2020: Will BSD and Linux be relevant anymore?

Gary Gatten Ggatten at waddell.com
Wed Jul 20 22:10:51 UTC 2011


Regarding drivers / hardware support...

I'm not a huge fan of abstraction layers, in fact I hate them, BUT - does there exist or could an AL (HAL) be developed to hide the OS from the driver so hardware manufacturers can more easily write drivers?  For example, can a HAL be developed that runs on BSD that "emulates" Winblow$ such that any driver written for Winblow$ will "work" on *BSD?  Granted it may not be as efficient as a native driver but perhaps it would have these benefits:

1.) Would work "good enough" for most people in most circumstances.  Perhaps it's slightly slower (insert metric of choice) than a native driver, but all but the most demanding users (top 10%?) won't care.  The most demanding users will probably take the time / effort to acquire supported hardware and have the technical skills to accomplish what they need to.

2.) Would give BSD developers a starting place for reverse engineering / engineering a native driver.  Instead of making the hardware people write drivers for BSD, they write for Winblow$ - but provide the source?  The *BSD dudes (dudettes) can take that and tweak as necessary.  The hope is no one would have to do 100% of the work, especially reverse engineering without much doc / etc - that must suck!

Something in the back of my head says there was / is something along this line already available or in the works, but I can't recall for sure.

Anyway...  I think someone else mentioned dividing up the "donations" such that one could select which development area receives ones funds.  I think this would be a good idea...  If I'm more interested in ZFS than wireless NIC drivers - I can contribute to the filesystem/ZFS area.  Perhaps this would also yield more donations - if one feels there funds will be going to support their specific needs...


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