Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Bernd Petrovitsch
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 04:26:43 EST

On Fri, 2007-02-16 at 03:19 -0500, Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx wrote:
> 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.

Actually it is questionable for product development in a commercial
environment (especially in the embedded world where you usually have a
quite defined hardware and software on your device) if one actually
wants that - think of the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" reason.

> 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....

It depends on the *very* compelling reason if it is easier/cheaper to
a) fix the problem in the "old" kernel,
b) backport something or
c) forward port the own drivers/changes.
And that decision depends on lots of factors (and company-internal
bureaucracy with the QA department may not be the least important).

Firmix Software GmbH
mobil: +43 664 4416156 fax: +43 1 7890849-55
Embedded Linux Development and Services

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at