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Novell Delivers Device Driver Breakthrough

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hopefully-the-companies-will-actually-start-writing-them dept.

241

An anonymous reader writes "Novell today announced a new Linux device driver process to make it easier for third party device driver writers to integrate their drivers with SUSE Linux." From the article: "The new driver process allows customers to obtain drivers independently of Novell® kernel updates and supplies a straightforward approach third parties can use when developing device drivers for Novell's SUSE® Linux Enterprise products. The new Linux driver process developed by Novell allows hardware and software vendors to provide Linux drivers and driver updates for their products to customers directly and transparently, in a way that is completely integrated with SUSE Linux Enterprise delivery and support."

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And if Novell built it, will they come? (0, Redundant)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353714)

I hope it's not a case of a tree falling in the forest, and nobody to hear it...

FP?

Re:And if Novell built it, will they come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354009)

May I have sex with your sister now?

Re:And if Novell built it, will they come? (1)

pakar (813627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354043)

Are not the mods funny, redundant as usual on first post

Cant we mark their accounts redundant soon? :)

first? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353720)

blahblah

Marketing blurb (2, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353724)

The Article is a merketing blurb, anybody knows how it's actualy implemented?

oups! (5, Informative)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353738)

Novell invents email? (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354006)

So, YaST now has the ability to include ISV repositories ... and Novell will tell people who sign up with them when the interface changes?

Sorry, but I'm not seeing the "breakthrough" here.

Re:Marketing blurb (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353750)

The Article is a merketing blurb, anybody knows how it's actualy implemented?

Indeed. They keep using the word "process" and I keep thinking "Microkernel!"

In reality, it sounds like a simple driver abstraction layer which will allow commercial entities to plug in binary drivers without any fear of the GPL.

Re:Marketing blurb (4, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353777)

Indeed. They keep using the word "process" and I keep thinking "Microkernel!"

Well I hope it is! The last thing we need is a whole bunch of obscure binary blobs running in kernel mode!

Re:Marketing blurb (3, Interesting)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353793)

Ah, never mind. This looks basically like an "apt-get upgrade" for drivers [novell.com] , rather than some new ABI.

Looks like an update to YaST. (2, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353888)

From what I can see (too much marketing crap), it looks like they have an option in YaST to add an ISV's repository.

So, the ISV builds a package for their module and sets the dependencies and YaST allows you to update the module/kernel without breaking the dependencies.

Not much of an accomplishment at all (if that is all there is to it). Which would explain why they resorted to so much marketing crap in their announcement.

Re:Looks like an update to YaST. (0, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354216)

So in essence this is the breakthrough?


installation_sources -a ftp://ftp.foovendor.com/driver-repository/ [foovendor.com]


Nothing new there.

Re:Marketing blurb (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353751)

More so than that... what is it? Frankly, all I get out of reading that article is that Novell is going to accept drivers directly from vendors, and then have some form of distribution method for customers to get up to date drivers from within SUSE.

Not exactly what I would call a break through.

Re:Marketing blurb (4, Informative)

Serapth (643581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353773)

Ahhh... the click through link gives alot more details. http://developer.novell.com/wiki/index.php/Categor y:Partner_Linux_Driver_Process [novell.com]

So basically they are setting up a method for vendors to submit driver updates through them, then distributing them with YaST if the versions dont match.

Again, not seeing the breakthrough...

Re:Marketing blurb (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354349)

From the point of view of your average home desktop user, being able to install any 3rd-party driver with a single click (and a uniform installation process!) and then automatically track the updates to all installed drivers whenever kernel is updated is a breakthrough. For developers, it means that they no longer have to wait for the distributor to package the driver for YaST - they can do it themselves, retaining more control over how things work.

Re:Marketing blurb (5, Informative)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353770)

No even an asbstation layer, they are just syncronising driver updates and kernel updates.

Re:Marketing blurb (1)

vdboor (827057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354194)

The Article is a merketing blurb, anybody knows how it's actualy implemented?

I wouldn't care if even whole the whole process is marketing blulb. It would still give enterprises a focus, suits a confident feeling, and directions for making Linux drivers available.

