HAL must die!

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Fri Mar 18 22:32:04 UTC 2011

The other two people whose responses to you I have read so far make some
good points.  Nonetheless, I intend to give my take on the matter as

On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 09:03:54AM -0400, Jerry 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.

You are not responding to anything I said when you say that.  I never
said any manufacturers were "evil" for "not supporting brand X".  What I
said was that, where FreeBSD lacks drivers for a given piece of hardware
(especially stuff like recent graphics, bleeding edge wireless protocols,
and so on), hardware manufacturers and vendors are part of the reason.

I don't know why you insist on trying to attribute simple statements of
fact like this to a bizarre moral judgment I didn't make.  I think that
most hardware manufacturers are at worst, for purposes of this
discussion, short-sighted.  In many cases, they may even be taking a
longer, broader view -- but the fact they're acting rationally and
ethically in no way changes the fact that their choices make it
(sometimes prohibitively) difficult for open source developers to produce

> Did you ever attend a real business school? If so, you might be
> familiar with the term "ROI" which stands for "return of investment".

It doesn't take attending "a real business school" to be familiar with

> 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.

Most such statistics are wildly inaccurate -- and the fact that most of
them are inaccurate in very similar ways is a sign they are collecting
their data in the same selection bias influenced manner, and not a sign
that they're correct.  That having been said, though, I'll stipulate that
it is likely MS Windows holds the lion's share of the desktop market by a
substantial margin.

> 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.

[snipped the rest of the paragraph for irrelevancy and demonstration of
your biases]

It is a given that Microsoft OSes fail to offer a consistent/uniform API
from one release version to the next, or at times even from one service
pack to the next, too.

> Now, I have a proposal.

I'm no expert in OS design.  I am not sufficiently conversant in the
subject to comment meaningfully on the advisability or technical
effectiveness of such an effort.  I strongly suspect that the differing
needs of various design philsophies substantially prohibit a
*comprehensively* standardized hardware drive development interface
(DPI?), though.

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

Meanwhile, OS projects like FreeBSD and allied development teams *also*
write drivers for some hardware on their respective systems.  In fact, I
strongly suspect that the percentage of FreeBSD driver support that is
produced by open source developers rather than hardware manufacturers and
vendors is *much* greater than the percentage of MS Windows driver
support that is produced by Microsoft employees rather than hardware
manufacturers and vendors.

> 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. Even better, if such a plan were
> put into effect, any OS that refused to join the alliance would lose
> their right to blame the hardware manufactures since the blame would
> then unequivocally be theirs. A win-win solution for all involved.

Are you aware that patents are *published*?  It's not the information
about the patents that is the problem.  Anyone can get any registered
patent information.

In any case, if the vendors just released anything and everything that
was not a trade secret or limited in distributability by others'
copyrights and patents, that alone would be a huge step toward ensuring
the manufacturers and vendors never have to write a single driver for
open source operating systems.  In addition to (in my opinion) likely
being effectively impossible for technical reasons, your proposal for how
to solve the problem of missing drivers would actually place *more*
burden on the hardware manufacturers and vendors than is necessary.

> Now Chad, I know that you would never publicly approve of this solution
> since it goes counter to the "company line". Never-the-less, it would
> work and is doable.

[elided ridiculum, again]

What "company" are you talking about, anyway?

I doubt (though perhaps I'm mistaken) that you are any more qualified to
make such categorical claims about the advisability and "doability" of
your proposal than I am.

> If you have a better solution please state it as long as it is not the
> same old, tired, socialistic propaganda that everyone should give us
> something for nothing including divulging patented and or company
> secrets. A philosophy that has proven to not work. The "they owe us"
> rhetoric is worn out and really makes a fool out of those who express
> such beliefs.

See above.

I never said "they owe us".  Stop blowing that canard out of your fourth
point of contact, please.  Nobody in this thread, as far as I've noticed,
has suggested *any* of the reasoning you keep attributing to me and "the
company".  It seems to me that it is you who are making yourself look
like a fool by trying to assign motivations and rationalizations to
others that are patently (pun intended) ridiculous.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
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