Dell's Linux Survey

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Wed Mar 21 23:54:38 UTC 2007

nodata wrote:
> Am Mittwoch, den 21.03.2007, 13:25 -0400 schrieb Matthew Flaschen:
>> nodata wrote:
>>> Am Dienstag, den 20.03.2007, 19:28 -0400 schrieb Matthew Flaschen:
>>>> nodata wrote:
>>>>> Am Dienstag, den 20.03.2007, 13:45 -0500 schrieb Dick Dowdell:
>>>>>> FYI - Industry pundit on the topic:
>>>>> It's a shame the survey was structured how it was.
>>>>> Warren Togami has it right - focus on upstream. See his blog:
>>>> Realistically, if they rigorously tested against any major distribution,
>>>> the rest would also work in most cases.
>>>> Matthew Flaschen
>>> Whereas if they tested against upstream, it would work in all
>>> distributions, unless the distro broke something.
>> But every distro breaks/changes/customizes something upstream.
> We are talking about kernels here.

Not only kernel. Also Xorg, which I think is customized even more.

> Distros tend to cherry pick patches from newer kernels, and backport
> security patches to their stable kernels.

Right, and obviously a driver can work with a certain kernel, and not
others.  So even if the hardware works with a certain vanilla kernel
version, there's no guarantee that distro kernels (even based of that
vanilla kernel version) will work.

> In Dell's case, they want their hardware working and to stay working, so
> however you look at it, they need it to work upstream.

Yes, it should work with upstream kernel and Xorg.  However, working
with upstream will not guarantee it works with a given distro's
customizations.  Distros do break things, sometimes deliberately and
sometimes accidentally (to make other changes).  They're not going to
stop just because Dell complains.

>> That's
>> part of why people choose the distro they do.  Moreover, testing against
>> upstream is more work for Dell then testing against a single distro.
> It should be less work, because they don't have to keep checking that
> their non-upstreamed changes still work.
> Why do you say it would be more work?

Because Dell still would have to package (repeatedly, as upstream
changes) the upstream code before testing it.  That's a lot of work, and
it's the same work distributions already do.

Matthew Flaschen

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