Device rant

I would like to continue yesterday's rant. What I think that it is amazing that the Linux kernel driver management still looks like a ghost from the 1970s. Would it really be that difficult to define a common ABI for drivers, so that drivers would at least be compatible with a major version of the kernel?

I mean - why do I have to recompile a bunch of modules just because I am bumping the kernel revision from 2.4.18 to 2.4.20? Why is there an arcane command-line interface like "insmod" and "rmmod"? Why, oh why, there is an /etc/modules.conf? Why can't I just drag-n-drop a driver in a certain directory, and have it work automatically? BeOS did this - so did AmigaOS - and the latter was developed in the early 80s...

I know that the current approach in Linux does allow a great degree of flexibility and customization (if you don't need something, then just don't compile it), but as Linux becomes more mainstream, someone's gotta make this thing easier. You can't expect the distro owners to do all the work for you - when a problem arises, someone's gonna call your friendly neighbourhood geek and ask him to make it all right again. But the problem is, you can't really train people in the subtle intricasies of module management, unless they really want to, so the geek is going to have to do it again, and again, and again. Teaching someone to double-click a driver installation package is much, much easier than teaching them to recompile a kernel.

Grr. People do buy new hardware, and even if a manufacturer would like to support Linux, they cannot - even if they wanted to - provide a simple-to-install driver package. Can you imagine what kind of trouble that gives to the tech support? ("Hello, I would like to install your new scanner. But it says that I have to recompile the kernel? What is a kernel? Is it in the vegetable or the frozen goods section at k-mart?) Why would any H/W manufacturer to support Linux... Unless they get their HW supported by Linux kernel. Which means that everyone has to recompile, yet again, when they get their new device.


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"Main_blogentry_250203_2" last changed on 25-Feb-2003 18:28:15 EET by unknown.