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OpenBSD Clashes with Adaptec In Quest for Docs

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the not-support-you-note-they-note dept.

367

TrumpetPower! writes "OpenBSD developers have been asking for documentation from Adaptec for over four months. Adaptec's response has been to deliberately misunderstand what is being asked of them. A former Adaptec employee admits that the hardware is buggy and tricky to get right. So, as a result, OpenBSD 3.7 will ship without Adaptec RAID support. Personally, I'm glad that Theo isn't resting on his laurels."

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367 comments

Durst Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992326)

Ewww [photobucket.com]

Tried e-mailing the guy.... (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992331)

I connected to adaptec's mail server, and it told me it would accept mail for the account in question. I guess they had a config problem, and these guys got snippy when they got a 500 error...

Re:Tried e-mailing the guy.... (5, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992539)

Well, you see, they had been trying to switch over to BSD, they they had this driver problem...

Re:Tried e-mailing the guy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992631)

call him: 321-207-1209 according to google.

Re:Tried e-mailing the guy.... (4, Insightful)

B747SP (179471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992703)

these guys got snippy when they got a 500

You're not wrong. Is it just me, or does this de Raadt character get 'snippy' each and every time the world doesn't roll over and play the game how he wants them to?

An important point in a geek's career is the time when s/he recognises that if s/he's gonna get any further in said career, they're gonna have to maintain a business-benefiting attitude and act in business-benefiting ways else businesses won't employ you any more. Sheer guru-like skill only carries you so far, and then you've gotta play nice with others or others won't play with you anymore.

Some geeks come to that realisation early in their careers. I try to tell my geek.students that before they graduate. Some geeks never ever wake up, and they grow old on low incomes angry at the world.

de Raadt does some wonderful things, sure, but there's always this persistent undertone of a bad attitude waiting to sneak out and throw his weight around. Public nastygrams and "screw you, we'll ship with even less support for your product than we did before" dummy spits constitute "does not play nice with others" in my book.

Trouble is, geeks carry no weight in business, and the businessfolks have all the money. It's up to us to decide if we want some of that money or not.

Why just OpenBSD? (5, Insightful)

Dacmot (266348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992342)

It would be nice if more of the Linux big names would jump on the bangwagon and lobby with companies to get open source drivers for hardware.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992370)

why? cause linus is ok with binary only closed source drivers

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992685)

> why? cause linus is ok with binary only closed source drivers

um...no, he's not.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (1)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992702)

Yes he is, or the kernel he's responsible for wouldn't use binary drivers.

He'd say, "no," and the drivers wouldn't be used by the kernel.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992768)

That doesn't necessarily mean he's ok with it. Its just a fact he's had to accept or we'd have no drivers at all on some hardware.

I tried playing UT using the nv driver for X and I could count the frame rates it was so slow. The binary only nvidia driver works as expected. Yes...it sucks but thats just the way it is.

By the way, if anyone could advise me on how to make games playable using the nv driver I would appreciate it.

Why just documentation? (5, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992377)

Absolutely. Open source drivers would be a beautiful gift, in this case it's actually more than what is being asked for. Adaptec is asked to release specs on their raid controllers, they chose not to.

They are under an obligation to provide usefulness on legit architectures, but they aren't doing that. Adaptec should get over their shame of bugs, and allow the driver people at OpenBSD a chance at making things work.

There is no general fix for this problem, often specs are released way too late. On the other hand, releasing open source drivers will open specs for the same device. These specs aren't just trade secrets, they're actually necessary for building drivers.

Re:Why just documentation? (5, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992412)

They are under an obligation to provide usefulness on legit architectures

Exactly what obligation does Adaptec have?

Re:Why just documentation? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992498)

None. Just as I have no obligation to ever buy an Adaptec piece of hardware again.

Re:Why just documentation? (2, Informative)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992503)

Exactly what obligation does Adaptec have?
They have a financial responsibility. If they release their documentation to a "legit architecture" then they will increase their sales accordingly. In this case, a "legit architecture" would be one that would have an impact on their bottom line (which would qualify BSD and Linux).

