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    SubjectRe: Announce: ndiswrapper

    Matt Mackall wrote:

    >On Thu, Nov 20, 2003 at 03:16:46PM +1100, Nick Piggin wrote:
    >>William Lee Irwin III wrote:
    >>>Jean Tourrilhes wrote:
    >>>>> Even better :
    >>>>> 1) go to the Wireless LAN Howto
    >>>>> 2) find a card are supported under Linux that suit your needs
    >>>>> 3) buy this card
    >>>>> I don't see the point of giving our money to vendors that
    >>>>>don't care about us when there are vendors making a real effort toward
    >>>On Wed, Nov 19, 2003 at 10:26:59PM -0500, Jeff Garzik wrote:
    >>>>Unfortunately that leaves users without support for any recent wireless
    >>>>hardware. It gets more and more difficult to even find Linux-supported
    >>>>wireless at Fry's and other retail locations...
    >>>And what good would it be to have an entire driver subsystem populated
    >>>by binary-only drivers? That's not part of Linux, that's "welcome to
    >>>nvidia hell" for that subsystem too, and not just graphics cards.
    >>>I say we should go the precise opposite direction and take a hard line
    >>>stance against binary drivers, lest we find there are none left we even
    >>>have source to and are bombarded with unfixable bugreports.
    >>>No, it's not my call to make, but basically, I don't see many benefits
    >>>left. The additional drivers we got out of this were highly version-
    >>>dependent, extremely fragile, and have been generating massive numbers
    >>>of bugreports nonstop on a daily basis since their inception.
    >>>We'd lose a few things, like vmware, but it's not worth the threat of
    >>>vendors migrating en masse to NDIS/etc. emulation layers and dropping
    >>>all spec publication and source drivers, leaving us entirely at the
    >>>mercy of BBB's (Buggy Binary Blobs) to do any io whatsoever.
    >>>Seriously, the binary-only business has been doing us a disservice, and
    >>>is threatening to do worse.
    >>You have to admit its good for end users though. And indirectly, what
    >>is good for them is good for us.
    >No. It is bad for the end users - they get sold a bill of goods. And
    >it is bad for developers. And it is bad for developers as users. And
    >it's hopelessly short-sighted as pragmatism often is.
    >Look, there's basically one thing that has ever historically enabled
    >developers to get specs for writing decent Linux drivers, and that's
    >demand from Linux users. If companies are presented with alternatives
    >that pointy haired folks prefer like binary-only drivers or running
    >their one and only Windows driver on an emulation layer, which are
    >they going to choose and where are they going to tell users to stick
    >their penguin? We'll be in worse shape than we were when no one had
    >ever heard of Linux.
    >Scenario to think about: an NDIS driver layer ends up getting firmed
    >up and debugged and when the next generation of wireless appears,
    >basically all vendors go the easy route and only ship NDIS drivers, no
    >specs, and buggy as usual. Then they say hey, this worked out well,
    >might as well do this with gigabit. Meanwhile, hardware's changing so
    >quickly that by the time we manage to reverse-engineer any of this
    >stuff (provided the legal climate allows it), it's already off the
    >shelves. Two to three years from now, it's impossible to build a
    >decent server or laptop that doesn't have bug-ridden, untested, low
    >performance network drivers and all the reputation Linux has for being
    >a good network OS goes down the tubes. It's safe to assume that
    >latency and stability will go all to hell as well.
    >An open operating system without open drivers is pointless and if we
    >don't do something about all this binary crap soon, the above scenario
    >-will- play out. Expect SCSI and perhaps sound to follow soon
    >afterwards. And graphics cards and modems are obviously half-way there
    >Personally, I think it's time to do some sort of trademark enforcement
    >or something so that companies can't get away with slapping penguins
    >on devices that only work with 2.2.14 Red Hat kernels.

    Note I 100% disagree with any sort of emulation layer in the kernel.

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