Linux and Vista user share same driver pain RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Just come across an interesting little blog on InfoWorld:


    I think the two paragraphs:

    "In January, the Linux kernel developers offered hardware manufacturers a straightforward proposition: Free driver development. All a vendor has to do is supply specifications to its products, and the community will do the work.

    Of course, this is what has been going on in the Linux world all along, with or without the support of the vendors. Under this new program, however, the kernel maintainers are explicitly reaching out to manufacturers to encourage them to use the community as a resource. "

    give a good idea of the Open Source approach to developmenting s/w for hardware.

    If you follow Free driver development link you see another site that says:

    Yes, that's right, the Linux kernel community is offering all companies free Linux driver development. No longer do you have to suffer through all of the different examples in the Linux Device Driver Kit, or pick through the thousands of example drivers in the Linux kernel source tree trying to determine which one is the closest to what you need to do.

    All that is needed is some kind of specification that describes how your device works, or the email address of an engineer that is willing to answer questions every once in a while. A few sample devices might be good to have so that debugging doesn't have to be done by email, but if necessary, that can be done.

    In return, you will receive a complete and working Linux driver that is added to the main Linux kernel source tree. The driver will be written by some of the members of the Linux kernel developer community (over 1500 strong and growing). This driver will then be automatically included in all Linux distributions, including the "enterprise" ones. It will be automatically kept up to date and working through all Linux kernel API changes. This driver will work with all of the different CPU types supported by Linux, the largest number of CPU types supported by any operating system ever before in the history of computing.

    As for support, the driver will be supported through email by the original developers, when they can help out, and by the "enterprise" Linux distributors as part of their service agreements with their customers.

    If your company is worried about NDA issues surrounding your device's specifications, we have arranged a program with OSDL/TLF's Tech Board to provide the legal framework where a company can interact with a member of the kernel community in order to properly assure that all needed NDA requirements are fulfilled.

    Now your developers will have more time to work on drivers for all of the other operating systems out there, and you can add "supported on Linux" to your product's marketing material.

    This offer is in effect for all different types of devices, from USB toys to PCI video devices to high-speed networking cards. If you manufacture it, we can get Linux drivers working for it.

    For any questions about this program, please feel free to respond to this email, or contact me directly at greg@kroah.com. I will also be available at FreedomHEC 2007 held adjacent to WinHEC, if anyone wants to bring devices and work face-to-face.

    I posted this as an example of how the Open Source community is generally a beneficial and benign one - a lot of people still think of driver development under Linux to be one of primarially reverse engineering Windows drivers and the hardware in question (which has, and still, sometimes happens - but a lot less now thanks to NDAs (Non-Disclosure Arrangements to protect intellectual property). It would be great in manufacturers worked as closely with Open Source environments as they do with MS - because they'd generally find the Open Source community can be as helpful, friendly and informative as MS can. I personally think think that it's time to end the little 'MicroSerfs' (i.e. for MS OS only developers) of the world! Just my little view.

    • Edited by bigamee Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:09 PM Missed a paragraph out
    Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:05 PM