Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Chris Friesen
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 10:34:48 EST

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.

That's one reason. Another reason is that maybe the embedded system code is doing stuff that's so special purpose that it doesn't make *sense* for it to go into mainline. We've done stuff like this. We've also done stuff where we tried to get it into mainline but the maintainers didn't want it.

Yet another reason is that we need to pick a release and stay on it, because we need to get our four hardware vendors and three software vendors to all agree that they will support that particular release.

I would *love* to track the mainline kernel. However, it simply can't be done when you're using hardware that isn't supported yet by mainline and you're relying on the vendor to provide a patch to make the kernel even boot.

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