Re:Why just documentation? (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992586)

Adaptec has no obligation or responsibility to anyone to provide OpenBSD or OpenBSD users anything. If they have decided it is a market they are not interested in then they simply will not have anything to do with it. Its their decision and people shouldn't begin to whine when they don't get their way.

Re:Why just documentation? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992731)

> Adaptec has no obligation or responsibility to anyone to provide OpenBSD or OpenBSD users anything

Yes they do. They have an obligation to thier stock holders to sell as many units as they can. This is a foolish move on Adaptec's part and stock holders should be pissed at them turning thier backs on millions in sales.

Re:Why just documentation? (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992807)

to thier stock holders to sell as many units as they can.

In the markets they choose to cater to. I don't see OpenBSD listed anywhere on their site, so I doubt that OpenBSD users are in their target market. Microsoft only produces Windows for Intel compatible hardware, but I have several Suns. Does Microsoft now have an obligation to me to produce a SPARC version of Windows because apperently not doing so would be 'a foolish move on [Microsoft's] part and stock holders should be pissed at them turning thier backs on millions in sales,' or is it possible that SPARC machines not in Microsoft's target market. I doubt Adaptec's shareholders are loosing sleep over some perturbed OpenBSD users.

Re:Why just documentation? (5, Insightful)

Gid1 (23642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992598)

That's not a "responsibility" or an "obligation". It is, however, an incentive, and should be quite a strong one at that.

Nowadays, I purchase equipment based more on its compatibility with FreeBSD (and occasionally OpenBSD) than any other factor (incl. performance and price), as that's what it's going to be used with.

As far as responsibility or obligation is concerned, Adaptec's got none to the Open Source community, unless you can consider it a direct failure of its responsibility to its shareholders. Just because Open Source is "fighting the good fight", doesn't mean anyone owes us anything.

Re:Why just documentation? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992514)

An obligation to their customers? OpenBSD is a popular operating system. If I own Adaptec hardware, I should expect it to work if I switch to OpenBSD.

Re:Why just documentation? (0, Flamebait)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992637)

Why? I just bought a used Sun Ultra10. If I decide to use it as my primary desktop, should I now expect every piece of hardware to work with it? Sun hardware is more popular then OpenBSD is, so everything should just work right? I should be able to walk up to Readmond and demand my UltraSPARC version of Windows right? I run OpenBSD on SPARC32 machines, should I now expect the manufacturer of every piece of hardware to create a sbus version of their hardware because thats what my hardware has?

The obligation to their customers is to clearly list what they support, and they do. If you go beyond that, you already knew it wasn't supported so your on your own.

'They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let them crash.'

Re:Why just documentation? (1, Insightful)

LighthouseJ (453757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992647)

What customers exactly? If you were Adaptec, would you write drivers for your hardware in Windows, a platform you're programmers are very experienced with and caters to the 90% marketshare, or write drivers for the niche 5% MacOS X or 5% other *nix market?

I like Linux and I think it's very useful but there's just too much self-righteousness in here. Everyone on here expects companies to spend millions in development and bend over backwards for their own purposes. We have to be realistic here and realize that we have to make it worth it for companies like Adaptec to support Linux or in this case, OpenBSD. Adaptec isn't interested in OpenBSD because it's not in their best financial interest, despite their best intentions.

Re:Why just documentation? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992770)

Windows, a platform you're programmers are very experienced with and caters to the 90% marketshare, or write drivers for the niche 5% MacOS X or 5% other *nix market?

Windows does not have 90% of the server market.

I like Linux and I think it's very useful but there's just too much self-righteousness in here. Everyone on here expects companies to spend millions in development and bend over backwards for their own purposes.

No, people expect to be given enough product information to enable them to author device drivers to use the hardware they purchased. Adaptec must have that information to write win32 drivers.

Adaptec isn't interested in OpenBSD because it's not in their best financial interest, despite their best intentions.
People are offering to do their work for them, likely increasing sales of their products in the process.

Re:Why just documentation? (2, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992664)

A moral obligation to the users they sold the hardware to. Yes, they're not legally obliged to, but it's common decency.

