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GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 19:45 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
In reply to: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper by mheily
Parent article: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Since ndiswrapper is GPL, it should receive the same treatment as other GPL modules.

Why ? Kernel developers are not obliged to help you run proprietary stuff - be it NDIS driver or NVidia driver.

On the other hand it's probably childish to punish ndiswrapper so: you can not distribute the end result (ndiswrapper plus NDIS windows's driver) anyway and you can easily patch the kernel to make it work so (and it's legal! as long as you keep all chnages private) thus all this thing accomplis is a lot hassle for the people who are already punished...


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GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 20:24 UTC (Wed) by proski (subscriber, #104) [Link]

Kernel developers are not obliged to do anything, but Linux development depends on respect to those developers, and also on implicit assumptions that external modules won't be blacklisted or limited based on somebody's arbitrary preferences.

If driver developers are treated like nuisance, they'll find something better to do.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 21:08 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Like maybe spend their time working on something like the BCM43xx drivers instead which eliminate 90% of the reason for having ndiswrapper drivers in the first place? No joke it's silly to be pissed off about this when they've made allowances for NDIS wrapper in the past. Do you remember the 4k vs 8k kernel stacks and the effect it made on supporting ndiswrapper?

We now have open source drivers aviable for virtually every single wireless device you want. But it depends on distributions for testing and support. The kernel developers can't do it all by themselves..

So they work hard on this support.. The broadcom driver now has decent in-kernel driver. It's not perfect, but it works. This, along with the intel drivers, give you support for the vast majority of 802.11g devices out there.

And as a response to this what do you see happenning? Instead of distribution beta testers troubleshooting these things and sending in bug reports and such so that people can improve on support you get a crapload of howtos on Ubuntu's websites and other distro's websites on how to blacklist the open source drivers and install the ndiswrapper drivers in their place

What sort of BS is that? It's almost like a slap in the face of the people that went through the trouble of reverse engineering the broadcom drivers for driver documentation and a whole 2nd set of people using that documentation for writing decent drivers!

And the same thing with the Ralink drivers. The ralink company released documentation and source code and you have people telling end users that they should blacklist those drivers also and install ndiswrapper!!

To me that is complete bullshit. Distros should work on getting those things working well and ndiswrapper should only be used if nothing else using open source drivers can be made to work in a sane manner.

I know nothing is perfect and that ndiswrapper is legitament way of getting oddball hardware to work.. but maybe, just maybe the Kernel developers are tired of putting up with this crap themselves.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 21:35 UTC (Wed) by proski (subscriber, #104) [Link]

The stack size change had a real motivation other than breaking ndiswrapper.

Clueless web pages are annoying, but they are not written by developers. Users who trust such web pages more than the official documentation should be asked politely to choose a "better" forum for their questions and leave the developers alone.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 21:55 UTC (Wed) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

I look forward to your contribution of a reverse-engineered driver for my old HP S20 PhotoSmart slide scanner.

Even if you are correct about 90% of current ndiswrapper use being for network cards, that leaves the remaining 10% as being for less generic devices. Less generic, and hence less likely to be tackled by your hypothetical driver developers with free time on their hands.

Yeah sure, if HP were to release the specs, and someone were to write a driver, I'd use it. But I'm not holding my breath. Notwithstanding your rant about wireless support, ndiswrapper serves a need. And it does so in a way that doesn't trample on any kernel developer's copyright or on GPLv2 license terms.

You, yourself, say that "ndiswrapper is legitament way of getting oddball hardware to work.. but maybe, just maybe the Kernel developers are tired of putting up with this crap". Maybe so, but preventing legitimate end use because of frustration with distro beta-testing is an strange response. This comes across as political posturing, and a sad case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 6:56 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

"HP S20 PhotoSmart slide scanner"

Since I don't own one and don't care much about it I think that it's you that should be in a much better position to provide a driver for it.

Anyways I have no freaking clue what the hell your scanner has to do with either ndiswrapper or wireless drivers or the fact that distributions are telling people to remove a working open source in-kernel driver and telling them to use a binary blob.

Especially doubly-so that your scanner wouldn't have any sort of kernel driver anyways.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 7:01 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

he's saying that his scanner is able to work with a windows driver and the ndis wrapper. if ndiswrapper isn't available he has no way to use his scanner.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 10:53 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

That's odd.

I didn't know people used ndiswrapper for anything other then wifi stuff. Learn new stuff everyday, I guess.

Like I said before though, I know that ndiswrapper has legitament uses. It's just that the kernel developers can't afford to have people ignoring open source driver development over binary blobs.

However, if they let end users get comfortable with binary blobs then they would end up being forced to support binary only drivers.

Intel 802.11g, Broadcom 802.11g, Ti 802.11g, Ralink 802.11g, Realtech 802.11g, all of these things have open source drivers for Linux, but all the time people are recommended to abandon everything except for the Intel for the ndiswrapper driver.

If kernel developers sit on this then they are essentially saying:
'Hey, your a dipshit if you release your IP (documetation, code, etc) for open source developers to write drivers when end users will just use the windows drivers anyways. Other guys aren't doing it and their stuff runs in Linux just fine, so why should you?'

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 23:38 UTC (Thu) by Hawke (guest, #6978) [Link]

"the fact that distributions are telling people to remove a working open source in-kernel driver"

But they're not. From my understanding, the advice from distro fora and such comes from other users, not from anyone official at the distro.

I don't recall ever seeing any bugs that were closed with "here's a workaround, use ndiswrapper" -- at the most, the closed-source drivers might be suggested as an interim solution until the open-source drivers are fixed.

I'm pretty sure most users will be happier getting to use their shiny new network card with proprietary drivers than not using it at all, and between replacing a distribution or replacing the network card, I can guess what most people will pick.


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