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    SubjectRe: OFFTOPIC: binary modules, bad idea!
       Date: 	Thu, 18 Dec 1997 23:45:55 -0800
    From: Stephen Williams <steve@icarus.icarus.com>

    Of course, now everybody thinks I'm a weenie bean-counter with dilusions
    of trade secrets, but all I want to do is be able to pre-compile my device
    driver modules for my customers (many of whom are NT users and can't spell
    "C") so I can make a nifty little .rpm that has device drivers in them.
    They can have the bloody source!

    Unless we get to the point where we can formalize the I/O interface
    enough where we can set it into concrete, I'm afraid that's not every
    likely (unfortunately).

    The best thing I can suggest is an .rpm file which includes the source,
    and an installation script which compiles the device driver for the
    existing running kernel. This at least gives users the functional
    experience of doing an "rpm -i", and having the device driver being
    automatically compiled and then installed, which is what they want.

    True, this doesn't work terribly well for Slackware and other
    distributions where the kernel include files don't match the kernel
    which you've booted, but those distributions are usually horribly broken
    in other ways anyway, and you can just tell users to reinstall to a more
    modern distributions.

    (I've gotten e-mail messages from users who basically said, "I tried
    installing the Comtrol rocketport driver under Slackware, and it locked
    up; I tried all sorts of things, and finally gave up and installed
    RedHat, and it all just started working magically." Well, I wouldn't
    call it magic, since it wasn't all that surprising to me....)

    - Ted

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