It's really nice to see how Novell acknowledges get "getting source in the kernel.org tree" is the best practice, and fueling arguments for that. They also refer to DKMS [dell.com] , and acknowlegde they need the Linux community to make this a unified solution instead of a SuSE-only one. :-)

So far this sounds like an interesting strategy, positioning Novell as partner that brings both parties together (Enterprises and Kernel.org developers). At the same time, the the development of Linux drivers also gets a lift.

No need for Suse Linux (5, Funny)

bizzynut (887594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353726)

Plan 9 offers everything you would expect from a modern desktop OS. So there is no need for Suse Linux.

No need for competition... (0, Flamebait)

cloricus (691063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353857)

Get over yourselfs Plan 9 and BSD trolls - I'm seeing more of you fall out of the wood work in /. comments and it is getting annoying...Guess what; I have games (HL2, UT2k4, Q4, EVE, etc) and XGL (transset over xcompmgr) with fully compatible nvidia binary drivers and every bit of hardware on my computer supported, nearly, all under gpl compared to your what? Firefox suport? To put it simply there is need for Plan 9 and smaller BSDs to exist and that is so they spur Linux to continue to better itself and they provide good server OSes.

So bugger off and let people use their favourite OS in peace or don't bitch when the next major Plan 9 feature is reported and every one else just sighs and says 'use linux'.

Re:No need for competition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354147)

Hook, line, sinker, I'd like you to meet my friend cloricus.

Re:Completelyoff-topic but (0, Offtopic)

pwnawannab (972367) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354299)

I was just looking for a way to run HL2 on SuSE10. How doyoudo it on Linux?
This is one of the things that stops me from getting rid of Win boot on my PC. (and poor support for ATI TV card, and wireless).... groan...

uh.. (-1, Troll)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353727)

so now, when ATI's bugfest drivers crash the computer, Novell is to blame?

Does this mean... (1)

robizzle (975423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353728)

Does this mean that I might be able to get wireless working without ndiswrapper in the near future?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

eric_brissette (778634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353880)

I doubt it. I read the article but I don't think it was all that clear; I think it's just a fancy method of driver distribution. So it sounds like most wireless card manufacturers will continue to sell hardware without offering linux drivers, leaving you to use the windows driver with ndiswrapper.

Security? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354016)

If device drivers are third-party plugable without a recompile, I wonder if this is going to open the same sort of security hole that windows and it's device driver overwrting causes.

Re:Security? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354205)

Plugging modules into the kernel without a recompile has been a feature of Linux since... nearly forever. And they have always been a security hole. But you can only insert modules into a running kernel as root, and you can only overwrite module files as root. If you are already root, what's the point, except maybe to make a rootkit undetectable or break out of a virtual machine (is that possible through a module?) or something. Still, some people compile the kernel without loadable module support for that very reason.

Re:Wireless drivers (3, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354132)

"Does this mean that I might be able to get wireless working without ndiswrapper in the near future?"

Buy hardware that is supported. Yes it's a pain to do the research, but it's worth it. I have a Shuttle XPC and wanted to install their wireless add-on that doesn't require a PCI slot. I worried about drivers until I found that it uses the ZD1211 chip for which ZyDas provides an open source Linux driver. Then I learned that there is a sourceforge project to rewrite the driver so it's suitable for integration into the mainline kernels - 64bit included. They plan to get into 2.6.17 or 18 kernels, so wireless may well work out of the box when I upgrade to Fedora 6 in the fall. For now it's possible to make it work the hard way (download/compile) without ndiswrapper.

There are other cards with this chip and there are other chips with native Linux drivers in various states. The future looks good.

When my copy of Windows fails... (5, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353732)

... it is generally the result of a badly written 3rd party device driver, and the inability of the OS to protect itself from that driver. Have Novell delivered a major breakthrough here (as the article suggests) or the beginnings of a major headache?

I know there will be replies about how the architechure of Linux protects us from some of the risk, but in reality 3rd parties will circumvent any device driver model in an effort to make their device perform optmally, even at the expense of the wider platform.

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (1)

numbsafari (139135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353872)

It's too bad that microkernel's cannot help with this problem....

Oh wait...

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353949)

Wish I had mod points! Made me laugh :)

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (1, Flamebait)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353976)

"It's too bad that microkernel's cannot help"

That the Microkernel's what cannot help?

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354041)

Wow, zing! Are you a third grade teacher, by any chance?

