Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3110 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Re: wifi
  • From: "John E. Perry" <j.e.perry@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2009 11:54:02 -0500
  • Message-id: <495CF52A.4080803@xxxxxxx>
JosipBroz wrote:

I'd like to add my 2 € cents to the above. In my view, the issue is a bit
complicated than that. Hardware is rarely made so it would "just work"; on
contrary, it usually works with specific OSes only;

This is simply not so; in general, it's impossible. More below.

more frequently than not,
the fact is visibly and clearly indicated before you buy (logos such as Vista-
approved, Windows-compatible etc.) The HW vendors have no actual "obligation"
to provide drivers for BeOS, FreeBSD, OS/2, CP/M or any other OS, as long as
they SPECIFY what OS their hardware is intended for.

Here you're less wrong, but only in the sense that they have no
"obligation" even to specify an OS; they do it to make sure that people
who have sense enough to read the box will know that at least those
drivers exist. And they provide drivers to the most popular OS's for
marketing purposes only.

Your comments would make better sense if you were talking about PCI vs.
USB vs. SCSI, etc. Any piece of hardware has a physical interface which
just a set of voltages, currents, and bit-pattern sequences.

All OS drivers have 1) a physical interface consisting of addresses and
these bit-pattern sequences and 2) OS-specific procedures and addresses.
If you know the hardware sequences, you have everything you need to
control the hardware completely under _any_ OS.

If a vendor specifies these bit-pattern sequences completely and
publicly, _any_ OS may have complete control of these devices. Where we
run into difficulty is that many vendors hide this information from the
outside world and write their own drivers. So, under linux, we have:

1) the ATI (now AMD) situation that much of their capability cannot be
used until the Linux pros finally succeed in guessing what the sequences
are to get to the advanced features;

2) the nvidia situation that the manufacturer actively supports linux by
writing their own complete drivers, but keeps them closed to the public;

3) the Intel situation that the manufacturer both publishes complete
access requirements to their hardware, and writes comprehensive drivers
for linux.

But _none_ of this has anything to do with "building hardware that only
runs under a particular OS."

In my view, however, there IS one thing we GNU/Linux users can do. ...

I heartily endorse all the rest of your comments :-). I'm presently
buying where possible only Intel hardware, since they are, as far as I
know, the only manufacturer who provides open-source drivers, or at
least open access information.

A distant second for video might be nvidia, since they at least provide
comprehensive linux support. But, since they don't provide anything I
need beyond Intel (I'm not a gamer or advanced CAD person), I can do
without the extra performance of nvidia or ATI.

John Perry
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