Recommendation for 1000BASE-SX card?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sat Jun 3 15:30:36 PDT 2006

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Danial Thom
>Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 10:08 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt; Chuck Swiger
>Cc: questions at
>Subject: RE: Recommendation for 1000BASE-SX card?
>--- Ted Mittelstaedt <tedm at>
>> >-----Original Message-----
>> >From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>> >[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On
>> Behalf Of Chuck Swiger
>> >Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:24 AM
>> >To: danial_thom at
>> >Cc: questions at
>> >Subject: Re: Recommendation for 1000BASE-SX
>> card?
>> >
>> >
>> >Very well, let me put it another way: if your
>> opinions about 
>> >what's wrong 
>> >differ from most other people, you might do
>> better to rely on a 
>> >discussion 
>> >involving facts rather than opinions. 
>> Or, it could simply be that he's not doing what
>> most people
>> are doing, so he is going to run into trouble
>> that most people
>> don't run into.
>> >I mention this because 
>> >some people 
>> >regard their own opinions so highly that they
>> don't seem to be 
>> >aware that 
>> >other approaches exist and might even prove
>> effective.
>> >
>> Like you?
>> >> Clearly there are drivers that are well
>> >> supported and drivers that aren't. There are
>> >> people out there trying to run their
>> businesses
>> >> and you seem to want to pretend that
>> everything
>> >> is just peachy and that everything can be
>> tweaked
>> >> and tuned a bit to be usable.
>> >
>> >I don't know about either the OP or your
>> situation(s),
>> Then, pray tell, don't comment.  Instead thank
>> your lucky stars
>> that you have not had to deal with that kind of
>> problem.
>> > but I'm 
>> >generally of 
>> >the opinion that FreeBSD works just fine, most
>> of the time, on 
>> >most hardware, 
>> >without any specific tweaking or tuning to be
>> entirely usable.
>> >
>> It does not.  In reality, current versions of
>> FreeBSD work better
>> on current versions of hardware.  FreeBSD has a
>> terrible history
>> of breaking things that used to work on old
>> hardware, then
>> when someone complains that something is
>> broken, the developers
>> in effect tell them their old hardware is
>> crappy junk and to buy new
>> hardware.
>> Try running FreeBSD 6.X on a 80486 or Pentium
>> system.  FreeBSD 4.11
>> runs just fine on that hardware, if a bit
>> slowly.  But, I don't need
>> speed to control my garden sprinklers.
>> Now, it is true that sometimes backwards
>> compatibility can hurt you,
>> it can cause you to maintain interfaces and
>> structures that conflict
>> with support of new hardware, it can sometimes
>> put you into 
>> situations that cannot be automatically
>> resolved, thus you have to
>> create a knob for the user to twaddle one way
>> or another, depending
>> on what hardware they have or what they want to
>> do.  It can suck
>> off developer time to maintain old junk that
>> only a few people use,
>> instead of putting in support for new crap that
>> a lot of people use.
>> So there is a balance beam of too much
>> backwards compatability
>> and not enough of it.  Microsoft is most
>> definitely way far on the
>> side of bending over backwards to support
>> everything, but most people
>> don't realize that FreeBSD is way far on the
>> other side of sacrificing
>> hardware support at the drop of a hat when
>> people lose interest
>> in it.
>> >That's true of some other platforms, such as
>> Apple hardware and 
>> >MacOS X, or 
>> >even Sun/SPARC boxes, as well.  YMMV.
>> >
>> Total apples and oranges comparison, not
>> relevant to anything.
>> >If you have specific problems or a
>> FreeBSD-driver to Windows-driver 
>> >performance comparison, providing #'s and
>> enough details to 
>> >reproduce would be 
>> >helpful.
>> That has been done with the Broadcom driver
>> exhaustively in the
>> PR database, there's at least a dozen PRs on
>> problems related
>> to that chip.  However it has not resulted in
>> much code to fix
>> the problem, or even interest among committers
>> to apply the fixes
>> that have been posted.  So no, I don't think
>> that doing that
>> is helpful at all.  In fact, I really think the
>> PR system has
>> gotten pretty much broken these days, there's
>> too many bugs and
>> not enough people working on them, and more
>> coming in every
>> day.
>> What is needed is some developers putting some
>> time into 
>> knocking down the bugs in the PR database, but
>> instead we have
>> the foundation dumping money into funding
>> students on projects
>> like "The Summer of Code" which basically ends
>> up creating a lot
>> of half-finished efforts that may or may not
>> eventually get
>> integrated into the operating system at some
>> point down the road.
>> Nobody wants to fix other people's bugs, that's
>> boring stuff,
>> that is the one area of Open Source where
>> commercial software
>> companies have a leg up over us.  A commercial
>> company can find
>> some starving programmer and pay him, then put
>> a manager over him to
>> keep jerking the paycheck string to keep him on
>> task to do the
>> icky programming.  Open Source has real
>> difficulty with the concept
>> that some things in it are broken, rather
>> ickely broken, and
>> totally un-fun to work on, and the only way
>> your going to get
>> them fixed is by whipping some slave until they
>> do the filthy
>> task.  People would rather spend the gold that
>> they have on
>> nice, pleasant projects that treat everyone
>> nicely and look good
>> on Resumes, and are not icky, nasty,
>> uncomfortable things to
>> do that make you late for dinner.
>> Ted
>What's going on Ted, have you jumped ship since I
>last came up for air? :)

