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

Ivan Sergio Borgonovo mail at webthatworks.it
Fri Jan 22 12:36:23 PST 2010

On Fri, 22 Jan 2010 09:06:51 -0800 (PST)
Alan DuBoff <aland at softorchestra.com> wrote:

> 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.

So... people continue to develop proprietary drivers but they like
Linux where taking care of HW support outside the tree is hard...
and they prefer Linux over BSD (???).

I'm an optimist ;)
I'd say that GPL is a better community builder and that Linux kernel
run faster no matter if companies understand it is in their own
interest to release code.

Ivan Sergio Borgonovo

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