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Microsoft Begs Hardware Makers To Take Support Seriously

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the cry-me-a-river dept.

Microsoft 543

Banana ricotta pancakes writes "Microsoft has confirmed that there will be a widespread public beta of Windows 7 in early 2009, while urging device manufacturers to start immediate testing with its pre-beta release to avoid the widespread hardware compatibility problems that contributed so much to the negative perception of Vista. 'There is not another WinHEC planned before Windows 7 is released,' Microsoft has warned them. Better hope that testing goes well."

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Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (4, Interesting)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25655965)

Now that Microsoft are feeling the pinch of competition, they no longer have hardware manufacturers over a barrel. The hardware manufacturers now have the power to control the public perception of Windows, rather than Windows controlling the perception of hardware.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656023)

you linsux users are really delusional, ain't ya? you get 2% market share and you act like you're motherfuckin pascal.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (2, Informative)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656123)

You posting as AC proves that you know not what you speak of. May I point you here: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2008/10/how-linux-supports-more-device.html [oreilly.com]

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656901)

perhaps, but we aren't worried about windows competing with your linux-driven toaster. we're talking PCs here. until software developers take linux seriously (which will not happen until they reach even the pathetic market-numbers that Apple can achieve) it will strictly be the geek, who cares OS...

And no quips about my posting as AC, it isn't worth my time to log-in for another linux lovefest...

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656281)

There's more than 2 operating systems, nubbinchops

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656631)

2%? Already?
The Year of Linux on the Desktop is at hand!

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656891)

Actually macosx is insanely popular at any university and its marketshare is almost at 8%.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656085)

I'm not sure that really has much to do with it. This isn't about MS keeping the OEMs from shipping other OSes, something that they are still pretty good at, this is about MS trying to get the device makers to ship drivers that don't suck, something that they've never had all that much luck with, though they seem to be very gradually improving.

MS doesn't have the power to coerce decent drivers out of the manufacturers ("Hmm, I see here that your latest wifi chipset driver has 37 unresolved trouble tickets. If you ever want your silicon to run on Windows again..."); but none of the device manufacturers have anything to gain from manipulating perceptions of windows. If one device vendor makes horrific drivers, consumers will blame windows; but OEMs will just drop that vendor. MS has a bit of power, with their driver certification stuff; but driver quality mostly comes down to the battle between the desire to save money by skimping on engineering and the desire to actually be able to sell products that don't ruin your reputation completely.

If MS were out there, begging vendors to write drivers for Windows, that would be a role reversal.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (4, Insightful)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656309)

MS doesn't have the power to coerce decent drivers out of the manufacturers

No, but they do have the power to write drivers themselves (carrot) and they do have the power to maintain a public knowledge base of third-party driver problems (stick).

Microsoft is only in this mess because they've been pawning that responsibility off on OEMs for years.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (5, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656489)

No, but they do have the power to write drivers themselves (carrot)...

What? MS would have the same problem as Linux does, just to a lesser degree. HW manufactures would have to provide specs to MS, something they haven't done for Linux. The only saving grace would be that MS would be capable of signing an NDA with them.

Microsoft is only in this mess because they've been pawning that responsibility off on OEMs for years.

"You create a device, you write the driver" seems like a perfectly reasonable policy to me, at least for manufactures that don't open their specs to all.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (2, Interesting)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656503)

They could also take the long hard road. Realize this next version of windows will take a hit and force all drivers to be signed to be installed. Do the signing for free, but be very selective on what passes as quality.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (3, Informative)

gabebear (251933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656519)

I own two pieces of hardware that are Microsoft branded... and they have had far worse driver support on Windows than any other hardware I own.
  • MN-720 802.11G PCCard [microsoft.com] : No Vista(or even XP SP3) compatiblity... WHY?
  • Microsoft Intellimouse optical [microsoft.com] : The driver in the link doesn't recognize this mouse... What's really funny is MS's Mac Intellimouse driver works perfectly. This is a rather old mouse, it was one of the very first optical mice available($70 back in the day).

I may just have bad luck... but Microsoft's driver compatibility is frighteningly bad.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (2, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656715)

Microsoft Intellimouse optical: The driver in the link doesn't recognize this mouse... What's really funny is MS's Mac Intellimouse driver works perfectly. This is a rather old mouse, it was one of the very first optical mice available($70 back in the day).

Huh? This is my mouse of choice, and I have never had any driver troubles with it under Windows. Windows comes with a driver that Just Works, what more do you want?

