Re: {SPAM?} Re: [SLUG] TwinView 3D Problem

From: Derek Glidden (
Date: Mon Feb 16 2004 - 17:03:26 EST

On Feb 16, 2004, at 3:56 PM, Andrew M. Hoerter wrote:

> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004, Tyler Vann-Campbell wrote:
>>> Nah. You're not compiling, just linking.
>> Yeah, it's the kernel interface that changes so often it's easier to
>> make it for each one, but the drivers are still binary only.
> This is a major reason that I "just say no" to Linux kernel modules.
> The
> lack of any well-defined kernel<-->module interface makes them almost
> unuseable unless everything is carefully matched up by your
> distribution
> vendor.


Frankly, I'm surprised to hear that Linux has no well-defined module
interface. We better go tell all the programmers who are writing
kernel modules, not to mention all those linux machines out there
loading and running with kernel modules all the time....

It's only an issue with trying to use _precompiled_ kernel modules.
Because the ABI may change from minor version to minor version. As
Linus (in particular) says, and with which I (and kernel coders) agree
100%: who cares about the people releasing binary-only modules; if they
want to stay current and keep their linux users happy, they can
recompile for each version and every possible compile-time option, or
they can make a source version available. And if they don't, then
linux users are usually happy enough not to use their hardware.

There's no need to maintain backward ABI compatibility if they
determine there is a "better way" of doing things that will only
require you recompile whatever kernel modules you're already using to
match up to the current interface.

nvidia (and others) walk a middle line by writing a "generic" wrapper
that can be recompiled version-to-version that links against a library
of precompiled code for which they don't want to release the source.

> Loadable modules are a solved problem in Solaris and probably most
> other
> commercial Unices since many years ago.

Also in Linux. Except the kernel developers don't maintain old and
busted interfaces merely for the sake of backwards combatibility.

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