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Intel to Increase Linux Support, Release Centrino Drivers

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the seeing-the-same-way dept.

Intel 381

jonman_d writes "ZDNet UK is reporting that Intel has promised to increase Linux support by releasing Linux drivers at the same time it releases Windows drivers for its hardware. According to the general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group, Intel wants Linux users to be able to use their hardware as easily, or easier, than any other hardware on the planet." Pingla writes in with more good news: "Intel promises to release Linux drivers for its Centrino chipset at the same time it releases drivers for Windows. An article featuring Lindows (aka Lin---s) on CNet has more." Sadly, the Centrino support will most likely be a proprietary driver, but it's better than nothing.

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i like buttsex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338474)

i like buttsex, receiving that is.

Re:i like buttsex (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338557)

i like buttsex, receiving that is.

Congratulations, sir! You have taken the first step in becoming a GNU/Linux user!

nothing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338476)

from nothing is nothing.

WHAT I SAW IN A /. AD BOX: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338477)

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, adfu-admin@sf.vasoftware.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/1.3.27 Server at sc8-adfu-image2.osdn.com Port 80

Wow, this Open Source stuff is BRILLIANT!

Re:WHAT I SAW IN A /. AD BOX: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338693)

That's what happens when you trust your website to the communist Apache software. Windows Server 2003 and MS SQL Server could really do this website a world of good.

Proprietary drivers (5, Interesting)

mytec (686565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338480)

Sadly, the Centrino support will most likely be a proprietary driver, but it's better than nothing.

I'll take proprietary drivers if it means I can use the hardware I like with the OS I love to get work done.

Re:Proprietary drivers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338521)

I'll take proprietary drivers if it means I can use the hardware I like with the OS I love to get work done.

People should not accept this or we'll get into another situation like you have with NVidia. Get a brand new box and you can't even do a net install on your Nforce chipset box because you need the nvnet driver which is a proprietary binary-only module and the manufacturer of the motherboard may or may not have included a pre-compiled binary on a floppy for you to use, but it's most likely only for Red Hat 9, etc. Screw all binary drivers, I insist on open source drivers for everything. The only thing I've had to relent on lately is the graphics card since the Nvidia stuff is the only decent graphics card out there but the modules are binary only. Sadly, my Nvidia card is also the most unstable part of my Linux box and it crashes (hard locks up) at least every 2 weeks or so and I have to power cycle the box. Fscking Nforce craptastic Asus A7N8X-Deluxe piece of shit motherboard.

Re:Proprietary drivers (5, Insightful)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338598)

People should not accept this or we'll get into another situation like you have with NVidia.


Which is what? A ompany providing kick-ass drivers that give superior performance than that same hardware would give in Windows? What do you suggest using as an alternative to NVIDIA? Ati? HAH, good luck trying to get those drivers to work, open-source or not! And if you do get them to work, what kind of performance are you getting from them? And how about their AMD64-support? NVIDIA has AMD64-drivers available right now. Where are Ati's drivers??? Where are open-source AMD64-drivers for Ati?

Get a brand new box and you can't even do a net install on your Nforce chipset box because you need the nvnet driver which is a proprietary binary-only module


One word: Forcedeth.

Sadly, my Nvidia card is also the most unstable part of my Linux box and it crashes (hard locks up) at least every 2 weeks or so and I have to power cycle the box.


You know, you CAN use the open-source NV-drivers that ship with Xfree. Or you could use the standard VESA-drivers. So it's not like you are forced to use those drivers. I for one haven't had any problems with NV-drivers.

Re:Proprietary drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338745)

Where are Ati's drivers??? Where are open-source AMD64-drivers for Ati?

What AMD64 chipsets does ATI have out? None! They all use Athlon/Duron or P4 cpus!

Re:Proprietary drivers (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338748)

Ati? HAH, good luck trying to get those drivers to work, open-source or not! Thanks to my 1337 h4x0r skilz, I had the open-source drivers running fine after invoking the voodoo `emerge xfree` command. That was real hard. And if you do get them to work, what kind of performance are you getting from them? 1800 fps at glxgears, seems quite correct to me.

Re:Proprietary drivers (1)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338763)

glxgears is next to useless. What about Unreal Tournament? Wolfenstein? Quake3?

Re:Proprietary drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338750)

Where are open-source AMD64-drivers for Ati?

Eh? I'd imagine they're somewhere in the XFree86 tree you just built with your x86-64 version of GCC..

Re:Proprietary drivers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338772)

"A ompany providing kick-ass drivers that give superior performance than that same hardware would give in Windows?"

Superior performance as in shorter time from bootup to lockup?

Re:Proprietary drivers (4, Informative)

Bobulusman (467474) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338605)

I've got that same motherboard. While I haven't fiddled with the other onboard lan card, the onboard 3com one can used with only a vanilla kernel, 2.4.22 or higher. (Don't think it's gotten into the 2.6 series yet) Just use the 3com driver.

