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The module is ide-scsi, and its function is/has been to provide a "SCSI like" interface for certain non-SCSI devices and applications. Foremost among them, writable CD-Rom drives and the hugely popular cdrecord. As a result, some on the LKML have worried that a broken ide-scsi module is going to mean that those with ATAPI IDE tape drives, or digital cameras, or USB storage devices won't be able to use them with the new kernel.
In early November, Bill Davidsen responded to a post on the LKML about a problem someone was having with burning a CD. Davidsen said:
There is a problem with ide-scsi in 2.6, and rather than fix it someone came up with a patch to cdrecord to allow that application to work properly, and perhaps "better" in some way. Since the problem with ide-scsi seems to still exist for other applications, you will probably find you have to work around the problem, by using the -pad option of cdrecord (thought that was standard now for TAO at least) or reading using the ide-cd driver.
Torvalds responded to Davidsen's post by writing:
On 6 Nov 2003, bill davidsen wrote:
> There is a problem with ide-scsi in 2.6, and rather than fix it someone
> came up with a patch to cdrecord to allow that application to work
> properly, and perhaps "better" in some way.
The "somebody" strongly felt that ide-scsi was not just ugly but _evil_, and that the syntax and usage of "cdrecord" was absolutely stupid.
That somebody was me.
ide-scsi has always been broken. You should not use it, and indeed there was never any good reason for it existing AT ALL. But because of a broken interface to cdrecord, cdrecord historically only wanted to touch SCSI devices. Ergo, a silly emulation layer that wasn't really worth it.
The fact that nobody has bothered to fix ide-scsi seems to be a result of nobody _wanting_ to really fix it.
So don't use it. Or if you do use it, send the fixes over.
The back-and-forth between Davidsen and Torvalds has continued, and as a result more and more of Torvalds disdain for the ide-scsi and cdrecord interface has bubbled to the surface. Torvalds has said, among other things, that:
There's more, but that's enough to give you a sense of Torvalds' unhappiness with the whole approach of both one particular (though very popular) app and the ide-sci module itself.
Linux is the worst
Joerg Schilling, author of cdrtools (which includes cdrecord) has a completely different view. He doesn't feel the problem is in cdrecord, but in Linux. He wrote:
Sorry, I did have to learn that the Linux kernel developers (and above all their loudest speaker Linus Torvalds) don't have the knowledge to discuss kernel internals :-(More on page 2...
The more I try to explain them how a decent SCSI transport interface should look, the more I fail. I never did check a 2.6 Linux kernel and as SuSE did stop giving away free SuSE distributions to developers more than half a year ago, it is very unlikely that I will install a newer Linux kernel.
Linux is the worst OS I am aware of if you compare SCSI transport implementations. Every even year, a new completely disjunct new kernel interface appears. Non of the new kernel interfaces includes the features that I like to have and documented since 1995. For this reason, it is not possible to develop cdrecord on Linux - I use Solaris where I get the needed features.