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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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