Re:Why just documentation? (0, Flamebait)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992718)

Bullocks. They're under no obligation to release specs to the OpenBSD folks then they are to port their drivers to OS/2. If someone bought their product, intending to get it to work on an unsupported OS, thats the customers fault.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0, Flamebait)

mpecaut (800421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992408)

Most Linux and other BSD users only care about software being free as in beer. They pay lip service to free software but they are pretty quick to compromise. Where is the Linux Leadership? I guess they are busy signing NDAs. -Mark

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992444)

This shouldn't be marked flamebait. He's absolutely correct.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992476)

He is absolutely wrong.



And the reason is simple: Drivers developed under NDA also end up in the Linux kernel tree, under the GPL, so the NDA would be violated by contributing the driver to Linux.



How about that for a contradictio in terminis?



And, working for a major Linux company, I can tell you we detest NDAs as much as you do.

Re:Why just OpenBSD? (0)

rpozz (249652) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992759)

Be patient. People who use Linux, BSD etc (mostly) buy hardware after checking how well they support it, and it's now starting to have an effect. ATI seem to have realised that with crappy Linux/BSD support they have lost a load of business, and are trying to bring out better Linux/BSD drivers.

When both nVidia and ATI have decent Linux/BSD support, the first one to open their drivers (3rd party IP permitting) gets the customers. It should be the same with most hardware.

obligatory (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992345)

In soviet russia the old OpenBSD kills the dead Adaptec

There's an old saying (5, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992346)

There's an old saying, which I think fits well here.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Napolean

Re:There's an old saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992363)

Surely that's "Hanlon's Razor"?

Re:There's an old saying (1, Funny)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992379)

Ironically, you've misspelt Napoleon

Re:There's an old saying (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992418)

Ironically you've misunderstood irony...

Re:There's an old saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992589)

Please stop this. I've given-up irony for lent.

Re:There's an old saying (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992652)

You shouldn't do that - you might get anaemia [bupa.co.uk]

Re:There's an old saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992794)

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Napolean

That's the first time I've ever seen that quote attributed to Napoleon. Source?

The Battle with OpenSource (4, Interesting)

michelcultivo (524114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992354)

When the hardware vendors will release all the specifications of their hardware to the OpenSource teams? It's so difficult to do so?
"I'll not release my documentation because others business can get all of my secrets and my bugged harware."

Go Theo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992356)

You've just gotta admire the guy.

How many people... (-1, Troll)

bird603568 (808629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992358)

use openbsd? I thought that most of bsd users were freebsd. IMO it would be like some one on win 9x bitching about driver support.

Re:How many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992380)

read the fucking discussion. they're not bitching about driver support but about lack of _documentation_

Re:How many people... (2, Insightful)

kae_verens (523642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992383)

That's not the point - if it was easy to get specs for hardware, then /all/ operating systems would benefit - not just the well-used ones.

Re:How many people... (2, Informative)

DashEvil (645963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992404)

Your opinion is both wrong, stupid, and has no real world bearing. OpenBSD isn't a depreciated version of FreeBSD; both projects have a completely different focus, and depending on your needs one may be more suitable than the other.

Please do not feed the trolls... (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992520)

It might be easy to shoot down their arguments, but that doesn't make it worthwhile...

Re:How many people... (4, Insightful)

Simon Lyngshede (623138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992410)

Which make you think: "Why is OpenBSD doing this and not FreeBSD". I think it's sad that the FreeBSD developers don't seem to care that much about having free drivers (the AAC is free I believe, but the management interface is not).

Of cause what really annoys me is that the Linux developers seem to care even less. Why is it that the developers of free software can't stand togther and demand documentation? And why is it that it's the smallest team that must make these demands?

Re:How many people... (2, Interesting)

jbolden (176878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992487)

Linux fought the battle for obscure cards in the 1990s. They lead the fight regarding video cards (there is even less video oriented stuff on the BSDs). They also conduct the fight for things like video chat software which doesn't interest the BSD community as much.

All free OSes combined don't really add up to that much market share for many of these hardware devices. The fact is we don't have enough pull to demand most of the time (RAID controllers might be an exception).

