Originally Posted by pe1chl
On the other hand, open source developers (Linux, XF86/Xorg) find it rewarding to break the entire driver interface at each and every patchlevel. The more proprietary drivers fail for a new release, the better. They think. This means the compatability problem is much more pronounced, and also costs the closed driver developer more time.
They probably think they can force manufacturers to give up and release the source to be done with it, but in cases where this does not happen they only hit the users (of Linux) with it. Contrary to developer's belief, there actually *are* people who use Linux, and are not kernel or X developers.
The general consensus agreeing not to enforce API/ABI compatibility between release (though many project do offer this to some extent) is actually a well thought choice, and by no means an attack directed towards closed source software. Compatibility requires a lot of work, and does not fit really well in an open source world, neither is it much wanted (still in this same FOSS world). So when the question "shall we ensure compatibility, requiring more work and a much smaller latitude for the code to constantly evolve ?" has virtually been asked, the answer was obviously no, because this is only needed by closed source software.