Re: Binary Drivers

From: Martin Knoblauch
Date: Tue Dec 26 2006 - 09:05:20 EST

--- James C Georgas <jgeorgas@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> On Tue, 2006-26-12 at 03:20 -0800, Martin Knoblauch wrote:
> > On 12/25/06, David Schwartz <davids@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > > If I bought the car from the manufacturer, it also must
> > > include any rights the manufacturer might have to the car's use.
> > > That includes using the car to violate emission control measures.
> > > If I didn't buy the right to use the car that way (insofar as
> > > that right was owned by the car manufacturer), I didn't
> > > buy the whole care -- just *some* of the rights to use it.
> >
> > just to be dense - what makes you think that the car manufacturer
> has
> > any legal right to violate emission control measures? What an utter
> > nonsense (sorry).
> >
> > So, lets stop the stupid car comparisons. They are no being funny
> any
> > more.
> Let's summarize the current situation:
> 1) Hardware vendors don't have to tell us how to program their
> products, as long as they provide some way to use it
> (i.e. binary blob driver).

Correct, as far as I can tell.

> 2) Hardware vendors don't want to tell us how to program their
> products, because they think this information is their secret
> sauce (or maybe their competitor's secret sauce).

- or they are ashamed to show the world what kind of crap they sell
- or they have lost (never had) the documentation themselves. I tend
to no believe this

> 3) Hardware vendors don't tell us how to program their products,
> because they know about (1) and they believe (2).

- or they are just ignorant

> 4) We need products with datasheets because of our development model.

- correct

> 5) We want products with capabilities that these vendors advertise.

we want open-spec products that meet the performance of the high-end
closed-spec products

> 6) Products that satisfy both (4) and (5) are often scarce or
> non-existent.


> So far, the suggestions I've seen to resolve the above conflict fall
> into three categories:
> a) Force vendors to provide datasheets.
> b) Entice vendors to provide datasheets.
> c) Reverse engineer the hardware and write our own datasheets.
> Solution (a) involves denial of point (1), mostly through the use of
> analogy and allegory. Alternatively, one can try to change the law
> through government channels.

good luck

> Solution (b) requires market pressure, charity, or visionary
> management.
> We can't exert enough market pressure currently to make much
> difference.
> Charity sometimes gives us datasheets for old hardware. Visionary
> management is the future.

- Old hardware is not interesting in most markets
- Visionary mamangement is rare

> Solution (c) is what we do now, with varying degrees of success. A
> good example is the R300 support in the radeon DRM module.

But the R300 does not meet 5)


Martin Knoblauch
email: k n o b i AT knobisoft DOT de
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