Re:How many people... (1)

Simon Lyngshede (623138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992542)

The fact is we don't have enough pull to demand most of the time

Very true, which is why it really doesn't help that much that OpenBSD take this fight alone. Of cause they did get an amazing result from their campaign for free drivers for wireless networking chips.

Re:How many people... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992562)

And why is it that it's the smallest team that must make these demands?

My guess would be because of the security auditing that the Open BSD team does. They go over every line of code. You can't guarantee the safety of something if you haven't personally reviewed the source code.

Linux and FreeBSD's foci aren't on safety. They're on operability. If the drivers work(even if imperfectly), those two sets of developers are happy.

LK

Different strategy... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992620)

Of cause what really annoys me is that the Linux developers seem to care even less. Why is it that the developers of free software can't stand togther and demand documentation? And why is it that it's the smallest team that must make these demands?

One is to whine and complain, the other it to move forward with what you do have, making your OS so big it is something you simply can't ignore. In short, talk is cheap. Show them a market share and lost revenue they aren't getting (and no, something in the zero point something percent doesn't count) and they will come.

Kjella

Re:How many people... (4, Informative)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992423)

Yes, FreeBSD is the most popular BSD. But each BSD is it's own operating system, not a previous version of the same operating system like your analogy.

It did not start with BSD4.4-lite, go to 386BSD, move to NetBSD, then OpenBSD, then DragonFlyBSD and then FreeBSD. Each are their own system which split at one time or another from the same tree.

All four of those systems are maintained today and therefore it is not like Windows 9x complaining about hardware support. Windows does not maintain new versions of Windows 95.

OpenBSD is the extremely secure and extremely open of the BSDs and Unix-likes. OpenBSD refuses to have anything that isn't as Free and Open as their goals describe into their system. Linux and FreeBSD are more into the functionality over ideals idea. NetBSD I cannot speak for though as I don't really follow them.

Re:How many people... (3, Interesting)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992427)

FreeBSD is more common as a desktop OS and webserver, but OpenBSD is more common as a firewall. And it often goes unnoticed by people because it just sits there firewalling things. Remember that companies rarely announce the details of their security arrangements. Needless to say, these firewalls are mission critical and need RAID.

Theo is a belligerent prick so he gets noticed more than the others, but every open source OS has identical problems with driver support. Why do you think Theo got that award when he and Stallman don't exactly see eye-to-eye?

Re:How many people... (2, Insightful)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992555)

But he's belligerent in the right direction. He does more than Stalmman does on the Open Source front, he calls a spade a spade, and is one hell of a coder.

Re:How many people... (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992609)

"But he's belligerent in the right direction."

In this case it's a good thing. Sometimes it's not.

Re:How many people... (-1, Troll)

katana (122232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992569)

Why do you think Theo got that award when he and Stallman don't exactly see eye-to-eye?

Because, in the final furious masturbation circle that determined the winner, Theo came first.

Re:How many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992579)

whatever

Me (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992553)

Have an old Ultra 1 doing firewall and light server duty for a DSL line. So far its had zero hardware issues and everything has worked. Wish I could have said the same for NetBSD. It locked up randomly on the same box.

I haven't used OpenBSD in a few years and was really impressed with their rewrite of packet filter. You linux folks should check it out.

Re:How many people... (1)

hugo_pt (759790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992570)

Many, actually. And if it gets supported on obsd, chances are it will be ported to free/net.

So, it's in everyone's best interests.

I wonder how this will affect Adaptec? (5, Interesting)

kae_verens (523642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992365)

I know that when I'm buying hardware, I first make sure that there's at least a reasonable chance that it will work in my operating system (Linux, by choice). So, in this case, if I was choosing a RAID card, and my system was BSD-based, then Adaptec would be down a few quid.

Re:I wonder how this will affect Adaptec? (4, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992406)

well you can guess that this particular controller will be avoided by anyone with connections. Openbsd doesn't enjoy much use from desktop or developer users because it's too hard, and has few advantages.

