Re: ISDN and the feature freeze (was: no driver change for 2.4?)

Linus Torvalds (
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 09:53:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 5 Aug 1999, Paul Slootman wrote:
> As this has gone on for such a long time, at some point there isn't much
> alternative to biting the bullet at some stage, and actually _having_ to
> accept a major patch.

Oh, I agree. That much is obvious. In fact, I've accepted some of them
over time.

The reason I'm bitching is not just because I love biting peoples heads
off in public, it's because I do not want to see the ISDN incompetence
continue. I want people to be aware of the problem, and I want somebody to
stand up and say "I'll do it".

I can accept large patches initially, but I want to do so in the solid
knowledge that it's the last time EVER I have to wait for ISDN code until
the last moment. There's obviously no way we can fix past problems, I just
do not want them to repeat every single release cycle like they have so

> OK. About biting the bullet: I've been slowly getting into the ISDN
> development over the last year. I don't consider myself much of an
> expert on the internals of the ISDN state machine etc, but I think I'm
> competent enough to be able to generate patches that have a chance of
> working. Would you consider me as your sole contact with the ISDN
> developers?

It needs to be more than one person agreeing, but yes, I'd love to have a
contact person. You need to make the other ISDN developers accept you as
more than just the person who forwards patches to Linus. The problem is
that sometimes I do not like a patch, and then there needs to be some kind
of feedback cycle. It doesn't happen all that often when it comes to
drivers (I just don't care enough - I mainly care about the fundamental
interactions in the system rather than specific drivers), but it does

I would certainly =love= to not have to hate ISDN support.

> > and completely avoid any QA in the meantime?
> I have to disagree there. QA is *not* being completely avoided. In fact,
> I think that the majority of people using ISDN in kernels later than
> 2.0.36 are using the CVS code.

It's not getting any peer review, nobody looks at incremental patches, and
nobody really seems to care.

In short, the ISDN code in Linux acts as if it was a traditional code
project where the users might as well just have binaries.

The point of open development is that people see what's going on. You
don't get that if people see just the end result after a year. You want to
have random people just see small updates - because they will often catch
silly mistakes.

Now, with huge mega-patches, people just go numb. They say "oh, an ISDN
update", and skip it.

With the regular "let's release this as it is developed" support, tere
have been web-sites with commented patches, people who read the
incremental stuff and comment on stupid things I and others do. No, it
doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen. ISDN for Linux lacks that
completely, and acts as a closed development environment.


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