Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 18th Apr 2006 17:49 UTC
Linux Efforts to bring glitzy new graphics to Linux are fueling an old conflict: Does proprietary software belong in open-source Linux? The issue involves software modules called drivers, which plug into the kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system. Drivers let software communicate with hardware such as network adapters, hard drives and video cards.
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RE: Fighting a Loosing Battle
by cr8dle2grave on Tue 18th Apr 2006 20:40 UTC in reply to "Fighting a Loosing Battle"
Member since:

While I agree with you as concerns video drivers, I think the situation is quite different as concerns networking hardware. In the late 90's it was still a real question whether or not common server class hardware such as NIC cards, DLT tape drives, or RAID controllers could even be made to work with Linux at all. Today, it's rarely issue. Most high end server class hardware just plain works without any issues because, from a business perspective, it's simply not possible exclude the Linux market if your selling server class hardware; Linux simply commands too much of that market to ignore.

Things stand rather differently with video cards, which are sold into the "desktop" market where Linux has a vastly smaller install base than it does in servers. But even putting aside the issues pertaining to market share, video drivers have a hell of a lot more "secret sauce" loaded into their software drivers than do things like NIC cards.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Guppetto Member since:

Your probably right about the Networking cards, but I know a lot of people wish there were native drivers availible for many network cards, instead off having to use NDiswrapper. Intel seems to be very commited to providing native drivers for all of their cards, but how many other companies have drivers (especially wireless) that are readily availible.

We all know that combining proprietary and Open software is the real solution, so why can't people just except it and move on. I don't need an open NVIDIA driver, as long as they're commited to providing one. I love that the Intel drivers are open and if NVIDIA and intel stop supporting Linux, then I'll just buy an Intel card. Sure, it would be nice if they provided specs about the hardware, but if you had a multimillion dollar design in your home, how willing would you be to tell everyone about it, knowing that some of the people your telling have the know how to build their own, and profit from it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

cr8dle2grave Member since:

Ahhh...yes; wireless cards. I sometimes forget wireless support is so dodgy in Linux (I use an IBM ThinkPad which uses the Intel chipset). I think this falls squarely in the market size issue. There's really nothing special worth protecting in a wireless driver. In fact, for all of the brands of wireless gear out there, almost all of them use chipsets from a small handful of providers. It'll come eventually; until then reward those manufacturers who use Linux friendly components.

Reply Parent Score: 1