February 19, 2019

Can't Linux and Android Just Get Along? - page 2

Geekfights and Kernels

  • August 11, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

The idea of providing non-mainline Linux kernel features in a Linux distribution is not an idea that is unique to Google. Garrett noted that Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) itself doesn't ship a mainline Linux kernel. Instead, the Red Hat Linux kernel has multiple Red Hat patches, not all of which are in the main Linux kernel.

"In the real world, if you're shipping large volumes, then mainline will never satisfy you and you'll always need patches," Garrett said. "I would prefer the world is not that way. But it is."

Google kernel developer Ted Ts'o echoed those comments while addressing the Android kernel issue during a separate roundtable discussion with kernel developers.

"One of the things that is important for people to remember is that I can't think of any shipping Linux distro that doesn't have some out-of-tree packages," Ts'o said. "There has been a certain amount of misunderstanding about how open source works."

Ts'o added that open source has always allowed for distributions to include non-mainline bits, and in his view, the WakeLocks code falls into that category.

"The problem is that Android has been successful, and that has inspired many hardware vendors to write device drivers for Android," Ts'o said. "WakeLock calls in device drivers become problematic when people want to submit code upstream."

Ts'o noted that as a result, chip vendors like Qualcomm and Texas Instruments now have to maintain versions of Linux with and without WakeLock calls, which can be a challenge.

"At the high level, that's the main cause of concern," Ts'o said. "It's at the level of hardware vendors that have to deal with this issue."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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