[svlug] Business models (was Re: RANT: Ubuntu is Evil)

Alan DuBoff aland at softorchestra.com
Fri Jan 22 09:06:51 PST 2010

On Fri, 22 Jan 2010, Don Marti wrote:

> begin Ivan Sergio Borgonovo quotation of Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 10:37:52AM +0100:
>> I'm thinking about routers... and curiously enough most of them are
>> still on 2.4 kernels exactly because they are using proprietary
>> drivers.
> Embedded development projects pick a kernel version
> and stick with it -- they usually don't upgrade even
> for new models in a product line.  TiVo is still on
> a 2.4 kernel, too:

That is a new kernel for them though, for years they used a 
highly modified 2.0.27 kernel, as I recall, even when most of 
the other embedded projects were on 2.4 kernels.

Embedded is a peculiar space, and device support has always been 
key. I agree on the propietary drivers, however, sometimes the 
drivers are hacked together and/or reverse engineered as many of 
the companies won't provide the specs. This gives companies 
caution about releasing a driver, if it is not approved by the 
vendor. This happens a lot in the embedded space as companies 
will use a chipset to save a nickel on manufacturing costs, not 
thinking about having driver support. Certain companies are 
notorious for not providing specs, such as Broadcom as an 
example. Corporations are reluctant to release reverse 
engineered drivers as they will often not want to violate their 
relation with the very vendors they can't get the specs from to 
begin with. Linux can help in that regard, if the driver is in 
the sources.


Alan DuBoff - Software Orchestration

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