Don Marti

Mon 15 May 2006 10:33:15 PM PDT

Wes Felter on driver lag

Wes Felter has some comments on the Linux driver process.

"I think release schedules and middlemen are a big problem for Linux drivers. A device vendor ends up with two middlemen between them and their customers. First the vendor submits a driver to linux-kernel, where it takes a month (best case) to get into an official kernel release. Then you wait 3-6 months for the next distro release that incorporates that kernel release. By the time the driver gets to the customers, the device is half obsolete. Worse, the only way to get the new driver is to upgrade the entire OS."

That's something to bring up at FreedomHEC, along with this discussion between Ben Williams and Greg K-H.

Best case for the Linux driver process is (1) plug in device (2) it works because your kernel already came with the driver (3) do your thing with your device and be happy. And given some advance planning, even the worst case, getting an updated kernel with backported drivers, shouldn't be too bad either.

Making users dork around with driver discs or "click here to agree with legal mumbo-jumbo and install driver" isn't the answer. That only gets you to "as easy as" proprietary OS products, and the freedom-loving side has to take advantage of every available opportunity to exceed the legacy OSs in usability.