linux kernel bug count increasing, apparently

I just read an article pointed to from OSNews regarding Andrew Morton's gut feel about the linux kernel bug count.

I'll happily admit to not being too keen on linux. That's because my employer pays me to work on Solaris and I see vast differences between the philosophies of the two OSes, and Solaris is more my personal style.

shrug

But look, I don't care whether you run or develop for Solaris or Linux or any of the BSDs or MacOSX or even MS-Windows. What I care about is quality. If you're writing code for an OS, for cryin' out loud make that code as bugfree as possible! Do your users, your customers and your bosses a favour by building in quality from the get-go. That means taking care when you design your product, documenting as you go, making sure that you don't just arbitrarily change the way that widget X works but that if you do make changes you do so for a justifiable reason.

What I want to see in linux is the sort of stability that I see in Solaris. And since I write drivers, that means I want to see stable in-kernel interfaces. I find it incredibly frustrating to read comments in the linux communities that boil down to "no, \*nobody\* needs a stable in-kernel interface in linux, all you need to worry about is kernel->userspace." My business is inside the kernel. If you want me to support linux, then do yourself a favour and make it easier for me to justify doing so.

The Solaris Writing Device Drivers guide (which is the basis for the SunEd course as well) has been used by thousands of developers all over the world for many, many years. It's one of the reasons --- apart from the Binary Compatibility guarantee --- (in my completely unhumble opinion) for the success of Solaris. ISVs and IHVs know that they can depend upon the DDI/DKI interfaces being stable. That means that their development and support costs are lower because they don't need to keep re-certifying their widget for a new release of the kernel, whether that release is from a new version of Solaris (eg 2.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, ....) or from a kernel patch.

What I see in linux is that the kernel is growing organically. Organic growth is generally a good thing to have. However, what I would like to see is the linux kernel having some semblance of design in its interfaces, so that the need to go and change those interfaces is minimised. That makes it easier for ISVs and IHVs to justify supporting linux, and easier to justify supporting OSes other than MS-Windows and MacOSX. It's win-win for everybody.

Finally, I find Greg Kroah's comments


...remember we are talking about GPL released drivers here, if your code doesn't fall under this category, good luck, you are on your own here, you leech

to be quite inflammatory and unnecessary. Not every company on the planet likes GPLv2, and when one is fighting a battle to provide support for non-MS/non-Mac OSen in the first place such comments do not make it easy to win the battle with management.

Comments:

I honestly hope that Linus & Co. stay true to their word and NEVER make Linux stable or forward/backward compatible like Solaris is. Why? Because that will be just one more weapon Solaris will have going for it, and one more crappy thing about Linux. Linux has no place in the computing industry, it has been made completely and totally obsolete by Solaris in all respects.

Posted by ux-admin on May 07, 2006 at 05:06 PM EST #

I would not agree with ux-admin, linux does have its place. Mainly to kick the real unix guys into doing something.

I think the setup that opensolaris is going to is probabily the better one. Lots of good engineers at sun working on making it good, then the community adding whats cool.

from looking at linux you can see what the community is good at, that cool, but not sticking it out through the bad and ugly.

Posted by kangcool on May 08, 2006 at 01:18 AM EST #

> Finally, I find Greg Kroah's comments quite inflammatory and unnecessary.

We wouldn't expect anything else from you, of course (after all, this is blogs.\*sun\*.com). There are good \*technical\* reasons for Linux driver policy being the way it is, it's just that Sun and yourself don't agree with those reasons.

As for inflammatory - well, from your point of view binary only drivers may be OK. From the point of view of the person interested in free software, they may not be. In fact, attaching one's self with binary only drivers to a GPL-ed piece of software may be considered inflammatory instead.

Posted by Jimbo on May 08, 2006 at 06:35 AM EST #

> Linux has no place in the computing industry, it has been made completely and totally obsolete by Solaris in all respects.

Yeah. If you repeat the above enough times it may even become true :-).

Instead of nonsense like this, maybe Solaris can have useful things like - gee, I don't know - a decent packaging/patching system?

Posted by Jimbo on May 08, 2006 at 06:47 AM EST #

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I work at Oracle in the Solaris group. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

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