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656877)

I'm more shocked that you still need a driver for a PS/2 wheel mouse (I'm assuming it's not USB given the age). What the heck did they do that it needs special driver support?

I'm not surprised you have trouble with an 802.11 card. There are so many chipset variations for those things and they're revised so frequently that almost nobody bothers with driver support beyond what's on the CD in the box. This goes double if it's unusual in some way (USB, Compact Flash, Compact PCI, etc...). Just be glad you don't have a TV Tuner card.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (2, Informative)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656555)

When XP came out, didn't Microsoft end up writing drivers for a boatload of Logitech hardware?

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656797)

Yeah, because when your average user has a hardware problem, they're going to go right to MS's horrid KB and look up the solution themselves and then fix it (assuming they find it). If the hardware manufacturers can barely write reliable drivers, then how do you expect MS to do that on all of their behalf, even if they do have some advantage in terms of time and access to Windows's internals etc.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (5, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656091)

Now that Microsoft are feeling the pinch of competition, they no longer have hardware manufacturers over a barrel. The hardware manufacturers now have the power to control the public perception of Windows, rather than Windows controlling the perception of hardware.

How did you come to this conclusion? The number of Windows users is still growing. OS X is taking a small percentage from that share, but their software is still restricted to their own hardware, making it very uninteresting for hardware manufacturers.

It's the fact that Windows is open to any hardware that makes manufacturers prefer this operating system. Also, the two factions live in symbiosis since none would exist without the other. Basically, Microsoft wants their software to work well and the manufacturers surely want their hardware to work well in what is to become the next major operating system that over 90% of the world's population uses.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656343)

Well, MS does have one major competitor, which has caused nontrivial trouble lately: its own older OSes. As much as I'd like it to be otherwise, I don't think that MS is under much immediate threat from Linux or OSX. However, watching the rather pitiful attempt to get the Vista launch off the ground suggested quite strongly that MS has a real problem with pushing its "ecosystem partners" to upgrade in sync. The whole Vista Read/Vista Capable thing, where MS basically screwed over buyers and retailers to let Intel unload their old graphics chips, the fact that NVidia couldn't be bothered to have drivers that actually worked for months after launch, having to extend XP availability several times, etc.

MS isn't going anywhere; but they face a real risk of getting bogged down in their own backwards compatibility. With Vista, they ran into the nasty trap of not being able to muster enough customer enthusiasm to drive support from hardware and software vendors, and not having enough support from hardware and software vendors to ensure safe upgrades for their customers. Vicious circle time. They'll pull through; because they have the bulk and the power; but that isn't a pretty dynamic.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656529)

"manufacturers surely want their hardware to work well in what is to become the next major operating system that over 90% of the world's population uses."

XP, you mean?

Fortunately the company I worked for at the time dumped Windows for Linux shortly before Vista was released, because trying to port the drivers from XP to Vista was hell, particularly when so many of the changes were really only needed for supporting DRM.

Either way, no company in their right mind was going to put rewriting their drivers for a new API in a new OS that few people would use over supporting current customers on XP; Microsoft really shot themselves in the ass on that one.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656141)

Microsoft is dying. Ubuntu confirms it.

Seriously folks. Microsoft is on it's way out. No one saw the fall of Rome, and people can't imagine a world without Microsoft, but Microsoft has failed to be an innovator for what? 15 years? That failure does not portend well for future existence. Like Compaq, Unisys, SCS, Wang, et al, Microsoft is loosing the war and will be gone within the decade. Mark my words.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656245)

<quote><p>Like Compaq, Unisys, SCS, Wang, et al, Microsoft is loosing the war and will be gone within the decade. Mark my words.</p></quote>

They'll have to pry my Wang from my cold, dead fingers!

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656253)

I think the biggest sign of Microsoft's impending fall is the fact that idiot business guys are in charge now.

All the geeks that made Microsoft the behemoth that it is today are gone.

Ballmer and co are all that's left and it has been showing.

Serious case of inept management syndrome (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656865)

I think the biggest sign of Microsoft's impending fall is the fact that idiot business guys are in charge now.

It's interesting you'd point that out. I was thinking something similar. Mostly in the way the request was worded. I've spent some time around inept managers and you can see a lot of the same in the summary:

"urging device manufacturers to start immediate testing with its pre-beta release" - Translation: Get on the ball and do our work for us.

