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September 22, 1998

LINUX COMMUNITY SKEPTICAL OVER UNIX DRIVER INTERFACE

By CBR Staff Writer

Add the Linux developer community to the list of players who are skeptical about the Uniform Driver Interface project (CI No 3,477). Judging from comments made on the Linux kernel mailing list, free software developers are not enthusing about the project which, led by Adaptec, HP and Intel, seeks to create a common interface for device drivers across different operating systems. That’s quite a problem for UDI’s backers. Various pro- UDI factions have indicated that they want Linux developers to undertake the daunting task of writing UDI-compliant drivers for existing hardware. The Linux community wonders exactly what’s in it for them. UDI’s critics point out that judging by the spec, UDI drivers won’t perform as well as native drivers, so it’s still in developers’ best interests to develop the drivers for Linux alone. Meanwhile, SCO’s apparently generous offer to write the reference implementation of UDI for Linux has been greeted with a range of reactions from suspicion to outright mirth. Can SCO possibly write software clean enough to be included in Linux’s elegant kernel? That, as one contributor pointed out, is the $64,000 question.

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