The one advantage it does have is security, which is vital for running large scale servers. These servers have reliabilty as a high priority, so RAID is the norm.

Re:I wonder how this will affect Adaptec? (1)

foobarra (869305) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992419)

This affects vendors choice of hardware to include in servers, for instance, which will eventually affect Adaptec's bottom line. Adaptec RAID controllers were dropped from Dell's PowerEdge line in favor of LSI controllers, with the introduction of the 1850/2850/6850 lineup.

Re:I wonder how this will affect Adaptec? (3, Insightful)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992490)

Ironically AAC's support under FreeBSD at least has been superior to Linux's for quite a while (not so much in the past few months, but certainly for the past couple of years before). We originally bought our cards to run under FreeBSD, and had significant problems migrating to Linux where the aacraid driver liked to fall over every few weeks.

I'd rather use software RAID now. Closed source management tools and unreliable software, hardware and firmware are not things I want anywhere fucking near my data storage subsystems.

Simple solution... (5, Insightful)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992378)

There's a very simple solution for this: Don't buy anything from Adaptec, ever. They'll be out of business; problem solved.

Re:Simple solution... (2, Informative)

The_DOD_player (640135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992455)

Please, this is no troll...

This is how we are supposed to "vote with our money" as "consumers". Yes, I know, it'll never have any effect anyway, but that still dont make it a troll.

Just a note (5, Informative)

FullMetalAlchemist (811118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992382)

Just a note; the "former Adaptec employee" is Scott Long of the FreeBSD project [freebsd.org] .

I have not been using OpenBSD sice 1999, but hardware support was never its strong point... though what it supported was,like all the BSD's, supported extremely well.

It's a good call, in spirit of BSD. Scott's drivers are exellent and they just need to port those.

Re:Just a note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992402)

the drivers you linked have no management interface. that's what it's all about here: being able to manage the raid array without booting into its bios.

Re:Just a note (4, Informative)

Caligari (180276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992582)

You misunderstand. OpenBSD already have a driver [openbsd.org] . They want documentation to improve that and more importantly implement a management program which can do critical stuff like check if any drives have failed.

The management utility in the FreeBSD ports tree is binary-only. OpenBSD refuse to accept binary only crap, which is why they want this documentation.

Re:Just a note (0, Flamebait)

Spoing (152917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992662)

  1. The management utility in the FreeBSD ports tree is binary-only. OpenBSD refuse to accept binary only crap, which is why they want this documentation.

If the BSD folks don't want binary only crap, why allow what they write to turn into binary only crap?

(Cheap shot...I know...I don't have any problem with BSD-style licences and would be happy to either admin or install a new system using BSD, though this is one serious drawback to the BSD licence so complaining about someone closing the source is...well.)

Re:Just a note (2, Insightful)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992812)

It's not a cheap shot, infact, it's not really a shot at all in the minds of anyone that likes BSD; except maybe that you assume that the code done by the people working on the it in the first place is crap.

The OpenBSD people won't include something closed in their system, but if you want to close up a copy of OpenBSD and sell it yourself it is fine. You can still use binary drivers and you will be responsible for those drivers, so when someone asks why your Adaptec AAC RAID is broken and doesn't allow for any of the advertised functionality, you will have to explain that you didn't make the driver and that you don't even have the ability to fix it.

OpenBSD doesn't want to lie to people, saying they have support for something when they don't.

This wasn't even about "closing" source to begin with, it has nothing to do with source. It is about the documentation to write a driver for OpenBSD themselves; one they can be responsible for and fix it if there are issues.

MY EYES!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992392)

Bloody BSD colour scheme... I never bought into the "is dying" jokes but I swear looking at this makes me want to kill it myself.

OpenBSD confirms it... (5, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992403)

OpenBSD confirms it... Adaptec is dying!

Bastards (0, Offtopic)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992436)

it seems as though their website is IE only, as i couldn't send them feedback using opera.

Freedom is great! (2, Insightful)

HanB (774214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992438)

It allows so many companies to sell you a leash and handcuffs. Yes go ahead and wear them, the great advantage is that you'll never go where you shouldn't and that you'll never hurt anyone.

