Linux kernel annoyance (geekfilter)

My old server, which is actually a Gateway desktop machine from 1997, has an old SCSI card in it. It’s an Advansys. The Linux driver for this card hasn’t been updated in forever. There are apparently problems with the driver, although I have had none.

Therefore when I configure my kernel build, I have to check a box marked “Use broken things” or I can’t check the box for my SCSI driver.

Lately, the “use broken things” box has disappeared. On investigation I find out that the kernel tree ships with that configuration unavailable. I have to edit init/KConfig and add in a description for the “broken things” option, and then the box becomes available.

I understand that I should probably just get a new SCSI card, or actually a newer computer, but this is annoying. Do the kernel maintainers not trust the people building the kernel to know when to check the “Broken” box? If I’m building a kernel then I can always fuck myself by leaving out my filesystem or my network card, it’s not like I can’t destroy everything anyway.


9 thoughts on “Linux kernel annoyance (geekfilter)

  1. I am vastly amused by the fact that the Linux kernel is broken because it doesn’t know how to “use broken things” anymore. Isn’t that, like, the whole raison-d’fucking-être of the Linux kernel?


      1. Why wait?
        Maybe you should add it to the tags on this entry.
        I like that you mention leaving out the filesystem or the network card. Haven’t we all done that before? My best memory was remotely upgrading the kernel on a box and leaving out network support. Keeping the old kernel as a fallback doesn’t really help in that case because the machine comes up just fine. Good thing it was only about a ten-minute drive.


  2. Let’s start the religious war!
    Hosing myself building a kernel is probably why I ditched linux some years ago and switched to FreeBSD. I’d like to think I’m fairly clueful in these matters, but building afscking linux kernel just isn’t a “substantial chance of winning” situation for me for some reason.


    1. Re: Let’s start the religious war!
      I’d like to learn more of the BSD’s. My previous FreeBSD and OpenBSD experience was on laptops out of necessity, adding an extra layer of frustration to the “curve”. So far I like the BSD bits in OS X though.
      I’m good at building Linux kernels but it’s an annoying moving target; everything keeps changing.
      I love my OpenBSD t-shirts. 🙂


    2. Re: Let’s start the religious war!
      Seriously. FreeBSD’s got its issues, but every time my linux using friends tell me my OS sucks, I remind them that they and basically all *their* linux using friends have built broken linux kernels for boxes I help admin. Not “crap there’s a bug in the driver” but “oops, I {forgot|chose the wrong one} for that driver”. I don’t think I’ve done that in FreeBSD in the last five years.


  3. This is not helpful to you at all, but: From my (limited) experience on lkml, I’d expect it was the kernel maintainers not trusting the maintainers of the “broken things” parts rather than the users.
    What’s the driver name, and what kernel are you poking at? Weird but not uncommon hardware is one of the things I’ve had luck with vendor kernels instead of Linus kernels on.


    1. advansys.c, the advansys scsi driver
      the driver itself works fine for me. it just can’t be included in the build unless you set CONFIG_BROKEN, and you can’t set that without manually editing init/Kconfig
      i thought the point of a menu with a “use broken things” option was that you could, you know, USE the MENU instead of the cumbersome manual method.


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