the hardware
    > and work on the interface with the block I/O subsystem of the kernel.
    > Some people know all about the hardware, others know much less about
    > hardware but have good ideas about the driver interface.
    > There is no reason to force the "IDE maintainer" to be a single person.

    There isn't in theory, but because a minor change to one part will make
    other drivers fail subtly, one person has to be the one that holds the bag
    in the end. Because somebody _will_ be the one that everybody looks at
    when something breaks.

    That is probably one of the largest reasons for the "IDE disease". The
    symptoms of the disease is that people complain about the stuff not
    working, and the maintainer eventually getting so fed up with the
    complaints that he stops interacting with reality, and starts worrying
    about compliance with the documentation instead, hoping that that will fix
    everything.

    Which would work fine, except a lot of the time the problems aren't due to
    things in the documentation, but simply due to hardware that isn't really
    in spec and needs to have workarounds etc. So once the "this is how it is
    documented, and if it doesn't work your machine is broken" disease starts,
    it's all downhill from there.

    I will claim that this happens for a lot of other hardware too, but in
    other hardware there often isn't quite as much baggage (people in the end
    throw out the core and start on a new one without historical cruft), and
    the inter-driver linkages do not exist to _nearly_ the same degree. When a
    developer can work with just one chipset, it's still possible to believe
    that you can keep up. But when you get blamed for all the different IDE
    problems, you crawl into your shell and go away.

    This is why I believe that the only sane result in the end is to have
    independent drivers that probably end up having a lot of duplication (the
    same way hd.c and ide.c started out with a lot of duplication), but where
    there truly _can_ be multiple people in charge of their own drivers (and
    also clear _whose_ problem it is when one IDE controller driver doesn't
    work).

    (Some of the infrastructure could be made truly generic, but the generic
    part should _only_ be for stuff that is truly hardware-independent, and
    simply _cannot_ be impacted by quirks and outright bugs in the hw
    implementations. In short, only stuff that can be argued about on a
    logical and clear level, and where the rules are made up by us, not by
    quirky hardware).

    Linus

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