Naw, once you got the meds right, you started making
more sense. ;-)

>Its easy enough for commercial companies to fix
>the bugs if they need to use the broadcom
>drivers. There's just little incentive to donate
>the code back with this bunch of rude,
>incompetent clowns that have become the FreeBSD
>micky mouse club.

I don't think it's that being the problem.  I think
the problem is that the engineers at places like HP and
ASUS and such, know perfectly well the Broadcom and the
Realtek and the other cheapo-crappy ethernet chipsets
are garbage.  But, I think they figure that they are not
going to throw expensive programming time on solving the
problems of those chips in software.  I think they spend
the expensive programming time on their high-end gear, which
has the Intel chipset and the other good stuff, high end
parts in it.

There was a time when name brand companies like Dell, HP
Gateway, Micron, etc. etc. made 2 lines of computers.
Cheapo crappy desktop gear, and expensive high quality
server gear.

What I think ruined it is too many people pressing cheapo
crappy desktop gear into use as servers, it was cutting
into the high-end server market in a big way.  So, the
Dell's and the HP's of the world realized they needed to
create server lines (and the motherboard manufacturers 
realized this too with motherboard lines) that were marketed
as servers, but were a lot cheaper than their high end
servers.  This would allow them to package the exact same
crappy desktop parts in a box marked as a "server" and
costing twice as much, yet not as much as the really good
quality server gear.  And so that is what is going on
these days.

The really high end gear, which is rapidly vanishing, the
motherboard and box vendors are still putting time into
work on drivers and such.  But, for the low end gear they
are just buying commodity chipsets, and they are telling those
commodity vendors (like realtek) that they simply won't
buy their stuff unless the chip comes with drivers.  So,
the commodity vendors slap together the minimum effort
needed to get the chip and software driver out the door,
and the motherboard and box vendors simply take the driver
source and replace "Realtek" with "HP" and sometimes they
don't even bother to do even that much.  And if the driver
has some bug in it that is intermittent, well who cares,
the Windows users will just blame it on a virus or something,
as long as the bug is infrequent enough that the user
does not return the hardware to the dealer.

>There was a time when you could
>discuss an issue with Matt, Mike and Terry and
>hammer out a solution. Now you've got a bunch of
>gaming jockeys who know as much about hardware as
>my Mom. And that ain't much, sadly.

The situation is analogous to the auto manufacturing market in
a great many ways.  Over the last 15 years computer manufacturing
has really grown up until it's just like auto manufacturing
today.  We no longer have some of the really horrible gear out
there like the 80486 50Mhz chips and their associated support
chips that would lock up for no reason at least 6 times a day.
But, we also no longer have some really cool and amazing gear like
the NetFrames which most people didn't understand how good they
were because they were so figging expensive.

Today, everyone has the cost/benefit calculators out and is
cutting every corner in the book.  Need a server?  Well the
rack mounted stuff is an extra $50 so we will just set up some
card tables and get minitowers.  Need a UPS?  Well that there
300VA unit with the itty-bitty-titty-batteries in it that has
a runtime of 5 minutes on a good day will shut the server down
without scratching it's disks, so lets buy that instead of that
APC 600VA unit with the extra batteries that has a 4 hour runtime
and a network card in it to where you can plan for battery 
change out in advance.

And that's just the end users, the manufacturers are doing the
same thing.  This is exactly the reason that Microsoft has slipped
their new Windows version.  They are waiting for the cheapo
crap hardware to catch up.


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