Hardware that Requires software WAS: TL-WN722N support

Paul Kraus paul at kraus-haus.org
Thu Aug 28 14:16:48 UTC 2014

On Aug 27, 2014, at 23:33, Polytropon <freebsd at edvax.de> wrote:

> Yes, those are terrible and years behind technological evolution.
> The same applies to "WinModems", a disease that development has
> fortunately dealt with.

It is helpful to understand the why of something, and explain such, rather than just condemn it as bad.

The move to host based software for things like printers, modems, scanners, and other various hardware came about because the performance of the general purpose computer was increasing at least at Moore’s Law rate, if not faster. By moving the processing of the raw data into code the device (printer, scanner, modem, etc.) could use onto the host OS you got two big advantages:

1. As the host systems got faster so did your device

2. Your device was likely to remain useful for a longer period

There is a third advantage, that the device can be less intelligent and less powerful, making it cheaper. The typical desktop computer today has lots and lots of spare CPU cycles (and generally speaking, has for at least a decade). Why not make good use of those resources.

I have three scanners in the house that *all* require very custom software as the processing of the raw scanned data from the image sensor is happening on the host system and not on the scanner hardware. I have seen marked improvements in image quality with each update of the management software. Even older hardware, hardware that the vendor would no longer be supporting if it were more complex is still on the supported list.

Does it mean that you cannot use this hardware on OSes for which there is no software support? Absolutely, but that is the case for *everything*. If you know you need to (or want to) runs a certain OS, for whatever reasons, then you buy hardware that is supported by that OS.

I am OS agnostic, there is no one single OS that is perfect for everything. I look at the job I need to do and then choose the software (application) to do that task, then I pick the OS that lets me run that software the best. It is not until this point that I start looking at hardware. But I am an outlier in that I use in both my personal and professional life a bunch of different OSes for different purposes.

Mac OS X

Personally, I use FreeBSD on servers and not as a desktop, I think there are better desktop OSes out there.

Paul Kraus
paul at kraus-haus.org

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