Otherwise, haven't had any problems with my board. I'd hardly call it 'craptastic'. I've gotten much better and more reliable performance out of it than my previous boards, while using Windows or Linux.

Re:Proprietary drivers (1)

Bobulusman (467474) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338702)

I should point out that I'm using the newer 2.0 revision of the board. I hear the earlier revision DID have some problems.

Re:Proprietary drivers (4, Informative)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338627)

You have a choice, restrict yourself only to hardware that provides open source drivers, use what is made available, or use another OS. Centrino users don't really have the option of demanding open source, if they chose to use the hardware that they want to use. You made the same choice with your video card.

If Intel's choices boil down to "release a binary driver or ignore Linux", which realistically, they do, I'd prefer that they support Linux in any way that they realistically can.

Intel is obligated to its shareholders to protect it's technology. Open source drivers could tip their cards to AMD or some newcomer could gain the upper hand. That is the REALITY of how the hardware business works.

I have had no problem with Nvidia drivers and stability, but I stayed away from the Nforce chipset due to the ongoing support problems it has had.

I too would prefer open source drivers, but I'm not going to threaten to hold my breath until I turn blue just because all they want to give me is binaries.

Re:Proprietary drivers (1, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338629)

I too have the same motherboard and it is rock solid for me, I have this system up nearly non stop and it only comes down when I want to dink with some internal hardware, 30-45 day uptimes on average. My experience with driver support, exquisite! When ever I need new drivers for it or my nVidia video card, I can quickly and easily find them

Btw... did I forget to mention that I'm running Windows?

Re:Proprietary drivers (2, Informative)

solidox (650158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338672)

there are several PCB revisions of that motherboard, you must of been lucky enuff to get one of the newer ones.
the earlier ones ARE unstable and it's fairly common knowlage that their problematic, especially with linux.

personally i hate nforce chipsets (via for me) and i hate thier gfx cards too (ati for me)

Re:Proprietary drivers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338703)

Behind the scenes, I am certain that Intel's plans are to go Open Source with subsequent versions of the drivers. They were already too far into development on a proprietary driver when the decision was made to do it Open Source. Rather than wait another 6 months, they are releasing what they have (proprietary) and then they will work on making one that is open source.

Don't bitch. Even if it is like nVidia, at least you CAN get a driver. (or at least you will, soon)

e100/e1000 began proprietary (4, Insightful)

gladbach (527602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338715)

and now they are in the kernels, and pretty much edged out the eepro100 drivers for intel nics.

So, even if they are originally released as proprietary, who cares, I bet the source will sooner or later be released.

Re:Proprietary drivers (4, Insightful)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338738)

What sort of "insistance" are you practising here when you are openly admitting that you use one of the prime offenders in the binary driver category? I'd say it's more like you "prefer" open source drivers but will take whatever you can get. That puts you squarely in the same boat with the others who don' really care if the driver is open or not, as long as it exists and they can use their hardware.

Re:Proprietary drivers (1)

Dalcius (587481) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338765)

I've been running Linux on an ASUS A7N8X with an MSI GeForce 4 Ti4400 for a very long time now. I can't remember the last time my system hard-locked up. I absolutely love my rig.

Perhaps you have some bad hardware or a bad config?

Cheers

Re:Proprietary drivers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338564)

That's what I've been saying all along. The good thing about Linux boxen (besides being free as in beer) is that they don't get virii and BSODs like M$ Windows^H^H^H^Hblows.

Re:Proprietary drivers (1)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338569)

I'll take proprietary drivers if it means I can use the hardware I like with the OS I love to get work done.

Are you sure this is still Linux, when very important kernel module is not open source (and not developed by kernel hackers)? IMHO it may be 99,99% Linux (or GNU/Linux if you want), but not 100%.

Re:Proprietary drivers (4, Insightful)

sploxx (622853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338615)

I would put it this way: The brand "Intel" should be less important for the buying decision than a GPLed driver for the hardware. I think there are several, real benefits for using GPLed drivers:

- fix bugs/do workarounds for the hardware the manufacturer doesn't care about
- tweak the driver to your needs (this is not a joke: I'm glad that the tmscsim-driver for Tekram SCSI cards could be tweaked by me to work seamlessly with my old SCSI scanner!)
- have support for the hardware as long as YOU wish

Re:Proprietary drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338728)

Suppose I want to put my money where your mouth is. I'm looking for a mini-pci WLAN 802.11g card for which open source Linux drivers are available. Prism GT cards seem to be a good match, and there appears to be only one product which meets my requirements based on that chip: Xterasys XG600. Problem is I'm in Europe and all I can find here are Broadcom based cards for which there are no drivers. Does anyone know a distributor for Xterasys products? I don't want to spend more than the price of the card for shipping...

Re:Proprietary drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338626)

Where the FUCK are the *BSD drivers ??
.