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354073)

I had a firm grasp on possessives by the third grade, so if your teacher was (is!) still correcting you I'm guessing you weren't in the gifted class.

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (1)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354156)

I'm not a grammar nazi, but my friend Bob [angryflower.com] is.

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353875)

When my copy of Windows fails... ... it is generally the result of a badly written 3rd party device driver, and the inability of the OS to protect itself from that driver.

When Linux simply doesn't want to work with a device that's missing device support in the kernel. Which is better? You can opt not to install a bad driver, but if you can't have a driver, your don't have the option in the first place.

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354273)

3rd party driver support is a double-edge sword. One one side, it offers the ability to release more consumer friendly destros as they can now use store bought PC upgrades with Linux driver support. However, because of this, there *might* be some driver instability to cause the OS to crash. If this is the case, the whole aura of Linux being uber stable get's kicked to the curb by the marketing firms at Microsoft. I mean, when "joe six-pack" find out Linux is now as stable as Windows...why would they switch?

Damned if you do, damned if you dont. Keep 3rd party driver support out, and you isolate Linux to the uber geek elite. Put 3rd party driver support in, and you bring down OS stability to Microsofts level.

May 17:Prostitute Schedule @ MBOT in San Francisco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353883)

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Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (0, Redundant)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354078)

I dont know but I suspect a fresh install will be followed by updates of 5 products online which will take 2 hours, and 4 restarts. The restarts will be paced apart equally so the techie cant go do something else in the meantime, and an intern will be required to stare at the monitor and yawn all day between keystrokes of Tab Tab Space.

"It's a breakthrough. We've added another item to be updated and handled regularly."

A bigger breakthrough will be someone writing complete opensource drivers for nvidia which works. nvidia will have to release or maintain opensource drivers to keep their quality high, and that will start the requisite chain reaction.

Re:When my copy of Windows fails... (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354134)

We've gone over Nvidia opensourcing their drivers a million times already. It's not going to happen and the reasons have already been detailed. License nazis like yourself need to get over it and find another nit to pick.

Breakthrough? (-1, Troll)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353743)

Why is having shitty, flaky, unfixable, unsupportable binary-only drivers a breakthrough? Closed vendor drivers suck, they are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware, and are written by people who don't know the first thing about the OS they are writing drivers for.

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353807)

To be fair, also OS device drivers are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware!

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353825)

No, they certainly work around such bugs when they know of them, but there is no hiding going on. You find comments in the source documenting this bugs, frequently in not-so-friendly terms.

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353810)

ahahaha fat linux fag.

Re:Breakthrough? (2, Insightful)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353838)

they are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware,

I was always under the impression that the specs were closed to ward off copycatting from competitors.

Re:Breakthrough? (2, Insightful)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353904)

Copycatting what? What memory address to write what bytes to? What is copying that going to accomplish? All it would do is let your competitors write drivers for your hardware, it wouldn't help them copy your hardware in any way.

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353964)

> they are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware,

>> I was always under the impression that the specs were closed to ward off copycatting from competitors.

I thought they were to make sure noone knew they were stealing other people's/companies' intellectual property they didn't want to license.

It's probably a combination of all three, though. :)

Re:Breakthrough? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354416)

Interactions with hardware are all of the form 'write this value to this bit of memory.' The documentation will say things like 'values written to location x are set register y, putting the device in mode z' (okay, slight simplification). If I told you the format in which an nVidia card accepts lists of vertices, and the address to which they should be written, would this help you design a better card?

To move this to the software realm, where I suspect people here are more comfortable, this is like saying that 'if we release the headers for our library, then it is easy for people to duplicate the library.' Tell this to the WINE guys, who have had the headers (and documentation) for the Win32 API for over a decade. Effectively they are saying that the interface is a significant portion of the design. Personally, I would hope that the implementation would be an order of magnitude more complicated than the interface...

Re:Breakthrough? (3, Insightful)

uucp2 (731567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353849)

It is a breakthrough, because having a shitty, flaky, unfixable and unsupportable binary-only driver is better than having no driver at all. Don't use it if you don't like it. As someone who writes closed source device drivers, I sincerely welcome this. Now, if someone just convinced Linus to add this (or similar functionality) to the "vanilla" kernel...

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353871)

i hope you burn in hell for writing closed source drivers.

