[gta02-core] OT: binary drivers

Dave Ball openmoko at underhand.org
Sat Aug 29 14:58:43 CEST 2009

Christopher Friedt wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 11:20 PM, Dave Ball <openmoko at underhand.org 
> <mailto:openmoko at underhand.org>> wrote:
>     Ack. Binary is evil
> I agree - binary drivers are a evil (but still better than nothing for 
> the average end-user who never sees a line of source code).
> Binary drivers are a hinderence to the rest of the system. If one 
> wants to utilize the functionality provided by a given driver, one is 
> often pinned to an already outdated ABI, kernel, etc, halting updates 
> from the continuously evolving open-source codebase.

In an embeded system such as ours, and a community project such as ours, 
it seems to me that the problems with binary drivers are particularly 

We'll need to make changes to our kernel to support the new board, and 
debug kernel problems we come across.  Dealing with a binary module or a 
fixed ABI version would (imho) make things unnecessarily painful.

There might be the possibility of one or two individuals getting NDA'd 
access to docs and/or an existing binary driver, and can tweak or 
up-level it for us - although not having a big corporation and pockets 
full of cash makes this tricky too.

At the end of the day, some people do decide to use binary drivers - but 
my opinion is that is counter to the 'open' aims of our project, and 
we've got better things to focus on.  To me, a binary driver would be 
the same as no driver - we couldn't support it, and trying to support 
any future HW through a binary driver is likely to be a distraction from 
the rest of the system.

Still, we've got a long way to go with our current HW before considering 
new devices, so no need to rule out any chips yet :-)


More information about the gta02-core mailing list