HAL must die!

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Fri Mar 18 13:55:50 UTC 2011


allow me to add something to your statements.

On Fri, 18 Mar 2011 09:03:54 -0400, Jerry <freebsd.user at seibercom.net> wrote:
> Chad, you are an intelligent individual. I have no doubt of that.
> However, I think you have failed to think your entire "hardware
> manufacturers are evil for not supporting brand X" operating systems
> concept.

The problem is not "not supporting brand X", the problem
is not supporting established and common standards. A
device (whatever it may be) that conforms to the standards
existing for that kind of device will work in ANY operating
system that implements those standards. There is no
predefined way HOW it does it, and it also doesn't matter
AS LONG AS it does it. Of course it is the full right of
manufactureres to use standards or to avoid them. History
teaches that propretary stuff dies. Do you remember the
Mini-CD? A great invention, doesn't exist anymore - just
an example.

> According to what documentation I could locate, there are at least 23
> different operating systems, in one form or another, presently
> available. Microsoft controls +/- 90%, with Mac at approximately 5%.
> The rest divide up what is left. FreeBSD is listed at a minuscule
> 0.01%. I found these at:
> <http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8>.
> I obviously cannot vouch for their authenticity although they do seem
> consistent with other published reports I have seen in the past year.

The big problem with those numbers - although they should
be valid at large scale - is that they really concentrate
on market share. As you correctly pointed out, FreeBSD is
a minority in there. This is because there simply is no
significant market. Market is derived from either volume
sales (you buy it, ++, you throw it away without using
it, still ++), licensing (you register something online, ++)
or other means to obtain data (e. g. browser identification
of visitors who view a certain web site).

> Now, it is a given that the conglomeration of non-Microsoft/non-Apple
> operating systems fail to offer a consistent/uniform API for the
> detection of and installation or procurement of drivers for devices on
> their respective systems.

Fully agree. Although there are standards for many things,
manufacturers don't intend to use them - and maybe this is
even required due to the nature of their products. While
development for free platforms doesn't involve specific
licensing costs, it's hard work as well as for the propretary
ones to implement a driver.

> Now, I have a proposal. If the fragmented open-source community really
> wants to advance, and maybe FreeBSD actually reach a full percentage
> point, it has to agree on a common interface/API for the detection of,
> installation and configuration of devices on their respective systems.
> A uniform driver base is a must.

This is relatively easy on systems like FreeBSD with a
stable system level API, but can be considered more
complicated on the many Linusi.

> I am not talking about a semi-uniform
> system; but rather a fully uniform system take works exactly the same
> on each system. This won't be easy for reasons previously mentioned;
> but it is doable.

Sadly, I don't think so, but I'm just being realistic.

> An additional benefit is that the time wasted now by
> each vendor attempting to create and maintain their own API would be
> eliminated. One common interface could be maintained by a far smaller
> group of developers thereby freeing up time to work on other system
> improvements. Obviously, licensing problems would have to be over come.

They are one of the main problems in desktop area, as they
do also affect fully functional multimedia capabilities.
But it's not up to programmers to deal with that - it's
the field of the lawyers.

> Now, back to my ROI reference. If the above were to actually happen,
> hardware vendors would now only have to code and maintain one single
> driver database.

But manufacturers do traditionally access "two markets":
They get money (1st) by selling masses of cheap products
that rely on proprietary systems, break after one year
and include planned obsolescense as they are not compatible,
and (2nd) by selling lower amounts of more expensive
products to users who are aware of the fact explained
first; those products are compatible to standards and
have a longer life, and they can be re-used under changed

This way manufacturers profit from "both markets". The
tendency seems to be that the 1st market is still
growing (what a surprise: when the printer breaks after
one year, you _have_ to buy a new one, and as it should
be cheap... you know). The majority of users is not
interested in "good for a long time". They require
to buy "the best at the moment", and due to technical
evolution, there's something new very month that needs
to be bought, that _they_ "need" to have. They don't
care for standardized operating system, they don't care
for operating systems at all - they'll use whatever comes
preinstalled. The desinterest in operating systems per
se is the conclusion of the fact that people aren't
using operating systems (although they are the basis
that makes everything work); they use programs.

> Interestingly enough, Microsoft and to a lesser degree Apple write
> drivers for some hardware on their respective systems.

Due to contracts with the manufacturers, this is easy
for them, and they are interested to deliver improved
performance, the options for lock-in, or legacy.

> In any case, I
> believe hardware vendors would be willing to invest the time and money
> in such a venture since they would be able to shown a return on their
> investment without the need to divulge patented information regarding
> their devices.

I don't believe the amount (relation) is profitable enough
for them. They have good deals with MICROS~1 & Apple, and
the free systems simply can't provide that. The majority
is important, not "niche systems" (even if they do actually
keep the whole Internet running).

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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