Re:Breakthrough? (4, Insightful)

ender81b (520454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354146)

i hope you burn in hell for writing closed source drivers.

Sad thing is, this probably isn't a troll. You sound like most of the kernel developers who refuse to make a stable API or ABI.

You wonder why Linux has such shitty support? Your attitude and the attitude of the devs ... this isn't 1998 anymore, I understand the need for open source drivers so you can troubleshoot issues with both them and the kernel but, come on now, grow up - either figure out a way to make it so binary only drivers aren't a problem with stability, make a certification process, or forever be stuck with having 1/3rd the devices supported, 1/3rd supported poorly, and 1/3rd oblivious to your existence.

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354247)

You wonder why Linux has such shitty support?

In my experience, it doesn't. All not-shitty server-class hardware is supported just fine and typically by open-source drivers (only notable exception being nvidia graphics cards, which have HIGH quality but unfortunately closed-source drivers). It's only the crappy desktop-class hardware support that sometimes lags, controllers that noone who knows anything would consider using, el-cheapo motherboard-integrated crap. Basically, if you buy cheap hardware, you might have trouble, but my workstation works fine with linux, because I am careful to buy decent hardware.

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354378)

This is incorrect. High-end enterprise-type storage stuff and the like tends to come only as binary drivers.

Re:Breakthrough? (3, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354296)

Linux got to where is is precisely because of the kernel devs not producing a stable API. Think about it, what would the kernel be if it was stripped of all the drivers? Not much use at all.

Now that Linux has a large userbase, you're arguing that is ok to relax that since some user wants binary drivers that just work. However, when you go that route, it's hard to go back because everybody *expects* the ABI to remain stable. Instead of improving the kernel, the devs will waste time sorting out ABI issues; not the best use of time.

Re:Breakthrough? (2, Insightful)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353879)

"It is a breakthrough, because having a shitty, flaky, unfixable and unsupportable binary-only driver is better than having no driver at all."

No, its not. See how when you want to use an ethernet adapter, you just put it in the machine and it works? See how when you want to use a wireless adapter, its a huge hassle, barely works, and will likely cause you machine to randomly hang?

If people keep accepting binary only shit like this, then the situation will just keep getting worse. Soon, you won't be able to buy any hardware that works, you will only be able to buy hardware + crappy driver for some OS you may or may not use. Demand documentation so the people writing the kernel can write the drivers, and everything will work smoothly and without any hassles, in any OS.

Re:Breakthrough? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353947)

As someone who writes closed source device drivers

a.k.a. InfoFascist asshole

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354245)

"It is a breakthrough, because..."

It is NOT a breakthrough because ALL package dependency managers IN THE WORLD do exactly what Novell is announcing.

This is nothing but a marketroid bluff.

So "XASER3 Co" wants to upgrade in place to current Debian, Red Hat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandriva... you name it? They just need to publish a repository for that distribution and add it to the repository manager of choice (yum, apt, up2date... you name it). From that moment onwards, package A will only update if all their dependencies are met.

That, and nothing else, is what Novell is announcing as "breakthrough news". That if you deploy a Yast2-compatible repository and add it to the managed sources of the installation you can make a package (it really doesn't make difference if you distribute it under an open or a closed source) that depends exactly on kernel-image-2.4.37-1.0.3, so once installed, next security update from Novell, say kernel-image-2.4.37-1.1.0 won't install till you publish you new revision against it.

On Debian, to name one, exactly what Novell is announcing has been possible (and done by the people who knows his trade) for at least half a decade, probably more.

Re:Breakthrough? (4, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353924)

Why is having shitty, flaky, unfixable, unsupportable binary-only drivers a breakthrough? Closed vendor drivers suck, they are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware, and are written by people who don't know the first thing about the OS they are writing drivers for.

This argument is repeated time and again here on Slashdot and the fact is it is rediculous. Want to know why? Because Novell's customers want it. In fact, they want Suse Linux to run on whatever white-box thrown-together-component list they decide, and having vendors supply drivers to reach that goal makes Novell a more attractive company.

Novell isn't /. - this is the real world. Compatability = greater acceptance = better marketing position & happier customers = more sales. Period.