Re:Proprietary drivers (5, Informative)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338697)

If you take the proprietary driver, it means that at some point you may not be able to get your work done. That's great that Intel is going to attempt an on-time release for Linux drivers once. But what happens every time the kernel changes? Or some system library changes? Or the compiler changes?

And I'm not blaming Intel for this one either. Hardware installation under Linux is a nightmare of inconsistency. If the shipped kernel doesn't fully support your hardware, good luck! The typical Windows user is still not ready to compile a kernel.

I sort of like what Nvidia does with it's video cards: The 'compile a small kernel interface on-the-spot' type of script. I'm sorry to hear about the fellow with the Nforce chipset problems, but Nvidia's video card drivers are solid.

first post? (-1)

arabagast (462679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338483)

yaiks- kewlor :D Sound nice though, now I can finally move my laptop 100% to linux.

-Damnation is forever

Eh, kinda off topic, (-1, Offtopic)

Lord Graga (696091) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338486)

But, seriously, I see that the article was written after the namechange, I don't see why it would make anything but problems by calling it Lindows after that (why not "aka lindash"?)...

Also kind of off-topic... (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338498)

But Lindash may not be in the clear - after all, MS calls its X-Box loader the MS Dashboard..

Yeah right... (0, Redundant)

locknloll (638243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338489)

Thus far, the company has been hesitant to ship an open-source driver, based on its concerns that showing Centrino's underlying programming instructions might reveal previously unavailable information about the wireless networking technology.

And probably other stuff, too... but that's just a wild guess.

Re:Yeah right... (1, Funny)

paulhar (652995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338571)

It's where the Windows source code is hiding...

Centrino touched my junk! (Lol its 5, funny) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338492)

[touchedmyjunk.com]
centrino touched my junk liberally. she strapped me in to her zif-socket and she couldnt keep her offensive hands off of me. she was performing many red flag touches. i couldnt believe what the fuck was going on. i told centrino the city would not approve of a millionaire touching an underage kid for free.
can you believe it? centrino did all this. she picked me off the street, strapped my arms and legs down in the zif-socket's passenger seat, and just wouldn't stop fondling my cock'n'balls.
they definately were red flag touches. the goddamn referee she had in the back seat kept on raising up this red flag every time she touched my junk but did centrino care? NO WAY! she just kept on doing it. I couldn't believe what the fuck was going on, indeed. I pleaded with centrino but to no avail. I told her the city would not approve of such a wealthy woman touching an underage kid like me (at the time I was 13) without at least compensating me for the trauma and the use of my body as her own personal plaything.
this got to her, worrying about her image. she continued to fondle me, all the while ignoring the referee's red flags. then she drove the zif-socket to my house and ejected the seat i was in! it was amazing. but surprisingly, after I woke up the next morning, my bank account had $150k in it!!! Can you believe it?

Setting an example (5, Interesting)

anish1411 (671295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338497)

I don't think it matters if this is a proprietary driver, just yet. With big people like Intel and IBM showing an interest in Linux, its bound to encourage others to do the same. Then with time, open source drivers might just happen?

Re:Setting an example (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338512)

No, it will probably be the opposite. As Linux grows in popularity, you'll see more and more vendors shipping proprietary drivers for their products. That's not a bad thing unless OSS is your religion.

Re:Setting an example (5, Insightful)

elgaard (81259) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338609)

>That's not a bad thing unless OSS is your religion.

Or if you use something other than ix86 platforms. Vendors will probably not make binary drivers for CF-cards on my Yopy.
Although in this Centrino case this might not be a big issue.

Or you want to path your driver. I.e to allow TV-out on your graphics card. Or fix a bug.

Or you use a !Linux OSS OS, like BSD.

Or you use an old or experimental kernel.

Re:Setting an example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338613)

How is this a troll? He's spot on! How is having broader support a bad thing???

Fucking zealots.

Re:Setting an example (4, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338723)

No, it will probably be the opposite. As Linux grows in popularity, you'll see more and more vendors shipping proprietary drivers for their products. That's not a bad thing unless OSS is your religion.

It's quite a bad thing, irrespective of religion, if the vendors don't release enough documentation of the devices to make open source drivers. We'll end up in a situation where it'll be difficult to install Linux/*BSD on a machine whithout proprietary drivers. As an example, for the NForce chipset I've to buy a NIC due to lack of driver.

As documentation goes, Intel network division is very bad : they release GPL drivers, but no documentation is given (without NDA). That makes it difficult to make good open source drivers. And now the same company wants us to accept more and more hardware components with only a vague promise of drivers, much less documentation?

Re:Setting an example (4, Insightful)

Uggy (99326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338732)

I disaggree. The problem with proprietary drivers is they never keep pace with OSS development, hell, I can't even submit a patch before somebody else has done it nearly 99.9% of the time. Things just move too fast.

