Downwards compatibility during long time development

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Linux

Larry Osterman’s post explains that there will be no new kernel since it would break downwards compatibility. He mentions an example where Microsoft dropped support for NT 4 audio drivers in Vista and immediately was called by customers who complained about not-anymore working audio software - although the support officially was dropped 1998 anyway.

First of all this example shows pretty well why it makes sense to use Free Software for your core applications: in the worst case (the vendor goes out of business) you can still pay someone else to make changes you really need. In this case the call center could just pay a developer to alter the audio core of the application to use the new ones.

Nevertheless the question remains if something similar could happen with Linux.

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