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354191)

Let's see something truly revolutionary from Novell besides them purchasing a Linux operating system and making little tiny improvements. Let's see them get together some kind of open hardware compendium where every company submits details of their hardware to kernel hackers. While it's unreasonable to expect every obscure piece of hardware you pull off a shelf to work in a given OS, the more the merrier.

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354254)

It means more sales in the short-term, but it also means sales lost in the long-term due to customer dissatisfaction. Closed drivers do suck, and they hamper the idea of open-source software. Open code means that bugs can, and will, get fixed quicker. Often (with good leadership), it also means that bugs get good quality fixes, instead of market-driven hacks. Vendors have very little to lose by open-sourcing their drivers. The source already exists. They might as well open up the source and let people with better motivation than "just paying the bills" get into it and fix it. It amazes me how short-sighted hardware manufacturers are when they choose to keep their drivers closed-source. Why pay software developers to develop closed-source solutions when the OSS community would, often, gladly accept the responsibility, and even provide you a better-quality driver for a fraction of the money that you'd spend developing the closed-source equivalent?

Now, hand in your /. ID card on your way out for failing to support OSS when appropriate ;)

Re:Breakthrough? (2, Insightful)

timerider (14785) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354474)

Closed drivers do suck, and they hamper the idea of open-source software.

You know, the argument about closed-source drivers and "the idea of open source" is getting old. If I'd want a religiously open system, I'd be running debian. Oh well, I couldn't play the games I paid for, but I'd be running a 100% GPL'ed box, so I should be happy with it, right? Since those games are closed source as well, that would be fine, ok, right? What I want is a system that does what I want, the way I want it to (which in my case happens to mean linux, YMMV), and which lets me do the things I want to do (which in my case means installing the closed-source nvidia drivers).

Open code means that bugs can, and will, get fixed quicker.

Sure. Then explain why there are so many OSS projects where you can find bugs in the respective bugtrackers that haven't even been acknowledged after several years, and three-figure number of comments from people who stumbled over the same thing? Hunt the mozilla and kde bugtrackers for any number of examples.

To sum it up, I'm happy with linux as it is, and I'm perfectly fine with the one or other closed-source thing on my box, be it a driver, or any commercial app like moneyplex or the dozen or so games where I've happily bought the linux version.

oh, and a word to the plan9 advocates... I can't see any reason to install that. any at all. Sounds like BeOS to me... good idea, dies (or shrinks to insificance) due to lack of apps and users. Happened to OS/2 as well, which was a shame.

Re:Breakthrough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354315)

Yes, right, closed source, proprietary like Windows, or Netware.
But, wait, they allready have Netware, why did't that go well ?

stop being such a whiney pussy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354087)

break out the disassembler and fix it yourself.
While you're at it, you could reverse-engineer & document the damn thing, too.

kids these days...

Re:Breakthrough? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354423)

Closed vendor drivers suck, they are designed to hide bugs in the hardware/firmware
Do you have any factual information to back it up? Links, please. Otherwise just mark your post as FUD next time to save us the trouble.
are written by people who don't know the first thing about the OS they are writing drivers for.
Yet another unsupported generalisation. There are a lot of people writing closed-source Linux drivers. Some know more, some know less. Overall, from my experience with those drivers, it seems most know their job well enough.

Straight from the press release (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353747)

Geez, is /. so short of news that it accepts corporate press releases? "Driver breakthrough" - you can load a third party driver from a floppy. Well knock me down.

Something is breaking, that's for sure (5, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353748)

This "breakthrough" requires device vendors to recompile (and possibly port) their driver for every distro, every time that distro updates their kernel ABI. The only thing that has really changed seems to be that Novell will keep track of when the kernel ABI changes and notify driver developers.

And that, my friends, illustrates why the Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353971)

...model of consistent binaries is vastly superior. Quick and ragged works for a flying lap, but slow and steady wins the race.

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354088)

If the hardware manufacturers publish thier source code it wouldn't be a problem. The only device I have that needs updated drivers from the manufactuerer is my Nvidia graphics card. Everything else is supported in the kernel.

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354313)

If the hardware manufacturers publish thier source code it wouldn't be a problem.

Not necessarily. For example, if a vendor publishes source code for a driver, it takes months for that driver to appear in the next stable kernel, and likewise months until the next SLES or RHEL quarterly update. Novell's process allows the vendors to ship drivers whenever they are ready, without waiting for anyone else. But as I said, the cost is that the vendors have to do a lot of work.