The amazing thing about this whole afair is that Adaptec itself is also a leashed and cuffed company. But after some thinking I realized Nvidia is just such a company. Even if they wanted to release the _specifications_ of their hardware they couldn't.

All in all this forces people to stick to one OS. That's why it is so important people step up for free specifications of their hardware. Because without them you are bound to be tied to a monopolist.

Theo didn't get that FSF award for nothing.

off-topic? heaven forfend! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992441)

did someone say theo [channel101.com] ?

this is a good solution (4, Insightful)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992447)

It's all about making sure the big shareholders know that the company's policies are costing them sales.

People say that Theo should stop being so annoying, but the only way shareholders find out is when it gets massively publicised like this.

It worked for the 802.11 drivers. It's worth a shot here.

Probably software raid (5, Interesting)

metaverse (146352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992459)

Like their old AAA ide raid controllers which was nothing more than IDE paddle boards with software raid logic..marketed as true hardware raid.. Documentation exposes the magic behind the illusion..(sometimes)

hahahah theo (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992461)

is enough of an asshole to go head-to-head with a major company in an asshole competition

Re:hahahah theo (1)

hugo_pt (759790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992602)

And you are enough of an asshole to post a comment like that. Search some past activism from Theo/OpenBSD and you might come across something you seem to ignore.

reminds me of Promise (4, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992465)

Reminds me of Promise's definition of "Linux support" for a card I bought.

In the case of the SX-150 SATA raid card (which has a hardware XOR engine and whatnot), that meant "we have binary drivers for distributions which are several years old".

There is some source. Well, it's a 'wrapped' binary driver, and it's only available from "some guy" in Germany who begged Promise support long enough they gave it to him. You a)cannot compile it into the kernel b)cannot compile it for 2.6 because it simply isn't compatible. I sent numerous emails to Promise asking when a 2.6 driver would be available or if there was any updated source code. None were ever answered.

Same story with the tools- unless you're running Redhat 9.0 or some ancient version of Suse, forget ANY on-line monitoring.

Not that the customers are much better- one page I found about the card suggested that "software raid is faster anyway", which is an absurd proposition by itself. Regardless, why would you spend $100-200 more on a hardware-raid card complete with cache memory, and then just use the 2.6 SATA driver which only drives the SATA interfaces?

From what I understand, 3ware has better support for Linux, but that means I have to migrate a large amount of data off the old array..

Re:reminds me of Promise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992489)

3ware did not fare so well in the latest benchmarks. There was a Slashdot article about it not too long ago.

You could probably just search for benchmarks and see were they were able to benchmark on Linux to know which adapters work on Linux.

Re:reminds me of Promise (5, Informative)

ultima (3696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992549)

Software RAID *is* very often faster, especially on a modern CPU paired with an older design -- you don't buy HW RAID because it is faster, you buy it for battery backup and offloading of low level operations to conserve CPU time and bus/memory bandwidth for user applications and so that if your OS or CPU/memory/whatever blows up, or you lose power, it won't corrupt the data on your disk array. Hardware RAID dedicated processors are simple, slow, "reliable" units -- not ultra-fast bleeding-edge dedicated units like you see on video cards.

Re:reminds me of Promise (3, Informative)

sffubs (561863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992767)

I had similar troubles with my Promise Fasttrack 100 TX2, which afaik is just a standard ATA disk controller with the capability to label drives as being part of certain arrays. The raid stuff is then done in software.

Anyway, Linux support for this has been patchy. There was a native driver in 2.4 for some time, which worked on-and-off. There was also a source-wrapped binary driver, available from the Promise site, which worked occasionally under 2.4, but is incompatible with 2.6. I assume Promise have no intention of supporting this card under 2.6, since I haven't seen a new driver for quite some time now.

However, all is not lost! This morning I discovered dmraid [redhat.com] , which uses Linux's software raid implementation to make cards like this work. If you run Gentoo, there is an option for genkernel that will build dmraid into the initrd, which auto-discovers the raid arrays on boot. Magic!

So, despite Promise's dismal lack of support, their cards can be quite functional. I'm not sure I'd get another one though - I'd at least try and find a manufacturer that provides decent linux drivers first.

