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The abrupt merging of Nouveau

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 16, 2009 21:20 UTC (Wed) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: The abrupt merging of Nouveau by marcH
Parent article: The abrupt merging of Nouveau

When you get help with you closed source driver from _one_ kernel developer, please let me know. I would really like to know how they're doing it.


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The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 16, 2009 22:24 UTC (Wed) by tseaver (guest, #1544) [Link]

If you aren't running the latest vanilla kernel, you can't expect to get support from kernel developers anyway. The overwhelming majority of Linux desktop users are running distro-maintained kernels, which the kernel develoeprs (rightly) don't try to support. At that point, the tradeoff is suddenly very different: I *prefer* the open driver, but I won't use it if it interferes with my use of the hardware (breaks resume, whatever).

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 16, 2009 23:28 UTC (Wed) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Except from kernel developers that are employed by your distro, right?*

Look, I understand that if things don't work with the current open source driver, people will run proprietary drivers. I did exactly that for many of my users (example: before nouveau, there was nv, which didn't have good support for dual head, so I _had_ to give my users Nvidia driver so that they can use the second screen).

But, but, but... If Nvidia released their driver as open source when they should have, everyone would have a better solution and it would be fully supported by kernel devs too. The only reason all this stuff had to be painfully reverse engineered is because Nvidia refuse to do the right thing. So, yeah, of course it's not as good as Nvidia stuff (yet). The guys working on nouveau are doing heroic work, IMHO.

*) You can look at kernel bugzilla and verify that many people running Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora etc. kernels _do_ get their problems heard and resolved. You can also verify that in e.g. Red Hat bugzilla, indeed, kernel developers employed by Red Hat help users regularly. The patches usually end up being applied upstream.

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 17, 2009 10:29 UTC (Thu) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> When you get help with you closed source driver from _one_ kernel developer, please let me know.

If you are an average Joe then you will never get help, open-source or not.

If you are a big company willing to pay then you can get help sometimes, open-source or not.

Of course open-source is much much better for all types of consumers *in the long term*. But when you have a piece of hardware to get working *right now* it does not really matter.

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 17, 2009 22:52 UTC (Thu) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> If you are an average Joe then you will never get help, open-source or not.

Bullshit.

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 18, 2009 8:15 UTC (Fri) by farnz (subscriber, #17727) [Link]

That's not my direct experience. If I (as an individual user) interact nicely with the Open Source maintainers - i.e. get the information they ask for as fast as I can, describe the bug not my idea of the fix, and generally follow Simon Tatham's guide to bug reporting - I get solutions to my problems. This is far better than I ever got from a company issuing binary drivers.

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 18, 2009 14:29 UTC (Fri) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> That's not my direct experience.

Did it cross your mind that the average Joe does not even speak English?

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 18, 2009 14:39 UTC (Fri) by farnz (subscriber, #17727) [Link]

So let's get this straight: the average Joe doesn't speak English, yet is able to (somehow) navigate an English-only driver download site, and follow binary driver install instructions, that only come in English? Yet, they're incapable of finding enough help with English to file useful bug reports?

I've done my share of helping non-English speakers work through a non-technical friend who speaks both (usually very bad) English and their language file decent bug reports. Generally, it's not too difficult - Google Translate and similar software tools work well in finding the words needed to describe symptoms, and the technical information is cut-and-paste only anyway, and usually incomprehensible to English speakers, too. Heck, I've even had the fun of working entirely through Google Translate to find a bug; IME, open source driver developers are quite happy to work with you over a language barrier, so long as you're happy to try and make things work.

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 18, 2009 17:23 UTC (Fri) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> So let's get this straight: the average Joe doesn't speak English, yet is able to (somehow) navigate an English-only driver download site,

Are you aware that some Linux distributions ship binary drivers, or make their installation just a few native language clicks away?

The abrupt merging of Nouveau

Posted Dec 18, 2009 17:41 UTC (Fri) by farnz (subscriber, #17727) [Link]

Are you aware that distributions where someone has bothered to translate packages from English to another language are also distributions where you can interact with speakers of that language on the distribution bugtracker? What's more, the people you interact with, in your language, are generally helpful in getting your bug report into shape, then translating it and funnelling information between your language and the developer's preferred language.

Seriously, I've seen bug reports handled and fixed from distributions I didn't even know existed, precisely because I don't even know the writing system used by the distro's native language, let alone the language. But, someone who spoke the right language took a report from their bug tracker, did some basic triage, determined it was a genuine bug, and sent the report upstream, with a note explaining that it was all machine translated, and apologising for the poor English. A back and forth ensued, getting technical data from the bug reporter, and the bug got fixed.


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