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (0, Troll)

abradsn (542213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354162)

Yes that is correct, but at least there is a path to actually get a working driver. Before this, there was almost no hope at all to get a working driver installed in less than 4 hours.

For all the people out there that are about to go on about apt-get or some stupid distro, here this: give it up.
while (my-dsitro <= your-distro) my-distro++;

To illustrate, the reasons that Linux is not the dominant Operating system.

Linux should have the following priorities in mind to gain wider acceptance:
  • We need to get a truly working pluggable driver model.
  • We need to have a registry to track applications, and their installation paths, and installation parameters. (This will help with the install, uninstall, and dependency headaches)
  • We need a unified configuration system and configuration user interface.
  • We need a great GUI development IDE
  • We need to not release products with 200 dependencies that change every 4 weeks


The only thing Linux has over other operating systems right now, is price.

The Flexibility open source should provide is hampered too much by the above listed problems.

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (3, Insightful)

pnatural (59329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354286)

I'll bite, troll, cause I'm bored and you're an especially easy target.

Before this, there was almost no hope at all to get a working driver installed in less than 4 hours.

Wrong. There are many options to getting a driver in less than 4 hours. I did it just this morning (dropped the rt2500 driver back to the pre-smp ebuild). Time? Including compile, less than 5 minutes. I even restarted the network interface without dropping any existing ssh connections.

For all the people out there that are about to go on about apt-get or some stupid distro, here [sic] this: give it up.

See, a distro is a kind of linux operating system thingie, and a apt-get is a package management system thingie. Google is your friend, try looking up concepts once in a while.

Your "points":

We need to get a truly working pluggable driver model.

The content of your post clearly presents the fact that you are not part of the "we" here.

We need to have a registry to track applications, and their installation paths, and installation parameters. (This will help with the install, uninstall, and dependency headaches)

Linux needs no registry. Refer to /etc where everything related to a system-wide configuration belongs.

We need a unified configuration system and configuration user interface.

There are several: xterm + vi, aterm + emacs, konsole + nano, the combinations are nearly endless!

We need a great GUI development IDE

Again, several. The one that rocks the most IMO is KDevelop for GUI stuff. Emacs works for everything else.

We need to not release products with 200 dependencies that change every 4 weeks

Reference? Oh, wait, no, that sounds like hyperbole.

The only thing Linux has over other operating systems right now, is price.

You meant to say:

The only things Linux has over other operating systems right now are price, power, flexibility, and freedom.

As my children (who use Linux) would say: Go away little boy, and take your long nose with you.

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354372)

In other words, we need to make Windows out of Linux. But why bother? Those who want it have Windows already...

On a side note, most of the features you listed are already provided in one way or another. The only problem is, there are several implementations for each - so you're free to pick and choose (or get lost in all the options, as it happens).

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354411)


To illustrate, the reasons that Linux is not the dominant Operating system.

Linux is the dominate OS in my house.

* We need to get a truly working pluggable driver model.
I'm not sure what you mean. I've written a driver under 2.2.x that ported to 2.4.x and 2.6.x with no major changes. My windows 95 driver and to be scrapped and rewritten for NT.

* We need to have a registry to track applications, and their installation paths, and installation parameters. (This will help with the install, uninstall, and dependency headaches)
RPM fills this need (RPM+Apt-get even better).

* We need a unified configuration system and configuration user interface.
LSB addresses this issue.

* We need a great GUI development IDE
In english you said "We need a Graphical User Interface development Integrated Development Environment". Huh?

* We need to not release products with 200 dependencies that change every 4 weeks
I purchase Linux games all the time, even the old loki-games have no problems running on my latest OpenSuSE10 box. I been in dependency hell just once in my last 16 years of Linux usage and that was because I was trying to install Oracle on an un-certified Linux distribution.

My opinion,
Enjoy.

Credit to Novell (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354285)

They took a problem, wrapped a marketing program around it, and now it's an enterprise feature!

Re:Something is breaking, that's for sure (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354376)

Yeah - that sounds exactly like the Windows model... You get working drivers with the OS, and manufacturers update them when the OS requires it. For the vast majority of people who want to RUN linux rather than hack it this sounds like a GOOD thing.

