2020: Will BSD and Linux be relevant anymore?

Bruce Cran bruce at cran.org.uk
Thu Jul 21 14:44:33 UTC 2011

On 21/07/2011 15:15, Chad Perrin wrote:
> It may not be anything so exotic. On a per-release basis, the MS 
> Windows ABIs and APIs change far more dramatically than the Linux 
> kernel, and are far less transparent to developers; they must in many 
> cases be discovered by experimentation, being closed source software. 
> Over a given period of time, the changes to Linux may be greater in 
> number and magnitude (I'm not a kernel hacker, so I wouldn't know for 
> 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 
> it much more difficult to target the MS Windows ABIs and APIs. I'm 
> just speculating, though. As I said, I'm not a kernel hacker. 

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 
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 
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 
different builds of the same kernel.

Bruce Cran

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