You want to upgrade to new fancy-schmancy kernel 2.7.x and you can't because your CPU-centr-a-yummy needs 2.6.x to install properly. They never keep up or give anything more than half-assed support. I had an nVidia TNT2, and I gave up on nVidia stuff, because I hated being locked in to THEIR schedule... and it crashed a lot, would corrupt the video (you could log in remotely though) and the only thing I could do was reset. I moved on.

Re:Setting an example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338575)

A proprietary driver will most likely not include monitor or master mode. It is a step in the right direction, but if Intel thinks that's all it takes, they are mistaken.

Re:Setting an example (5, Insightful)

hweimer (709734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338616)

I don't think it matters if this is a proprietary driver, just yet. With big people like Intel and IBM showing an interest in Linux, its bound to encourage others to do the same. Then with time, open source drivers might just happen?

That will take much longer if non-free drivers are available. Intel said somewhere that they won't release the driver as free software because they fear that this would reveal too much information about the hardware itself. So when Intel is out, the driver has to come from a third party. And clearly, the urge to develop a free driver is much lower when there is already a proprietary one available.

**SIGH** (-1, Flamebait)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338506)

Sadly, the Centrino support will most likely be a proprietary driver, but it's better than nothing.

Who the hell cares besides RMS? I love using my machine and it has an nVidia card in it. I don't care that their "driver" is closed source, I can play a lot of heavy duty games with it.

Re:**SIGH** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338515)

There are games for Linux?

And no, Tux-racer doesn't count.

Re:**SIGH** (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338746)

BZFlag? Unreal Tournament (including GOTY, 2003 AND 2004)? Armagetron?

Then what about Linux? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338544)

Then I guess Linux been Free Software does not matter either? I am serious, what's the adventage if Linux is going to have the same issues than other OSes: have to get drivers every now and then from different places instead of just upgrade kernel or distro, "play but do not touch", "upgrade your hardware becuase we do not support it anymore", "we do not like your architecture, just x86-32", etc.

Re:**SIGH** (5, Insightful)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338548)

Who the hell cares besides RMS? I love using my machine and it has an nVidia card in it. I don't care that their "driver" is closed source, I can play a lot of heavy duty games with it.

It's not about RMS. Open source drivers benefit the development of the kernel, and also the users of the drivers and hardware those drivers support. Remember when the linux kernel was at 2.6, but we had to wait some time before nvidia released 2.6 compatible drivers? If they were GPL, the kernel developers could have incorporated the drivers into the kernel and development would have gone concurrently.

Even now, sticking a closed source driver in there is problematic if there's a kernel panic. How are you going to debug it? What about security? Nobody ourside of nvidia has audited the code. There could be a potential vulnerability that they missed. We negate the benefits of open source if only *part* of our program is open source.

Re:**SIGH** (5, Insightful)

Mr Smidge (668120) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338558)

Who the hell cares besides RMS?

That's quite a flamebait-inducing post you've got there...

What about other operating systems? Do we have to badger Intel to release drivers for BSD, and whatever other operating systems might be released in the future?

What happens if we release a new kernel, or decide to change something that breaks the rigid structure into which this proprietary driver is locked?

Releasing proprietary drivers like this seems to be no more than a "keep them happy" quick-fire solution, as this is by no means a long-term solution. And frankly, ignoring the long-term is a very short-sighted viewpoint indeed.

What's the ideal solution? Write your drivers so that they use a well-documented and open API that can always be well-supported, and make the code as portable as possible. Then what happens when you want to use your hardware with a different operating system? Well, so long as your operating system implements that particular well-documented and open driver API, then you shouldn't have any problem. Recompile, rinse, repeat.

Think ahead. We wouldn't be pushing for open source drivers without reason.

Re:**SIGH** (-1, Offtopic)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338679)

That's quite a flamebait-inducing post you've got there...

Don't you mean "That's flamebaitbait"?

SIGH precisely, but this is all desktop stuff (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338717)

Where Linux is competing is in the server farm space. There, it doesn't matter too much about binary drivers for nVidia and Centrino, because there are desktop/laptop technologies. Servers are always going to have copper or fibre going into their NICs, and bought specced up for the OS they are going to use. Sure, some servers might migrate but most have supported hardware. Most good SCSI cards, NICs and chipsets are supported, anything else is cruft in the server world. VESA support is more than you need for a console, and great if you have it.

Wireless, 3D, all that stuff... is end user high margin hardware. Therefore, it's the hardest thing for the big manufacturers to open. Personally, I don't care. Desktop Linux for me means using VESA but gaming and all that will come much later, I couldn't care less. Energy should be used consolidating server based Linux and efficient corporate desktop stuff. Anything else, right now, is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. At least nVidia have realised that there are some gamers who like Linux who will buy their cards (and rave about them even to Windows gamers) at high profit margins because there is a binary driver.

Everyone else is more interested in where Open Office is going, quite frankly... and when there will be a proper CMS toolset for Linux.

