KS2007: Hardware support and the i386/x86_64 merger
Posted Sep 6, 2007 23:51 UTC (Thu) by ckelso
In reply to: KS2007: Hardware support and the i386/x86_64 merger
Parent article: KS2007: Hardware support and the i386/x86_64 merger
There are two markets for consumers as far as linux is concerned. Embedded devices (DVR, routers, network storage, etc...) and low end walmart PCs. Their is simply no demand outside of that. Consumers have _zero_ influence on vendors, sorry. They just don't care what runs on their systems, they only care that what the OS that came pre-installed works. Anyone that does care about running an after market OS is what you call a hobbyist.
Let's look about how hobbyists fair from a kernel perspective. I have never had an issue with a disk controller on desktop box. probably a total of about 10 different chipsets there. I haven't had sound driver issues since ALSA came about. I have had two systems that had XFree86 issues (not kernel per se, but without X I can't say that the kernel works for me either) and which were never solved by binary drivers anyway. I have had two systems that required third party, out-of-tree but still not binary, drivers for network.
Wireless has been and continues to be the biggest issue. The reason it is an issue isn't because of out-of-kernel or binary drivers. The reason it is an issue is because of software radio tuners. Open source software tuners are banned, you just can't make them. Worse yet, the big upgrade chip providers prefer the software tuners because the bulk of the market is a closed driver shop.
All in all though, the binary module issue is a red herring. The drivers that make up the bulk of the out-of-tree drivers available are simply enterprise. This is exactly where the developers have leverage. Why shouldn't they use it?
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