"to avoid the widespread hardware compatibility problems that contributed so much to the negative perception of Vista" - Translation: Our failures are not our fault. They are your fault. Get on the ball and fix it.

"'There is not another WinHEC planned before Windows 7 is released,' Microsoft has warned them." - Translation: We have you by the balls. Don't make us squeeze. We want you to do things for our benefit, and we're unwilling to wait, or even to ask nicely.

Now, in contrast what they should have done is this.

Windows 7 is being released, and soon. Yeah, we screwed the pooch with Vista. But we'd like to fix things, and we'd like your help. Towards that end we are making a pre-release version of Windows 7 beta available to developers so we can make something that has the promise of Vista, but actually delivers. And we'll be holding several WinHEC sessions, to help you, our valued partners make this next Windows the best product it can be.

Engage us as coder geeks, and we would be far more happy to comply. Speak to us - geek to geek. Let us know why Windows 7 is exciting. And admit your mistakes with Vista, so you have some credibility when you try to engage us.

Of course, inept power happy managers would never say such a thing. And it's the product that suffers. I've seen it before, just never quite on this scale before. Treat your developers like peons and they will abandon you. Programmers tend to be a little rogue in their perceptions. I can see a great many people reading that press release and thinking "well screw that crap".

I certainly would.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (2, Informative)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656429)

No one saw the fall of Rome

Are you kidding? Alaric was garrisoned outside Rome for OVER A YEAR before the emperor betrayed him and negotiations for a piece of Switzerland (a la the governorship of Judea) broke down.

On the other hand, declining military drill as Goths and Vandals joined the Roman military was a contributing factor to the decline of the Roman empire.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656847)

I think he meant, no one alive saw the fall of Rome. Bet you can't counter that :-)

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656821)

Yeah, the next time they decide to let go of the war, I will have to eat my words.

However, they are *losing* the war, as in game, as in not winning the game.

Unfortunately, they know the difference between letting something go and misplacing something or having it taken from them.

Your mother would be ashamed of your poor grammar.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656861)

Remember how powerful IBM used to be? It's only a shadow of it's former self but it is still a strong company.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (4, Funny)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656213)

Because we all know this is the Year Of The Linux Desktop.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (3, Interesting)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656771)

Now that Microsoft are feeling the pinch of competition

Too bad a large segment of that competition is made up of their own operating systems.

The only trouble Vista ever had was that XP worked well enough for everybody and didn't offer any incentives to upgrade.

But it's not like Apple is taking over the world any time soon.

Re:Seems to me like a bit of a role reversal (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656841)

It's not that the hardware manufacturers are developing for MacOS, it's just that they've been too lazy to port their drivers to Vista, especially for older hardware. I mean look at what happened to people who had SoundBlaster Live based cards (which still work fine and are considerably better than most built-in sound still). Compare that to Linux where the support for them is actively maintained to this day.

Why bother? (2, Insightful)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25655985)

Why would hardware manufacturers bother to write drivers for a Windows Beta release? Especially one that probably won't be released for several years, and the driver requirements and API and such are likely to change several times before then. So many people are happy with XP or Linux, they can wait until the first RC to come out (Microsoft calls it Gold).

Re:Why bother? (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656055)

Maybe Microsoft should do what the Linux community does. Work with manufacturers to get the drivers written and then maintain the drivers for the manufacturers forever.

Ya, that's likely.

BTW - I own two webcams now. Neither work under Windows since I lost the driver disk (and those drivers were useless under XP64/Vista anyway), but they both work just fine under Linux. What's the world coming to?!

Re:Why bother? (3, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656083)

What's the world coming to?!

The Year of Linux on the Desktop

Re:Why bother? (5, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656269)

let's just spin that a little, the 21st century will be the century of Linux on the desktop

Re:Why bother? (5, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656375)

let's just spin that a little, the 24th century will be the century of Linux on the desktop

There, fixed that for you.

24th Century (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656953)

Yeah, Buck Rogers said so. Or was it Duck Dodgers?

Re:Why bother? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656571)

What's the world coming to?!

The Year of Linux on the Desktop

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya', tomorrow! You're always a day away!

Is there another one? (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656809)

Is there another desktop OS on the market?

Re:Is there another one? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656937)

Of course! How could we forget:

Amiga OS
*BSD
Haiku
RISC OS
ReactOS

(all of which have their latest release in this year or are nightly builds)

Re:Why bother? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656089)

What was that slogan? "Plays for sure" It's a long way from that to begging hardware manufacturers to play along nicely.

