Status report, October 16, 2007

David Hollis dhollis at
Thu Oct 18 13:39:29 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-10-18 at 00:24 +0200, Tomasz Chmielewski wrote:
> Later, I've read some article about the Linux Driver Project and it
> made 
> me wonder: why there are so many free drivers, often with specs and 
> proper documentation, but outside of the mainline kernel. And hence
> my 
> post to this list :)

There are typically varying reasons for this but the most common are:

1) Never even tried to submit for mainline inclusion

2) Can't deal with constructive, or possibly harsh criticism of the
code.  Different subsystems have their different standards for code
quality and legibility, and some folks just won't abide by them in any

3) Thoughts of losing control and not being able to be nimble enough to
get new modifications out to people.

4) "Only 2 people in the whole world use this device, so mainline
doesn't care about having the driver" which is a bunch of crap.  Even if
only 2 people use it, the driver itself may be a useful example for a
similar device, or might be able to be rolled into a more generic driver
or something.  Additionally, you get the tweaks to kernel interface
changes and such largely for free and don't have to be in the
distribution game.

In my own experience, if you believe in writing high quality code and
really doing things in the best way possible, you can get your code into
mainline, really without that much effort.  If your coding style is to
just slap code at it and make it work "on your box" and damn legibility,
you might have some issues getting your code in mainline.
David Hollis <dhollis at>

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