Re:**SIGH** (1)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338726)

What happens if we release a new kernel

The kernel should look exactly the same to the driver, so that you don't need a new driver for a new point release.

or decide to change something that breaks the rigid structure into which this proprietary driver is locked?

The rigid structure you speak of should be should be, er, rigid. ie. it shouldn't have to change or be broken very often, facilitating driver compatibility.

What's the ideal solution?

Have the Linux kernel do more to make it easier to use binary drivers? ;-)

Because as you can see from Intel, they don't seem to be prepared to release all the code into the open that makes the Centrino wireless card work. Maybe if we all sign an online petition, Intel will change their mind? ie. you just gotta accept it. In the mean time, why should be it so difficult to use binary kernel modules in Linux?

Re:**SIGH** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338773)

In reading several Intel statements on the centrino drivers I've gotten the distinct impression that they WANT to release open source drivers; and likely will once they figure out what can be open sourced without giving away their farm.

It's not the path I would take; but at least they're walking in our direction..

Re:**SIGH** (1)

zz99 (742545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338600)

> Who the hell cares besides RMS?

What do you do when the manufacturer goes belly up, or just descides to terminate the support for your product line?
Just throw it out and buy a new piece of hardware?

How about Linus? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338601)

Seriously, Linus doesn't like propretary drivers and will happily make source code compatible but binary incompatible changes. Linus does not want to have to deal with proprietary binary compatibility crap for drivers. It just clogs up the kernel with a lot of dead wood and dead weight. For open source, Linus can integrated the code and ensure that any changes will be automatically propagated to these drivers. With proprietary drivers, his hands are tied.

Re:**SIGH** (1)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338674)

I do not want to execute code I can not audit.

Re:**SIGH** (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338736)

I do not want to execute code I can not audit.

You say that, yet how much of the code have you actually "audited"? Hell, you haven't even finished the kernel yet, have you?

Re:**SIGH** (1)

eldacan (726222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338706)

I care. Simple: when the hardware is no longer supported my the manufacturer, what do you do if it becomes incompatible with new kernel versions? Or let's say that for some reason (I can think of one), you don't want to use XFree86. Too sad, your driver doesn't work with Y or freedesktop.org X servers... you have to stay with whatever the manufacturer chooses.

You will care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338730)

When your computer crashes for unknown reasons and the kernel hackers will refuse to help because you use a closed source driver.

Re:**SIGH** (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338754)

I love using my machine and it has an nVidia card in it. I don't care that their "driver" is closed source, I can play a lot of heavy duty games with it.

Heavy duty games? On Linux? I knew this was a troll... why didn't you throw in a "and who cares about BSD drivers, it's dying anyway?" line?

Re:**SIGH** (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338766)

Who the hell cares besides RMS?

Me. I have a ppc. (of course I'm not concerned about Centrino stuff this time, but I was when I couldn't buy a powerbook due to lack of 3D, when said powerbooks shipped with nvidia chips).

Big Hurdle (5, Insightful)

Mork29 (682855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338508)

Many claim that linux is held back by several factors including ease of use, interface, etc.. etc... I've always felt it was hardware compatiability. You could never be sure all of your hardware would work easily, and the average user can't try and go and build their own custom drivers, or even download them. This will certainly put pressure on the rest of the hardware manufacturors, and this could help linux take a few more points in the market share. No, it's not the magical answer, as their isn't one, but it's another start.

Re:Big Hurdle (2, Insightful)

egghat (73643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338743)

I deeply deeply second that.

(That's the main reason why the Linux desktop will take off on the corporate desktop first (if at all). Every good administrator looks for unified hardware in a big company. Checking if Linux is OK is simple. With 100 different computer configurations you will always find combinations that won't work with Linux (but of course work with Windows (at least kind of work ...). Think of laptops (Centrino), think of 802.11g WLAN, ... )

bye egghat.

Lin---s (5, Funny)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338510)

Looks like the censors finally beeped out the profanity.

Re:Lin---s (2, Funny)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338742)

Looks like the censors finally beeped out the profanity.

"Dow" is a profanity?

Nice, but... (5, Interesting)

BassKnight (525986) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338517)

It's nice that one of the giants to adopt this position, but I wonder about the form of these drivers. Maybe it's me, but I find more convenient to have drivers that can be compiled as kernel modules, and diffently from, for example Nvidia drivers, that they're not closed source, and license-compatible with the Linux kernel, so people can contribute in order to improve them, and maybe who knows if they can be integrated in the Linux kernel tree. Maybe i'm being too idealist.

It makes him sad. It is to cry. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338518)

Sadly, the Centrino support will most likely be a proprietary driver...

Awww, poor nerd. Does it make you sad? What will you do when you're done crying? You gonna cry some more?

Sorry, but everyone isn't a Communist. Both Real and Intellectual property actually means something to many of us.

Reverse engineer the drivers! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338527)

If you really care about freedom, then help reverse engineer the drivers. Several drivers have already been reverse engineered (such as nvnet for example), whats so hard about a simple wireless network adapter!