Yes, I know they are not related... just seemed appropriate to mention it here having read what has been said already.

Re:Why bother? (3, Interesting)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656115)

Had the same thing with a cheap ass bluetooth dongle someone gave me. Lost the driver disc, so it got shoved in a box of junk. Been a while since I'd checked that box and no longer use windows as my primary desktop. So after doing a clean up one day I figured, well my pc is turned on so no harm in trying it... Plugged it in, the little bluetooth symbol appeared next to the clock and hey presto it worked!! That was compared to the many many hours spent trying to find a working driver for windows!

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656259)

I have a tablet PC with several options that don't work under newer versions of Ubuntu. What is the world coming to?!

Re:Why bother? (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656337)

I assume you've filed a bug report or two, right?

People really do want to know about this stuff.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656351)

BTW - I own two webcams now. Neither work under Windows since I lost the driver disk (and those drivers were useless under XP64/Vista anyway), but they both work just fine under Linux.

Same here with a digital tv tuner card. Bought it a few years ago and lost the driver cd. I can't find the drivers for it anywhere on the net (even after furious googling), and the manufacturer doesn't acknowledge it in any way on their website anymore.

However, the Linux kernel supports it flawlessly "out of the box", and Kaffeine is superior program for viewing TV compared to the Windows program that shipped with the card (which was very buggy and the playback was glitchy).

Windows Video Capture drivers & a good distro (2, Informative)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656581)

Sounds like you have a better solution going, but I still wanted to turn others in your situation who *do* wanna run Windows on to btwincap [sourceforge.net] -- the card is probably using a Brooktree chip.

This driver is usually much better than the included buggy/glitchy ones.

Dynebolic [dynebolic.org] is a kick ass GNU/Linux distro for video capture and editing. It can also cluster just by running the liveCD on multiple systems.

Re:Why bother? (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656435)

Maybe Microsoft should do what the Linux community does. Work with manufacturers to get the drivers written and then maintain the drivers for the manufacturers forever.

Maybe the community should just step up and write them? I mean they do it for Linux, why not Microsoft? Plus, for any device supported under Linux, the hardest part of the work is already done... figuring out how to communicate with the device.

And don't whine about driver signing, if a large OSS group came to MS with a large body of updated drivers for x64, they'd take them in a heartbeat, sign them, and even stick them on the next Windows CD if we let them.

BTW - I own two webcams now. Neither work under Windows since I lost the driver disk (and those drivers were useless under XP64/Vista anyway), but they both work just fine under Linux. What's the world coming to?!

The difference is the manufacturer abandoned the hardware a couple years ago for Windows, while they never bothered to support Linux at all in the first place. So the community stepped up for Linux, because that was the only way it was going to happen, while the manufacturers did a passable job long enough for the hardware to be non-mainstream enough that most people really don't care.

Re:Why bother? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656743)

Maybe the community should just step up and write them? I mean they do it for Linux, why not Microsoft?

Because Windows is a piece of shit no one needs and M$ is fighting as hard as they can to force Windows down everyone's throat. Let those fucks write their own software and live up to their big professional image. "Why bother" is an excellent title. Free software has replaced both Windows and M$'s business model.

No one is going to bother to help M$ pick itself up from Vista. Hardware companies were unable to make things work with Vista's crap DRM. The free software community has the power to fix things if M$ were to GPL3 all of their source code, but pigs will fly first. Game over, give up on Vista and Windows 7, it's not going to get any better.

Re:Why bother? (3, Insightful)

Tehrasha (624164) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656875)

Maybe the community should just step up and write them? I mean they do it for Linux, why not Microsoft?

Yes, why dont they? There are obviously far more Windows users out there to be affected by antiquated hardware.

Re:Why bother? (3, Insightful)

darkvizier (703808) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656495)

Yes... and try installing Windows XP on a RAID array without using a driver floppy disk. Even Houdini couldn't pull that one off! Linux on the other hand is a breeze. The array is automatically detected and the appropriate drivers are installed and initialized.

Re:Why bother? (5, Funny)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656719)

Actually, Houdini pulled it off [blogspot.com]


...the lengths some people will go to for a laugh...

Re:Why bother? (2, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656509)

Well it is pretty obvious that for every new generation of programmers the amount users, contributors and developers of Open Source software expands. Having at least a general familiarity with Open Source and Linux has almost become a industry requirement. Not to mention that analysing Open Source code to learn is simply a good idea. The program is there, the code is there, you can study it and learn. The code for Windows, and other Microsoft products,is not so easily available.

