Re: [ANNOUNCE] Linux Hardened Device Drivers Project

From: Mark Veltzer (
Date: Fri Sep 20 2002 - 23:09:13 EST

Hash: SHA1

> This project is open to anyone who wants to participate and is
> being paid for by Intel and a host of other companies. The
> idea is to enable Linux to play in the Carrier space with all
> the work given away under the GPL.

Enable Linux to play in the Carrier space. That IS interesting. This is, I
expect, as opposed to all the other operating systems which run on Intel
platforms which are already robust and already play in the "Carrier space" ?
The patronization of commercial companies never ceases to amaze me...

Let me reverse this: Intel wants to play in the Carrier space and needs Linux
to do it... Ok. Now we've got it right. I think this is what other posters
thought of as "taking". Intel has everything to gain here since it was never
a player in the "Carrier space".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying NO to free code but if we really have to
come face to face with the truth then it's quite obvious from history that
commercial companies aren't that hot when it comes to coding (it's my general
experience that code that comes out of commercial companies needs to be more
heavily reviewed bacause marketing/featurism and deadlines produce bad

Regarding marketing slogans. Even a bad mouse driver can screw up your
system. This means that you just have to write good driver code. I certainly
wouldn't want all of this commercial bla bla to turn into a big fat API where
old and new semantics are mixed and are not clear like in the "other" carrier
grade operating system which is well known and runs on Intel. APIs have to be
as lean as possible with robust semantics. This should not change and this is
actually the chief strength of Linux (because all driver code is available
the API is quite mature and robust). All that is left to do is improve driver
code. So why don't you call the project "Driver improvement project" or
something like that and drop the commercial bla bla. Under this title the
project has probably been going on (under some form or another) since 1991.

> What paying professional developers to work on an Open Source project
> and giving their work away under the terms of the GPL isn't enough?

You mean when Intel finally gets a real operating system to run on it's
machines for PRACTICALLY NOTHING ?!? I think Intel is getting a real sweet
deal here. I would love to be a chip maker and get a full operating system
(with thousands of applications and a full desktops) for the price of a few
developers. Also the big commercial noise that such a project would generate
would probably win a few fat accounts away from SUN eh ?!?

BTW: would you be paying developers to work on other architecture drivers too
? ! ? That would be interesting but I guess the answer is no... This is a
major problem since the arsenal of tools at the disposal of a driver coder in
Linux is quite generic (with regard to platform). When you aim to produce a
driver just for i386 you tend to hardcode x86 details into your driver which
makes for a bad driver since using the platform agnostic Linux arsenal would
probably produce a better driver. You do code for x86 but if you are
developing a mixed set of drivers (for different archs) then you tend to
understand the generic tools semantics better and use them better which in
turn produces better drivers. It may sound strange but when coding in Linux
you're better off being familiar with several archs and working on details of
several archs because you tend to produce better drivers that way (even if
the drivers are arch specific). The generic tools that you mentioned
(regarding more robust error handling etc..) which seem to me like
improvements in API would certainly need to be approved for ALL architectures
which in turn will need a big janitor type project which means that it's out
of this development cycle.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Sep 23 2002 - 22:00:32 EST