Re:Reverse engineer the drivers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338649)

Of course this is always a solution, but the point is that people shouldn't have to do this. There are other more critical and fascinating problems out there that deserve time.

Dumb (4, Insightful)

adrianbaugh (696007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338531)

> Thus far, the company has been hesitant to ship an open-source driver, based on its concerns that showing Centrino's underlying programming instructions might reveal previously unavailable information about the wireless networking technology.

Yeah. Because obviously no other companies have been able to produce wireless networking products. I can see the point of commercial secrecy when you have some l33t hardware that no-one else can make, but when you just have yet another implementation of something that's already widespread and implemented in lots of different ways it seems dumb to worry too much about protecting it through drivers. If the other companies cared enough about your particular methods they'd just get a team of coders to reverse engineer the closed-source drivers.

Re:Dumb (1)

Plammox (717738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338567)

I think this is just a part of Intel's mindset.

In a court case, they need to be able to prove they exercised due dilligence in protecting their product's trade secrets, patents, etc...

Embarassed Intel into it using NDISWrapper (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338535)

Initial Centrino support in Lindows will be based on existing Linux adaptations of Windows drivers, Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said. "It works great," he said. "It's invisible to the consumer."


It's sad that Intel had to be embarased into fullfilling the promise it made to support Centrino (when they annouced the chipset) by having someone ship a NDISWrapper with their Windows driver in a distro...

I'll believe Intel, when I see it the driver...

Intel gets it IMO (4, Informative)

nonmaskable (452595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338540)

I have used several Intel Linux development products for several years. The C++ compiler, performance primitive library (IPP), and VTUNE are all extremely excellent products, and well supported under Linux.

It would be nice if VTUNE would be brought up to equal footing with VTUNE for Windows, but it's pretty good as is.

Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (5, Insightful)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338545)

Seriously, what makes it so sad?

Intel can do what they want. They are the owners of their hardware designs and the drivers to make that hardware function.

If it's so sad that Intel is going to provide proprietary drivers, do you get sad everytime you get into your automobile? (The computer under your hood mosty likely uses proprietary drivers to interface with the autmobile.)

There is room for both open and closed software in this world. I for one envision a world where the Operating System is wide open with all the tools one needs to make whatever changes they wish to it and to develop whatever they want to on it. If hardware manufacturers want to keep some or all of their drivers 'secret' that's fine, let them. If application developers want to keep their 'Whiz-Bang 2.0' application proprietary, let them.

Believe whatever you want. I have and still use quite a large amount of both proprietary and open source software and in some cases, the open source software is better, in other cases, the proprietary software is better, even for the same task.

What needs to end are silly proprietary APIs put into an OS by particular vendors to allow their other applications to run like the dickens while making competitor's applications less capable.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (5, Interesting)

id09542 (635670) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338657)

Actually I do get sad when I get in my car with a proprietary computer under the hood. I enjoy "tinkering" and doing minor maintenance to my car, but something as simple as an oxygen sensor now requires a $50 trip to the dealer to tell me this is the reason why my check engine light is on.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (2, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338682)

If it's so sad that Intel is going to provide proprietary drivers, do you get sad everytime you get into your automobile?

No, I get sad every time I take it in for service and have to pay $400 for a new computer control module to fix a problem that a new $75 generic open source controller could fix ;^)

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338735)

No, I get sad every time I take it in for service and have to pay $400 for a new computer control module to fix a problem that a new $75 generic open source controller could fix ;^)

You'd be even sadder when you hear the traffic fatality statistics increase because of open source. I know I wouldn't like my car to have a kernel panic or library dependency issue because of some backwater programmer's shoddy code. Open source cars? No thanks, I trust professional proprietary solutions more.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (3, Insightful)

lazy_arabica (750133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338707)

Do you remember how much time people had to wait to get a proper nvidia driver working with the 2.6 kernel ? We had to use an unofficial patch, which brought many problems with ACPI, was incompatible with many configurations, etc.

What's is interesting in Linux kernel, is that the driver API is always changing ; backward compatibility has little or no importance in the development. Enterprises developing proprietary drivers are not very responsive to these changes. Having GPL'd drivers included in the kernel permits to adress problems quickly and efficiently.

Testing and review is the strength of Free Software.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338711)

There is room for both open and closed software in this world.

Yes there is. That does not mean that the choice is value neutral, however.

The licensing of the relevant code is a part of the feature set just as much as the checklist items for the hardware is. It is another item that the customer needs to evaluate and contrast with competing offerings.

This is why the anguished cries of some manufacturers against governments requiring open source rings so hollow. Just as a customer can require for instance Word file import capability, or three year installation and upgrade support, they can require open source compatible licensing. It is another feature that may carry more or less importance depending on the customer.