At least this is what I hear when I talk to people working in the Norwegian IT Industry and friends current undergoing later stages of their education. The documentation and level of expertise increases at a far far higher rate than what Microsoft, or most other Closed Source companies, can compete with. Open Source might not be for all products or services, but it does to a greater and greater extend serve the need of the average user. And with the Open Source products for the large part being free it makes it very convenient for a student to use Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. Or for administration and educational institutions to switch to a Linux, or other Open Source, products. Not only have it been estimated that such a switch will save the Norwegian Government millions, it also means that the code for the products they use can be scrutinized to a far higher degree than Microsoft would ever allow.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656725)

Exactly. Microsoft has done so much to kill any common device protocols to poison outside compatibility. On Linux and Mac, printer drivers are tiny, userspace programs that translate postscript into the right printer commands. MS printer drivers need custom USB drivers, special kernel extensions, the vendor's own "special" print queue, and finally a translator for something that does the job of PS, but isn't.

MS could have spent a tiny bit more to put out a USBPRINT protocol here, and provide some development guidance to keep crap out of their kernel, but they didn't. Now they get to reap it.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656803)

Actually Microsoft used to provide a decent drivers database with it's operating systems. Back in the Windows for Workgroup days it would recognize (virtually) every network card automatically. I think it even managed to support soundcards in Soundblaster mode, right out of the box. And of course virtually every dot matrix or laser printer.

The real question is, why aren't they doing it now? I believe they simply became more arrogant. They now not only don't write the drivers, they make it deliberately hard to write drivers thanks to useless signatures you need to get drivers running under Vista 64Bit.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656943)

The other question is, specifically, how many different network cards/printers/accessories are there out there now compared to then? I have 6 different network cards in 3 computers, (3 motherboards / dual nics, each has a different chip). Thats insane to try and keep together. The hardware makers are also always trying to keep the cost down by switching suppliers and such. I wouldn't touch it.

Re:Why bother? (1)

Christophotron (812632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656963)

BTW - I own two webcams now. Neither work under Windows since I lost the driver disk (and those drivers were useless under XP64/Vista anyway), but they both work just fine under Linux.

Seems like you're too lazy to go to the manufacturer's website to check for drivers, but even beyond that it is possible to get those cameras to work in Windows. I had the same issue with a Creative cam, and let me tell you Creative SUCKS when it comes to drivers. So of course there were absolutely no drivers on creative's website for this 4-year-old cam on Vista x64.

So I go to searching google and I find people on linux-related forums who have determined the make and model of the chipset for the camera (presumably by opening up the camera and examining the chips) in order to find working Linux drivers or to request that someone write them. So I then check the chipset company's website (Vimicro.com) for drivers and BAM, there are the modern 64-bit drivers for windows. Sweet. This method also worked with an old Airlink PCI wifi card (ralink chipset).

I know a lot of you will say "Why not just try it in Linux" but I was pretty determined, and apparently support was lacking there as well.. I also like throwing the example out there because apparently manufacturers are LAZY and sometimes will even refuse to provide new drivers to their customers if they ALREADY EXIST. Sells more new cameras, I suppose. The point is, you shouldn't abandon all hope for support for your hardware just because the company whose name is on the box doesn't provide it, let alone because you lost the friggin driver disc. For someone who promotes Linux use, that goes against the entire spirit of Linux and open source. Sometimes it takes a little effort. What if your Linux distro didn't have the driver? You might have to (*gasp*) download the driver from a website and compile it yourself!

Re:Why bother? (1, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656103)

I'm thinking Microsoft has wised up after the Vista debacle with hardware support. Once Windows 7 hits beta, MS will do their best to keep the APIs the same. My company does some driver development and support for some MS Server services and we like to start at least testing with new OSes as soon as possible so we have an idea of what kind of work is going to be needed to get our stuff to work with the next version of windows.

Also, for everyone that bitches about Windows changing their API so regularly, you should look at your little child called Linux. If you are a hardware or software vendor that writes drivers for the Linux kernel and do not have your driver integrated into the kernel, it is extremely painful to maintain. Much more so than Windows ever has been. I did a year of driver development support SUSE and Redhat releases with our out-of-box driver, and the amount of API changes in some of the base level kernel interfaces is down right sickening. Sure you can say "why not submit the driver as a patch"... well, if you designed your driver in a way that doesn't fit the model the Linux bigwigs want, there is little to no way it will be accepted.

