Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Scott Preece
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 10:58:46 EST

On 2/16/07, Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx <Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx> wrote:
On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 09:32:30 EST, "linux-os (Dick Johnson)" said:

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....

No, that misses the core reason why embedded companies ship antigue
kernels: because they [we] have a much stiffer concept of "stable"
than the Linux community does. We typically freeze components (meaning
accepting only critical defect fixes) many months before product ship,
because they need several layers of field testing before shipping. We
then try to maximize ROI for that frozen version by reusing it (and
the things we build on it) in successor products. We do that for

Yes, it's extremely painful when we decide to upmerge to a later
release. So, we wait until the later version is an unavoidable choice,
in the meantime downmerging specific patches that we want.

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