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Date:      Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:00:55 -0600
From:      Chad Perrin <>
Subject:   Re: 2020: Will BSD and Linux be relevant anymore?
Message-ID:  <20110721170055.GD69370@guilt.hydra>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <> <20110721141534.GC59455@guilt.hydra> <>

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On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 03:44:30PM +0100, Bruce Cran wrote:
> On 21/07/2011 15:15, Chad Perrin wrote:
> >It may not be anything so exotic. On a per-release basis, the MS=20
> >Windows ABIs and APIs change far more dramatically than the Linux=20
> >kernel, and are far less transparent to developers; they must in many=20
> >cases be discovered by experimentation, being closed source software.=20
> >Over a given period of time, the changes to Linux may be greater in=20
> >number and magnitude (I'm not a kernel hacker, so I wouldn't know for=20
> >sure), but they're spread out over time rather than bundled in a major=
> >collection of changes with a new marketing campaign. This might make=20
> >it much more difficult to target the MS Windows ABIs and APIs. I'm=20
> >just speculating, though. As I said, I'm not a kernel hacker.=20
> On Windows, the APIs don't change that much (there are new functions for=
> NUMA support in Windows 7 for example), but certain ABIs change with=20
> each service pack. However, since a lot of drivers built for Windows XP=
> can still install on Windows 7, an effort appears to be made to maintain=
> a stable public ABI - Microsoft recommends using the build environment=20
> for the earliest version of Windows that you want to target.  On Linux,=
> the API/ABI issue is far worse, since you have a different ABI between=20
> different builds of the same kernel.

I suspect those drivers are the drivers that have *survived*.  I saw
hardware suddenly stop working because of driver issues just between SP1
and SP2 of XP -- including, in one case, the hard drive that had the OS
on it.  The system would start booting, then unload the driver because it
was not "compatible", thus losing contact with the very hard drive from
which it was loading the OS.

Maybe I was just lucky, though.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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