As much as people give Microsoft shit for their OS, I find them to be much more friendly and easy to work with when it comes to writing device drivers for their OS.

Re:Why bother? (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656159)

nvidia kernel driver installs just fine.

I can't believe Vista drivers don't work... (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656267)

After all the runaround with drivers for Vista, they completely changed the driver model again?

What kind of idiots are they employing?

Re:I can't believe Vista drivers don't work... (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656459)

"What kind of idiots are they employing?"
Very well paid ones probably.
The question is "are they getting what they paid for?"

Re:I can't believe Vista drivers don't work... (1)

the_banjomatic (1061614) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656531)

Except they didn't... Vista drivers work fine in the alpha, and that isn't expected to change

Re:Why bother? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656473)

"well, if you designed your driver in a way that doesn't fit the model the Linux bigwigs want, there is little to no way it will be accepted"

So, uh, design your driver in a standard way that's compatible with the kernel development model. Or stop whining if you choose to make life difficult for yourself.

Re:Why bother? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656601)

And who's going to cover the costs of broken NDAs, exactly? Because the "way they want" is generally open-source, and whether you or I like it or not, there are legal hurdles to making that work.

A stable ABI is a damn good thing.

Nigger Owner's Manual (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656001)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESSIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER bitches ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Nigger Owner's Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656403)

What's this a manual for operating you?

Should it be Microsoft problem? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656009)

Should Microsoft insure that its software compatible with hardware? After all software is a wrapper that allows a comfortable use of hardware.

Standards (5, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656057)

Nearly 2009 and we still can't plug in a printer and have it just work. The idea that any printer - consumer or professional - needs proprietary drivers that might have problems with Windows 7 is really sad. We need more standard HID devices, and better HID support in OSes.

Re:Standards (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656125)

Im more annoyed generic drivers are not more common. Even within one manufacturer, we get killed with our Print Server having to contain multiple drivers because the provided generic drivers from the manufactures dont cover a good amount of their printers or if they do are very buggy compared to the specific driver. Though since personally switching to the mac I can never go back to the windows print system in comparison to CUPS.

Re:Standards (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656133)

HID is a double edge sword. Take USB Mass Storage as an example, if there wasn't one, we might have file system tailor made for Flash memory now.
But now Mass Storage expose everything in simple linear blocks..., it's just not possible.

Well, I know the price might probably be much higher with much low adoption rate without Mass Storage HID...

Talking about Printer, there are actually PostScript standard which work reasonably well, except that you will lost some bells and whistles like Printer maintenance stuff. Microsoft also wants to push its XPS standard, which might be a good HID support candidates.

Re:Standards (2, Interesting)

setagllib (753300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656395)

All we need for the flash solution is a revised HID standard that does expose raw blocks. It can still be standard and uniform, just lower level.

Put it like this. If mass storage did not have the HID abstraction and wear levelling circuitry (primitive though it may be), Windows would have absolutely soiled every flash device out there with its uniquely bad IO layer. At least the raw device is slightly protected from Windows by the standard.

Re:Standards (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656243)

Unfortunately, we have the curse of penny-pinching to blame for that one. Printers nice enough to have Postscript interpreters have been just working with nothing more than a ppd for longer than I've been alive. More recently, USB has a standardized printer class, and IPP for network printing is not exactly exotic.

I don't know exactly why the printers actually available(particularly the cheap ones) have resisted standardization so sharply; but the state of the market is terrible, as you note, despite their being good ways to do it. It isn't like the bad old days of USB webcams, where everybody rolled their own because no standards existed, people seem to be actively doing the wrong thing with printers.

Re:Standards (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656551)

Damn it, I posted in this article before I saw this post. I should of waited and modded you up.

Re:Standards (1)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656533)

This is where Linux is good. If your printer is supported, chances are it will work out of the box. My printer is working fine (samsung clp300) although the ibook prints better in colour, Ubuntu drivers are easier to install.

Re:Standards (1)

GFree678 (1363845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656671)

If your printer is supported, chances are it will work out of the box.

I could say exactly the same thing about Vista. It detects my older Canon printer out of the box, like Ubuntu. But unlike Ubuntu, the drivers are fully featured (eg. they can show ink levels, initiate manual head cleaning, etc).

Seriously, this bullshit about underestimating Windows has got to fucking stop by the Linux crowd. Makes them look uneducated.

