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Re: Limits to what can be done without source

On Wed, 2006-05-17 at 15:10, Andy Green wrote:

> Except that users of binary blobs are often in for long waits to get a 
> new version with their bug fixed.

As opposed to?  When will we see an SATA driver that passes errors
correctly up to the md layer so a software raid would be
safe to use?  Firewire drives were broken for a long time by an
update in FC3 and I'm not sure it's completely back yet.  Long
waits aren't unique to binaries.

> > There are broken binary blobs and there are binary blobs that
> > are perfectly fine.  It doesn't make a lot of sense to
> > overgeneralize about them.  There's a lot of crud available
> > in source too.
> The "overgeneralization" is because your point seemed to be that ABI 
> breakage was the major or only problem faced by binary blobs.

If something was ever done right and doesn't work now, that's the
problem.  There are other problems in doing it right the first time.

> > It's the issue that keeps them from being fixed.  I don't see
> > similar problems happening with OS X for example.  There are
> > normal bugs that show up, but once fixed they don't reappear
> > on every release.
> Hum OSX runs on a tiny landscape of platforms, all documented and 
> understood by the OS vendor.

Well, OK, there is another vendor that ships binaries.  They
wouldn't have a big market if they didn't mostly work. 

> Before the release, they can consider to 
> make a formal effort to test for regressions.  It's telling you 
> something that you don't have the same problems on OSX+Apple HW, but 
> it's hard to see what the lesson really is for the sprawling, open-ended 
> platform, BIOS, peripheral mixture supported on Linux.

That other vendor covers a lot of equipment too. They aren't bug
free, but I don't think you're going to win a current comparison
at the device driver level on either features or reliability. I've
intentionally limited the hardware I've tried to run under
Linux and still have had problems with mainstream things like
adaptec scsi controllers and Dell's mylex raid cards.

> What I have had -- am having right now typing this -- a good experience 
> with is the Xorg nv driver.  For me it works very well and has always 
> done so for the functionality it claims to support.  It seems a good bet 
> to me that if nVidia donated the sources it currently keeps private into 
> that project then things will go on in the same smooth way but with 
> complete support. 

I'm inclined to believe nVidia's claim that they can't disclose
that information because of contracts with their suppliers.  So
that's not one of the choices.

>  Not least because Fedora would ship with it all in 
> the box.

That part is all politics since nVidia permits redistribution
of their binaries and it is fedora's choice not to do so.

  Les Mikesell
   lesmikesell gmail com

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