Use IBM RAID (2, Insightful)

tollieman (243634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992469)

Just use IBM serveRAID controllers...

Re:Use IBM RAID (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992587)

The IBM ServeRAID boards are now produced by Adaptec. So you would still be buying from Adaptec, albeit indirectly.

Re:How many people... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992495)

Because BSD is not Linux and it is definently not GPL. They have very different views on free software. While Linux and GPL support everything to be opensourced (even drivers) BSD people have a different approach - everything they develop is completely free software (unlike semi-free GPL) and if a company wants to put proprietary drivers in it, then so be it.

The whole MIT/BSD culture can be described with one sentance;

Being able to read other people's source code is a nice thing, not a fundamental freedom.

Re:How many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992704)

Being able to do whatever we want with source code is a good thing. Thats how I see the BSD license.

The GPL is about making money. Look at mysql, redhat, novell, or even apple. They profit from GPL code, and only follow the GPL when it suits them. Mysql documentation for connector j for example is NOT GPL licensed!

I'm not trying to say that you can't make money on BSD licensed software, i'm just saying that its possible for EVERYONE to make money on BSD license software which means its more open!

Re:How many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992719)

and if a company wants to put proprietary drivers in it, then so be it.

Then why does Linux have piles of binary-only drivers, while OpenBSD would never allow that kind of thing?

Parent is not Insightful, it is a Troll.

Re:How many people... (3, Informative)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992745)

Interestingly, Theo of OpenBSD is more insistant that the entire base system be open source than the most popular Linuxes. GPL software is tolerable if there is no alternative, but commercial software is not tolerated.

The only exception is firmware binary blobs (which all OSes need, as it is not practical to create open source replacements), they are tolerated if they are released under a license that allows OpenBSD to distribute them.

That's similar to what Linuxes like Debian demand, and that's a lot more than Linuxes like Red Hat and Suse demand.

So this hurts Adaptec how? (1)

jkeyes (243984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992502)

It seems to me that this will either result in people not upgrading or Adaptec will just release a binary driver (if one doesn't already exist) and people will upgrade if they want to. So this makes for a nice press release but I think that the implications aren't as great as they sound.

Re:So this hurts Adaptec how? (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992761)

OpenBSD would not accept a binary driver.

(note that that is different than firmware images, which OpenBSD will accept if they are allowed to include them in the base system)

Confirmed OpenBSD is dead. (0, Flamebait)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992517)

When it gets to the point when your developers start flaming hardware developers in public, don't expect much generosity from those vendors in the future. Summary of articles: developer sends a couple of requests to adaptec nothing much happens flaming developer types up a rant with keyboard courage hardware vendor shocked at rudeness of rant. replies saying that firmware needs work. developer does the blockquote rant, and flails arms in the air: Wah! Wah! Wah! Adapted hates us. Summary of real life: Adapted doesn't hate OpenBSD. It takes work to provide a huge technical manual of all your products. And, with firmware changing, the specs for how to interface with that product will change. The articles paint Adaptec as some sort of bad guy, when that isn't the case.

The Free Market is your friend (1, Redundant)

MattWhitworth (858990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992523)

Simple, don't buy from Adaptec until they release information about their hardware or documentation. Hit them where it hurts financially, and they'll listen. Or just spite them by reverse-engineering an existing driver? :)

Nothing ever changes at Adaptec (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992551)

Theo says: "We are not asking for support. We are asking for documentation."

Substitute "They" for "We" in that sentence and it could have been me speaking, when I was working at Adaptec and trying to release an in-house version of the starfire (a.k.a. "Duralan" ethernet MAC) driver. I hit that same brick wall over and over again while tying to get some chip specs and a linux driver released. Somehow, in their minds, "support" is translated into not releasing specs and drivers. Releasing such information, in contrast, is a failure to support customers. This wierd Orwellian doublethink seems to pervade the thinking of everyone connected with supporting Linux and other free OS's at Adaptec.