Re:Standards (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656905)

Ever think that maybe the hardware makers and MS are in cahoots and they have some sort of deal that says

"We will only support your hardware if you shaft "

Microsoft Begs Everyone To Take Them Seriously (0, Offtopic)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656071)

There, fix it for you.

Re:Microsoft Begs Everyone To Take Them Seriously (1, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656257)

Hardly. Everyone with half a brain in the PC market takes Microsoft seriously as it is, they don't need to beg. It's foolish not to take the vendor of the standard OS seriously, after all.

It's funny, though, the position Microsoft is in. Being the industry standard, they have the luxury of letting vendors write drivers for them (unlike the Linux folks). But as they're finding out, this also puts them at the mercy of the vendors. Delicious irony, I'd say. I wonder if this will lead to Microsoft writing drivers themselves in the future?

Re:Microsoft Begs Everyone To Take Them Seriously (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656637)

How's Linux's 0.91% market share feeling?

Christ. You make the rest of us who use Linux look bad.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656119)

Do I still have to pay MS and Verisign (every year!) for that driver MS want so much?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656365)

No, no. You Get to pay MS and Verisign(every year!) for that driver MS want so much.

Why take support seriously? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656135)

Microsoft doesn't, why should hardware makers?

Hardware support? (2, Insightful)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656177)

Microsoft is concerned about hardware support?
OK, I can guess that they caught a lot of flak for the recent drivers situation with Vista, but shouldn't they be more upfront about software support?

Of all the computer problems, how many of us are impacted by hardware? Yes, the hard drives die, and occasionally something will hiccup, but for every one of those issues, there are 10 "my computer is running slower now than a week ago", or there is a crazy file that I can't delete, or "I'm getting notices to buy a spyware cleaner". For all those issues, who do people call? Not Microsoft... Pfft, they call Dell, HP, or whomever they bought their box from.
So then Dell and HP in turn end up doing Microsoft software support. (Unless they just forward you to Microsoft's call center in India.)

Re:Hardware support? (2, Interesting)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656415)

The biggest problem when Vista was released was shitty Nvidia and Creative drivers. Nvidia drivers were responsible for 50% of vista crashes when it first came out, hence people thought vista was unstable and crap. MS doesn't want a repeat of this for win7.

Re:Hardware support? (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656451)

Yeah I like the one where you right/drag a file in XP SP3 and a new window comes up first asking if you wish to copy or move the file and then you need to once again select if you wish to move or copy the file.

That's a fun one to explain. User friendly my A**.

Re:Hardware support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656685)

I've never had that happen, and I have 2 machines with XP sp3 on them.

can I get a screenshot or similar, I'm interested in what you mean.

Re:Hardware support? (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656471)

"my computer is running slower now than a week ago", or there is a crazy file that I can't delete, or "I'm getting notices to buy a spyware cleaner"

People need to know there's alternatives. I've been running Mac OS lately, and I'm not wanting to go back. All the power of a full Unix shell with an interface that's miles better than either Windows or Gnome+Compiz. Of course, Ubuntu is definitely getting there for your average person, and it's free.

Re:Hardware support? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656487)

The very definition of an OEM implies that you're packaging the product and providing support... If I make an application that uses PostgreSQL, sell it, and the user has an issue with the database, they'll call me. Thats just...normal. Dell and HP do the same, just with hardware and software together. Thats also why if you buy an OEM version of Windows (or virtually any software), and you have issues, you can't call Microsoft, because YOU are support. If you buy a boxed copy at Bestbuy though, then you have support.

faith no more (0, Offtopic)

Wolfmandan72 (1395113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656203)

"All hope is gone!" -Slipknot

Blame Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656283)

Sounds like Microsoft is passing the blame on Vista...

An operating system should never be held responsible for drivers that don't work, especially when the problems are widespread right?????

This is the problem with MS (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656313)

The white box manufacturer know nothing of the OS. They didn't write it, they don't have the code, they don't even likely have all the documentation. They know how it supposed to run on the machine, but they have no ability to fix errors or look through code to ferret out unexpected and emergent behavior. Furthermore, the average white box manufacturer has a profit margin that is less than 20% of what MS enjoys.

Yet all the support is farmed out to the manufacture, which farms it out to the call center, which farms out to independent contractors reading from a computer script. How many levels does a problem have to move through before someone who can actually fix the problem sees it. I know that 99% of the complaints come from people who just can't seem to remember where the 'any key' is located, but every once in a while a real problem comes up, and it would be nice to talk to someone who knows the underlying architecture. I mean, MS can spend huge amounts of money to provide the anti-piracy annoy ware in MS WIndows XP, but not support the product?