So, if someone says they will not consider hardware without open source drivers, that just means they, for various reasons, value the feature of open source relatively highly, and are ready to pick another supplier to get the feature they want. Note that it really is not just about whether open source or proprietary software is better; the licensing is in itself one (sometimes major) factor in determining the "betterness" of a piece of software.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (5, Funny)

arose (644256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338722)

Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little hardware compatibility deserve neither drivers nor liberty.

Re:Why would 'Proprietary Drivers' be so 'sad'? (1)

james b (31361) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338758)

It's sad because Intel could have released open drivers, and (possibly) it's now less likely that anyone will bother trying to write open implementations.

Open drivers are better than proprietary ones because there are no disadvantages, and there exist advantages such as allowing Linux distributions to contain them by default, the kernel to include them, and any potential bugs to be fixed by concerned users, rather than fretfully waiting for the landlordesque 'owner' to fix it for you.

Proprietary software is still OK, still useful, and still (as CowboyNeal said) better than nothing. However, one of the most exciting things about Linux is the spirit of open charity and freedom embodied in sharing and cooperating. When someone releases linux driver code which is not open, it saddens those who like the usual open nature of Linux drivers.

Imagine, years from now, that Intel has died, and Linux has died. You find an old 'centrino' laptop, and want to make it do something cool. You find a cool operating system, let's call it 'Froonix', and boot it up. But when you try out certain features of the laptop, they don't work. There's some message about 'proprietary drivers' that couldn't be ported from Linux, a predecessor of Froonix. It's sad, right?

Keeping drivers proprietary, which usually means they are tied to one hardware and software platform forever, is shortsighted and irresponsible... I've thrown out a PCMCIA network card, for example, because its drivers were only written for windows 95. The company has no interest in writing any more (it's a discontinued product) and yet the still-useful hardware cannot work with any current OS. Because of some ridiculous desire to keep an obsolete trade secret or two.

You may not agree, of course (from your post it looks like you don't), but can you understand why it saddens certain people?

Give us documentation... instead of closed drivers (5, Insightful)

zz99 (742545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338546)

"...Intel has promised to increase Linux support by releasing Linux drivers at the same time it releases Windows drivers for its hardware"

I doubt that they will open souce their drivers. So the Linux developers will write their own anyway, whenever they can.

And personaly, as a user, I find open source drivers much more convenient.

Re:Give us documentation... instead of closed driv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338642)

Why do you hate commercial software? What is so wrong with Intel protecting its' employees hard work? I know if I worked at Intel, I sure as hell wouldn't want my competitors to take advantage of my innovations.

proprierty drivers (5, Interesting)

gunix (547717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338576)

what is so secret about them, really?

To use them for your own hardware, don't you have to create the exact same hardware? So no use there, since you have your own hardware...
To use the hardware independet part of the code? Well.. that ought to be a lot of code.

To use their algorithms? Well, there are a lot of code already they can have a look at (without telling they looked at it, if they are evil)..

And if they are to stupid to come up with an algorithm of their own, how expencive would it be to hire someone to do it?

I don't get it...

Re:proprierty drivers (3, Informative)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338635)

The problems reside in keeping trade secrets and sometimes even in using licensed code in your drivers. Imagine if you licensed some sort of technology from someone for a cost for use in your drivers. I'm sure they wouldn't be happy if you distributed (for free) their code along with yours since it would be required to compile the code.

Re:proprierty drivers (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338670)

There are issues with regulations: Many WLAN chipsets are within regulation boundaries only due to software control. With a completely open driver, people could use channels which are off-limits for WLAN or boost the signal strength. Many drivers are therefore split into a firmware part which is kept proprietary and executed on the card and a host part which is open and runs on the system processor. Sometimes this is not possible because some chipsets rely on the system processor even for low-level control. Splitting an existing driver into proprietary parts and open parts can take some time too.

I just don't get the idea of the Centrino anyway (4, Insightful)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338587)

Who cares if wireless is built onto the CPU. I sure don't. Plus the Centrino is outdated technology. I wouldn't buy a new laptop that didn't support 802.11g anyway.

Re:I just don't get the idea of the Centrino anywa (2, Interesting)

whovian (107062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338625)

Totally agree here. Now if only we could have accelerated ati 9600 and broadcomm drivers, we would have clear sailing with emachines's AMD64 laptop.

show me the binary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338591)

"promises" are just that. I hope Intel follows through because it is likely I will then buy that laptop i have kept putting off buying.

Re:show me the binary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338755)

i thought that laptop that you kept putting off buying has a PPC chip in it...you were just *waiting* for the price to go down. :-P

open source drivers (2, Insightful)

tuggy (694581) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338594)

having this drivers open is not only for nerds or geeks to be happy. it would probably help the kernel people to include a better support for it.. possibly having it better integrated in the kernel..

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338599)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Join the fun!!! [slashdot.org]

Do you know gamespy.slashdot.org??? [slashdot.org]

proprietary drivers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338606)

A bunch of people in this thread have already posted responses that say things like "I don't care if a driver is bianary, I want to use my hardware, the only people who care are free software zealots."

