[os_drivers] Yet Another Generic Kernel API

Tom Hanrahan hanrahat at osdl.org
Tue Jul 12 11:42:05 PDT 2005

I've been approached with yet another proposal for a kernel interface
for device driver writers, but this one has enough of a twist that I
wanted to ask for comments.

1) It would be GPL'd and therefore NOT support binary drivers
2) It would not require changes to the current kernel. 
3) The interface would not be a standard, just an option for driver
writers to use
4) This would be a new interface not a rehash of DDI
5) Engineers from interested companies would be available to work on it

I know this is out of process, but I'm concerned that the current
process doesn't scale, namely that the community will always update open
source drivers when an internal kernel changes break them.  As more and
more drivers are open-sourced, this becomes a larger and larger effort.

I believe there are several valid reasons the current process.  The
first is to discourage binary drivers, and this proposal seems to be
consistent with that goal.

The second is to not lock in kernel developers to an interface that must
be maintained against changes. This proposal does not seem to support
this goal, but is it something to consider in light of the potential
scalability (in terms of work effort) issues?

The third is the failure of past DDIs.  Were those failures due largely
because of their support for binary drivers or because they are
inherently unworkable?

I'd appreciate hearing reactions to the proposal.

Tom Hanrahan <hanrahat at osdl.org>

More information about the os_drivers mailing list