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SubjectRe: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers
On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 09:32:30 EST, "linux-os (Dick Johnson)" said:
> There are a lot of device drivers that will never make it into the
> mainline kernel because they are for one-of-a-kind devices or boards
> that companies embed into their products. Nobody would even want a
> copy of the software to interface with something that they would
> never even have. When Version 2.6 started, it became necessary to
> use special tools and procedures to compile a module that was not
> inside the mainline kernel. However, it was still quite easy. Recently,
> somebody, apparently with an advanced degree in obfuscation, has made
> that more difficult. This is abuse, pure and simple. That, in my
> opinion, is one of the major reasons why people who use Linux in
> embedded systems end up using very old versions.

Actually, the *real* reason embedded systems end up using old versions is
much simpler.

They start developing their code on release 2.X.Y, and they keep their code
out-of-tree. Then, when they come up for air, and it's at 2.X.(Y+15), they
discover that we weren't kidding when we shipped stable_api_nonsense.txt,
and since their code isn't in the tree, they have to do all the API cleanup
themselves, because no flock of nit-picking kernel janitor monkeys swarmed
over their code and magically fixed it up for them.

And unless Y+15 has some *very* compelling reasons to move forward, just
sticking at Y suddenly starts looking very good, because watching somebody
else's kernel janitor monkeys fix your code is fairly cheap, but paying your
own kernel janitor monkeys gets expensive really fast....

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