It's so amazing to see that nothing has changed at Adaptec in the last 7 years. My own driver episode was "resolved" (unsatisfactorily, for me) by Donald Becker agreeing to sign an NDA for the chip specs. Not to second guess Donald, but my thinking at the time was, "this just postpones the problem. Maybe it would be better just to boycott these imbeciles."

Not to close on a sour note, I should say that Adaptec was a great place to work in many ways, and I always viewed their attitude toward free software as an aberration. I still tend to do so, and perhaps that's wishful thinking on my part.

Threshold of complexity (5, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992572)

Why adaptec isnt releasing detailed specs is obvious. If people had them they could better evaluate the product. Apparently the marketing dept. at adaptec fears transparency and complacency.

Look at the small and medium end raid market now. Theres not many players, Adaptec,promise,3ware and a bunch that adaptec bought up. Adaptec gains nothing by opening up itself to a point by point comparison with lesser competitors. Their name recognition is carrying them much the way IBM's used to. Further if the hardware is bugged and tricky and adaptec knew about it then they open themselves up to liability.

Their reasons are obvious keep the barriers high and keept those that can't climb them out.

Re:Threshold of complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992624)

If you are right, then they should admit as much and stop the doubletalk about "support" for free OS customers. Lying to customers is not good marketing, especially when the lies are so transparent. I'm coming to the personal conclusion that ultimately, companies that erect barriers to free software should just be ignored by free software, until and unless they change their ways. Harping and complaining doesn't change anything.

Sandman - Aimee Castle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992588)

Big Wolf on Campus. Aimee Castle in Sandman. Sleep. Mind Control Sleep Dust. Aimee Castle is Sandman's slave. Sleep state.

We buy their hardware... (1)

ajaf (672235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992595)

... but they don't help to do open drivers.
Are they scare of something? they don't lose anything helping to build open drivers, they win.

just buy a mac :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992646)

You get BSD and drivers and you don't have to worry about this stuff.

Plus it runs Office !!!

Just buy a Mac :-)

At least they are consistent (2, Interesting)

Dr.Zap (141528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992659)

Unfortunately I cannot purchase Adaptec controllers anymore. No, it's not because they aren't supported in OpenBSD, nor is it a new decision. It is because a couple years ago I purchased several Adaptec raid controllers for some webservers and the drivers included didn't work. I managed to obtain, after much pain, a better driver. To make a long story short, they had to come out of service because the driver updates took so long that I had to run really old kernels just to support the raid driver. Sounds like they haven't changed. Too bad, I used to buy a fair number of raid controllers from them.

LSI (3, Interesting)

prestwich (123353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992690)

You know, the LSI SCSI cards are rather nice, they work with Linux; I don't know what their deal is with docs, but they seem to have contributed code.

(OK, so not directly related to Adaptec - but it seems to be a reasonable place to give their competitor a pat on the back!).

Deliberately misunderstanding (1)

atomm1024 (570507) | more than 9 years ago | (#11992790)

Haha, a company misunderstanding a request for technical documentation... it reminded me of this exchange from Computer Stupidities [rinkworks.com] :
  • Hello, Commodore customer service. May I help you?
  • Yes, I'm trying to find the file format for Deluxe Music Construction Set.
  • You want to format a disk? Lemme see... (paper rustles)
  • No. I'm looking for documentation on the file format for DMCS.
  • Oh, yes. I've got documentation here. (paper rustles) Ok, to format a disk, first you--
  • No, no...I'm looking for the file format for--
  • You want to format a file? I umm... (paper rustles again)
  • NO... I DO NOT WANT TO FORMAT A FILE!
  • Ok, well, to format a disk, you--
  • NO! I don't want to format a disk. I'm a programmer. I'm trying to find some documentation on--
  • We have documentation.
  • Yes, I understand. But I'm looking for specific documentation on software that I bought through Commodore. I'm looking for documentation on the file format for Deluxe Music Construction Set--
  • (paper rustles) You want to format a file?
  • No, I -- Is there someone else there I can talk to?
  • No. No one here but me.

theo rocks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11992802)

I wish the Linux people would have enough balls to make a stand with us. No such luck there.

Oh well
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