Are hardware vendors starting to bail on FreeBSD ... ?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Wed Jun 21 07:18:50 UTC 2006

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Marc
>G. Fournier
>Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:24 AM
>To: freebsd-questions at
>Subject: Are hardware vendors starting to bail on FreeBSD ... ?
>... and is there anything we can do as a community to prevent it?
>I've been a FreeBSD users since '94, and proud of it ... and have
>vehemently defended, all the way, my decision to use it vs 'the
>dark side'
>Although my above subject is a more "general call", my big beef
>right now
>is with RAID controller vendors, but I don't believe that the
>problem is
>specific to them, so hopefully others will ring in ...

It IS specific to them for a couple reasons, let me outline:

1) RAID is being taken over by SATA raid chipsets.  Everyone
knows it, and no RAID chip makers are putting money into
development and support of anything other than SATA chip
raid controllers.  That is, their SCSI and UDMA products
they are just milking right now.

2) The motherboard chipset manufacturers - like Intel - are
integrating SATA RAID functionality into their motherboard
sets.  So companies like Promise see all their low-end
business going into the toilet and they are once again, just
milking it.

3) Price of disks is making everyone chuck out RAID-5   The
thing to do today is get cheapo 500GB SATA drives and mirror
them if you want redundancy.  Instead of striping together 3
or 4 250GB or 200GB disks, just get one or two big ones if you
don't care about redundancy.

4) FreeBSD needs to quit changing around the disk driver
architecture.  It's completely fucking rediculous.  We lost a lot
of good drivers due to the shift to CAM and then as soon as
we got some of the popular ones back, they broke everything
from the 4 to 5 transistion.  Now they are doing it again from
5 to 6.  Manufacturers like Intel put in their time, they wrote
stuff like your storcon, and saw the FreeBSD community say
"thanks, but we are going to make you rewrite it again since
one of our developers got a hair up his ass to change everything
around again"  The vendors are getting sick of it.

5) The low-end RAID chipsets are getting absorbed into the
ata driver as fast as Soren can write support for them.  There's
no incentive for the manufacturer to write a FreeBSD driver once
we reverse engineer what they are doing and stick support in
for it.

>I just read a recent thread about monitoring RAID controllers on one of
>hte lists (this one?) where someone mentioned that Adaptec's Official
>stand is that they don't support storage management under
>FreeBSD ... but,
>in ports, we have the older aaccli interface, which I
>understand doesn't
>work with newer controllers ...
>So, my question above, and a public call to -core, or anyone else:
>   What can we, as a community, due to improve this situation?

Simple.  If you want to run RAID-5 then purchase the HiPoint card or
the 3ware card, both of them come with manufacturer-written drivers.
3ware is really great, they have a developer with committ rights and
they just stick their driver right into the FreeBSD source repository.

If you want to run RAID 0 or 1, then buy a motherboard with a
SATA raid chipset that is supported in FreeBSD's driver.

>Its not enough anymore to know a piece of hardware *works* with
>but more that the vendor is willing to acknowledge us as a market ...
>petitions don't do anything, IMHO ... it all falls to 'money talks' for
>most vendors (not all of them, but alot of them) ...
>Is there anything we can do?

Yes, reward the vendors like HiPoint and 3ware by purchasing
their product, punish the vendors like Promise that force us to
reverse engineer their product to write a driver for it by not buying
their product.


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