From: Marko Mäkelä (marko.makela_at_iki.fi)
Date: 2007-09-20 15:26:50
On Thu, Sep 20, 2007 at 12:35:28PM +0200, Gábor Lénárt wrote: > On Thu, Sep 20, 2007 at 10:38:41AM +0300, Marko Mäkelä wrote: > > The "fault" of GNU/Linux, if you like to call it that, is changing > > software interfaces. Microsoft has often managed to keep the ABI > > (application binary interface) backward-compatible, so that you can > > still run very old binaries. > > > > Linux is not too bad either: for the fun of it, I was able to fire up > > one of the first graphical web browsers (NCSA Mosaic, last updated > > in 1994 or so) a couple of years ago. > > > > While the user interfaces of the Linux kernel and the GNU libc have > > remained pretty compatible, the Linux kernel interfaces do change > > even between minor versions. That is why it would be best to have > > drivers inside the official Linux kernel tree. However, that could > > be hard nowadays for projects like OpenCBM, given that the kernel > > development is dominated by commercial companies. > > This is a common misunderstanding about the Linux kernel. It has got an API > and even ABI towards the user space called syscall interface, and it's quite > stable and compatible since almost the beginings. The problem here is not > the module/drive "ABI", since there is no such thing for real at all Based on our private follow-up, Gábor must have misunderstood my post. Nevertheless, Gábor explains well why it is so hard to compile and install third-party Linux kernel modules. I am not suggesting that the Linux kernel should have a stable module API or ABI. I did not claim that there would have been incompatible changes to the user space application program or binary interfaces (which I meant by "user interfaces"). I only implied that out-of-tree modules (such as OpenCBM) will have difficulties in keeping up with changes to the internal kernel interfaces. I hope that I can be proven wrong about the difficulty of getting additional drivers accepted to Linus' Linux kernel tree. It is a pity that implementing and deploying low-level system programs is so hard in the age of MMUs and multi-tasking. Marko Message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list
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