If you do want to hack your driver source and compile it yourself, then nothing is stopping you from doing it for open source drivers.

Overhead? (1)

Golthur (754920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353754)

Not that I could tell from that fluff piece, but it's obviously some sort of kerneldriver interface layer or wrapper of some kind.

The question is, how much overhead does the abstraction add?

Re:Overhead? (2, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354110)

None. There isn't an abstraction layer. This is just a new process for Novell to notify hardware makers when they patch or build a new kernel, get precompiled binary drivers for their newly-built kernel and make them available to users as part of the security-update download of a new kernel package. It's got nothing to do with the actual driver modules, kernel compilation or anything in the software itself.

Shim driver? (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353759)

This doesn't have anything to do with that recent NV/ATI GPL violation story [slashdot.org] , does it?

(after reading Novell's intro page [novell.com] and the FAQ [novell.com] ) It's not a shim driver: "A driver is linked to a specific kernel version via Kernel Application Binary Interface (kABI) metadata. ... In the event of kernel updates Novell will notify partners about possible changes to the kABI". This is just a new process by which established device manufacturers can work with Novell, not a shim driver to create a stable kernel ABI.

Re:Shim driver? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354121)

Exactly. If you want a stable kernel API, you could help with The Extensible Driver Interface [sourceforge.net] project, particularly by helping to stabilize EDI itself and write a Linux layer.

Death by ABI (1)

farquharsoncraig (711336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354331)

Remindes me painfully of this: http://www.ussg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0512 .0/0972.html [iu.edu] The only breakthrough here is for hardware companies who don't want to publish specs for their hardware. Whoever at Novell designed this driver deal doesn't truly understand what Free Software is all about (or Open Source for that matter) and why it's important to have documented hardware.

Version numbering (4, Informative)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353767)

I am a longtime SuSE Linux Professional user, and I always wondered why they change the externally-visible kernel version number for each security update.
This makes binary and externally compiled drivers (including nvidia and vmware drivers that I use) break on every kernel update, and probably unnecessarily, The chances that anything changes to the driver interface because of a security patch are probably very slim, and they could always change the version in case a major change is made.

But now, it is just an annoyance. I need to install their patch, reboot into textmode, re-make the vmware and nvidia drivers, and again reboot to go back to fully functional operation. And I know how to do this. A beginning user is happy to finally have such an install/compile procedure behind him, and not at all happy to see the whole thing break after YOU installed a kernel patch.

(not to mention the fact that it can take him quite some time to find out that the kernel patch is the reason, and how to fix it)

Re:Version numbering (2, Informative)

Shisha (145964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353992)

This makes binary and externally compiled drivers (including nvidia and vmware drivers that I use) break on every kernel update, and probably unnecessarily

Unfortunately this is because the ABI _could_ change on every recompile. Hence the kernel version number has to be changed to reflect the fact that some drivers might be incompatible.

Re:No need for competition... (1)

pwnawannab (972367) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354433)

Amen to that - I am a Linux n00b - and until today was wondering why the @#$%^! my ATI 3D support allofthe sudden stopped working. I was indeed very happy to finally see some 3D support for the screensavers :)
God damn you Linux - end session and boot up to windows - ez life.

Marketing Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353784)

Hoho, Novell distributes (updates of) vendor-specific drivers for SUSE 10. Yeah, that'll cure the hunger in the world - not.

ok... (5, Interesting)

reynaert (264437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353803)

This is only going to work if you're using SuSE. And if you don't compile your own kernel. It only gives vendors an excuse to call their shitty binary-only drivers "Linux support". I'd call this thing a Linux driver setback.

Re:ok... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354389)

It only gives vendors an excuse to call their shitty binary-only drivers "Linux support".
They do that now already (NVidia and ATI being two most prominent examples), so what's your point? Besides, it's not like they are lying: the drivers allow you to use their hardware with Linux, what should it be called if not "Linux support"?

Welcome to Windows 2000 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353836)

Way to innovate, Novell. Way to join the party half a decade late.

Re:Welcome to Windows 2000 (1)

Havokmon (89874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354082)

LOL reminds me of Salvage.

I guess we know who writes the true Servers OS, and who writes the true Desktop OS.

Nice try at a troll though :)

a new Linux device driver process (5, Funny)

special_agent (88338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15353929)

a new Linux device driver process

Sounds more like a new marketing process.

