What about the Linux compatible hardware market ?
Posted Dec 7, 2005 7:27 UTC (Wed) by zblaxell
In reply to: What about the Linux compatible hardware market ?
Parent article: Linux in a binary world... a doomsday scenario
A few very large purchasers are interested in buying hardware that is *certified* to be cost effective, durable, and reliable. If you have sufficiently deep pockets, you can certify any old crap as long as it has a hope in hell of working--if you were wrong, you have to pay for some warranty replacements or patches for the really severe problems, but otherwise your risk is negligible.
The trouble with certifications is that they are primarily a legal construct, so they come with lawyers who want to approve all changes to everything. Try doing that when the code changes every two minutes, by people against whom you have no recourse, in ways that you don't really control. This is why some people like binary-only drivers: they ultimately minimize all possibility of change other than what is convenient for the vendor, and they consider this to be a *good* thing.
It must be a major pain in the butt to make hardware for Linux people. We want to run our own software on it (even if the vendor writes the original version of that software). We want to optimize the hell out of it. We want to drive hardware X using the device driver architecture of hardware Y. We want to mix and match strategies from a variety of different products so that the best software is talking to whatever hardware we have. We want to have features in our device drivers that nobody else has heard of, and sometimes that nobody else understands. We want to use network cards as serial ports, video cards as communications devices, and hard disks as game controls. We want continuous support for hardware long after it has been purchased. We expect all of this to be included in the cost of the hardware. It would probably be easier for the vendors if they understood that we're also willing to do all of that work ourselves, and we're not waiting to launch a patent lawsuit against them.
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