I know when I was doing this sort of thing, it was nice to be in position directly connected to support to fix problems as they occurred. If there is a problem with the business environment right now, it is that everyone wants to be in fancy management positions, but no one wants to be on the front lines helping those annoying customer maximize the use of the product, the exact people who pay good money that makes us all rich in the first place.

(And I know that much of the time the end user is not the customer, only a means to a greater goal, and sometimes when the end user pays no money, the amount of deserved support might be minimal, but the priciple still applies.)

Anyone that understands the underlying architectur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656469)

e of an operating system and how it interacts with hardware on a meaningful level is making over 6 figures and does not want to talk to you.

That's why you get Indians making 1 dollar an hour.

Microsoft needs to take support seriously. (5, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656491)

Microsoft needs to be worried about it's own quality control issues first.

Network copies were REALLY broken when Vista was released. Copying files to and from a network was excruciatingly slow - how did that get past Microsoft's QA?

Explorer still occasionally shits the bed for no apparent reason. Why is explorer still the shell of the operating system? Someone should tell Microsoft that Netscape is no longer a threat to them.

There are a ton of BONE-HEADED design decisions in Vista (try selecting a wireless network with less than 5 or 6 clicks).

The ugly truth is that hardware manufacturers are not the cause of Vista's "perception problem". Vista is the cause of Vista's perception problems.

-ted

Re:Microsoft needs to take support seriously. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656527)

If by Explorer you mean Internet Explorer... its really NOT the shell of the system anymore.

Re:Microsoft needs to take support seriously. (1)

Zosden (1303873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656599)

No but I do believe that Explorer not Internet explorer resides inside the windows kernel. Whereas linux keeps it outside.

Re:Microsoft needs to take support seriously. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656769)

It actually doesn't. Its an application like any other that can be killed, move, restarted, or even removed. Some versions of Windows Server can even run without it installed at all. And I thought you meant IE since you brought Netscape up in your post.

hrrr (5, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656679)

Dear hardware makers:

We first take the chance to declare you the cultprits of the vista fiasco, bad hardware makers!.

Now please be a good boy and support Vista 7 right away, we know this is a sudden move with so few months left for the beginning of 2009 and you are still trying to support Vista. But now we decided to release another OS, so bitch please support that one already, thanks.

Linux Drivers are more important. (5, Insightful)

KozmoKramer (1117173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656721)

The manufacturers should spend more time collaborating with the Ubuntu and Mandriva communities. Windows 7 will suck no matter how much effort the manufacturers put into it. Why waste the extra time on a sinking ship?

Re:Linux Drivers are more important. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656939)

Because even if the ship were sinking there is money to be made before grabbing a life raft.

Sell to the 98% of the passengers for as long as you can and then if the boat doesn't look like it's going to stay afloat grab a life raft along with your briefcase full of money.

Can I run photoshop in linux? Nope. Can I run 3dsmax in linux? Nope. So in other words my fancy workstation would be a fancy eepc for browsing the web. Yep. That really encourages me to buy Video Corp's fancy new video card. So that I can run Open Office and Firefox.

"What's that? Linux doesn't require as new of CPUs and as much RAM? Why then as a hardware manufacturer would I want to encourage the efficient OS?"

Seriously though I hear a lot of bitching about how someone needs to upgrade their Athlon 2100 XP processor and 128MB of RAM to run Vista. If the concern of the user is that they don't want to buy new hardware--why would hardware manufacturers want to work with you?

Or... (1, Troll)

emptycorp (908368) | more than 5 years ago | (#25656777)

They could just update Vista to actually be compatible with all devices and release the "upgrades" as an update as it should be, not be the money-grubbing whores they are.

Microsoft begs hardware OEMs to write drivers. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25656871)

Intro: "Microsoft has confirmed that there will be a widespread public beta of Windows 7 in early 2009, while urging device manufacturers to start immediate testing with its pre-beta release to avoid the widespread hardware compatibility problems that contributed so much to the negative perception of Vista."

Interesting.

Meanwhile, Linux driver developers are begging to write drivers (at no cost) for hardware OEMs.

http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS6669895837.html [desktoplinux.com]

As a hardware OEM, you would have to be thinking that it is going to cost you way, way less to get a working driver for your new product written for Linux.

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