Bullshit. Proprietary drivers are a bad idea for linux. Now I have to say, the licensing issue does matter to me. Even if you don't care, there are plenty of technical reasons to avoid them and pester a company to release the source for their drivers. First of all, the code is usually sub-par. EEs right them, they're smart people, no doubt, but most of them aren't programmers and lot's of bugs and race conditions show up. The OSS community can't help debug them because we don't have the source. Furthermore, on a more personal level, most of the kernel hackers don't give two shits about proprietary drivers, because of that, they generally stay buggy and improperly maintained. Intel is a big enough company that they'll properly produce high-quality drivers; however, it is simply a fact that letting the OSS community have the source would increase their quality, more eyes looking at the code, and they would be the same people that have written the kernel. These debates flair up all the time on LKML. I was too lazy to go look for links to specific discussions, if you're interested in the issue however, they wouldn't be hard to find.

- Ryan, who can't remember his password right now, and so posted AC

Intel Centrino Drivers: A Series of Rumours (5, Interesting)

wehe (135130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338607)

Intel is announcing plans to release Linux drivers for the WLAN part of their centrino technology from the time beginning. Though there are no facts yet, no release date, no statement whether the drivers will be binary only or Open Source, no information which chipset generations will be supported eventually and so on. See details of the story and How to Get Linux Running on Centrino Laptops [tuxmobil.org] at TuxMobil. So don't miss to sign the Linux Support On Centrino Petition! More at the link above.

To everyone saying whats wrong with proprietery. (5, Insightful)

MooKore 2004 (737557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338636)

Read this. Here is the problem. The kernel developers arent GPL zealots like RMS is, but closed source modules are a problem for them. If a kernel module crashes, and it is the propreitery modules fault, then they can't find out whats wrong and unable to sort out the bug. That is why since 2.6 the kernel developers discourage acccess to the kernel. By opening the drivers, drivers can be more stable on your system.

To those who say, but Windows DRivers are closed. They are not to the kernel developers. When installing new drivers you may of had a warning that a driver wasnt signed. A signed driver means one that has had its source code audited by MS for bugs, and is more stable than a unsigned one. Microsoft dosent like closed source (unsigned) drivers, and will warn you if you try to install it.

So if you want a stable Linux, don't load closed source modules into it. Dont take unstabllity for short term hardware support over stabillity in the long term. Encourage companies to open their source, or reverse engineer and stablise their drivers!

PARENT IS A KNOWN GOATSE TROLL. MOD DOWN! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338770)

Yu0 fail it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8338637)

The 0fficial GAY

Will other organizations follow suit? (5, Interesting)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338650)

Kudos to intel. Even if the drivers are proprietary, at least they are releasing drivers tailored for their hardware to run under linux. This has been a concern of mine ever since recently switching from the Windows world to linux. Although I may sound like a typical end user when I say this, when I switched from Windows to Linux, but it was an extreme pain in the tail to even configure a sound card in Linux. I know there are things like ALSA and similar projects, but hardly any organizations were packaging any of their own drivers customed suited to their hardware to be delivered in Linux. The result is that the novice user loses from this because he/she cannot use the hardware he/she chooses to use with the software and/or OS he/she chooses to use.

With that said, this is a step in the right direction and I hope other hardware manufactures do what Intel has pledged to do. Closed source, proprietary drivers are better than no drivers at all.

what's wrong with Intel? (3, Interesting)

kisak (524062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338681)

I cannot see any excuse from Intel to wait a whole year to get out a drivers for linux.

It might be a small marked, centrino together with linux, but they are pissing off a lot of people unnecessary. Many of these people have influence in companies buying computer hardware, not only laptops but servers and workstations. Good way to make the bias towards AMD stronger.

My job gave me a dell laptop where I am not using the wireless at the moment (I don't dual boot). I am reminded everyday why the next server will be opteron since I am in charge of buying the new one.

Easiest (2, Interesting)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338729)

If they want to make it easiest then they should submit code to the Linux kernel. That way the next version of almost every Linux would support that hardware straight away automatically.

HAL: Proprietary, SML: Open (3, Interesting)

lenski (96498) | more than 10 years ago | (#8338767)

Though it's not an open-and-shut simple approach, one can imagine a closed hardware management layer, driven by an open, developer-manageable O.S. software management interface layer. This doesn't solve the instruction-set incompatibility problem, but it is possible to let open maintainers handle the work they are (very) good at: Accommodating changing kernel interfaces, races, etc.

Linus is on record stating that as uncomfortable as it is, proprietary binary-only software can be linked into the kernel as long as it is not a derived work, meaning not depending on any interface provided by the kernel.

So Intel can preserve their private, secret register settings, providing a controlled abstraction of the hardware, and still tolerate, to some extent, varying kernel interface requirements.
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