Re:a new Linux device driver process (1)

prjames (813849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354175)

A new marketing process!

I must need one of those, where can I get one now................

Another Reason to use Windows (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15353991)

All drivers already exist. Fucking Linux NOOBS.

Kernel Building (2)

PenGun (794213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354025)

Is not as hard as some make out. It's worth spending a few hours learning how to build your own kernel, it will reward you.

  Then we would not have put up with pitiful crap like this quite so often.

    PenGun
  Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !
 

Re:Kernel Building (1)

Hexry (973468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354327)

Is not as hard as some make out. It's worth spending a few hours learning how to build your own kernel
no it's not worth spending a few hours in your day just to add a minor security patch when you have other more important things to worry about not everyone has 'a few' hours spare just to read through various wikis

Re:Kernel Building (0, Troll)

PenGun (794213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354463)

Cool be dependent then. If you don't want to learn that's just fine by me.

  Some people don't like having to depend on some organization to fix their problems but I guess that's just liberal-commie thinking, you know the strong independant ... oh hold it, that can't be right ;).

  I guess my ability to get almost any damn thing to run by fooling with kernel and drivers is just wasted effort. Hi ho ....

    PenGun
  Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !

Sure it's SUSE® Linux Enterprise products? (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354129)

While you're at it with the ® symbol, shouldn't it really read Novell's SUSE® Linux(tm) Enterprise products. As far as I know Linus Torvalds owns the Linux(tm) trademark. In case someone complains, I was going to use the & trade; entity but slashcode filters it out for some reason.

So enabling YasT to handle kernel modules... (2, Interesting)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354217)

So enabling YasT to handle kernel modules... is now a breakthrough.

I mean, all this appears to be is distribution of precompiled kernel modules being handled by the package manager. This is not a good thing, let alone a huge advance.

How about a package manager that downloads the code, lets you inspect, customize, or debug it, then compiles it and adds it to your modules list once you approve it?

Re:So enabling YasT to handle kernel modules... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354344)

How about a package manager that downloads the code, lets you inspect, customize, or debug it, then compiles it and adds it to your modules list once you approve it?

Any code that is compiled locally is by definition untested, and many people don't want to run untested drivers.

But if you want Gentoo, you know where to find it.

Re:So enabling YasT to handle kernel modules... (1)

Hellboy0101 (680494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354438)

I don't know why Dell is partnering on this. They've had dkms [dell.com] for a while now, and it sounds like it does pretty much the same thing. I've used it in PCLinuxOS [pclinuxos.com] for about a year now for loading NVidia drivers without needing to compile anything, and it works fine.

What about the GPL (1)

CloneRanger (122623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354253)

Is this circumventing the GPL? Doesn't this hinder the ideal of getting the drivers out in the open where the community can support them? Or is this just a way to legitimise binary only drivers? Who will do the security review for these drivers? Seems like a Bad Idea to me.

Failure of computing. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15354278)

Let's get philosophical. Why does this problem exist? Has it ever occured to any of you that device drivers are themselves a complete throwback and an obomination in the 21st Century? We take them for granted, but there is no good reason whatsoever for a computer peripheral to use "device drivers". None.

If you can't design a piece of hardware that works through an existing standardised interface you're no kind of engineer at all. And take your pick.. firewire, USB, RS232, SCSI...

Do you suppose every video display, digital camera, audio converter and so on is somehow uniquely special, that it is so ground breaking in its design that it needs custom crafted code just to make it work?

We are so entrenched in our legacy thinking that nobody, not even smart developers ever ask themselves the obvious paradigm breaking question, why the hell should you need a device driver? The reason is no more than a gross failure of modern computing, a failure of standardisation, a failure of coordination and regulation. It is a failure of ourselves as users and customers to demand a higher standard of compatibility. It is a failure of us as developers and coders to solve a simple problem once and move on.

Before you answer with some circular reasoning that merely begs the question take five and think it through. I speak as a software and hardware engineer who has designed and built entire computer systems and written an operating system.

Where's the "Linux" in this? (3, Insightful)

tmandry (710511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15354309)

It just pisses me off how Novell might be very successful in this, and if they are, it has no benefit for Linux (as in, you know, the free/open source side), and quite possibly a negative effect. All this does is benefit Novell, and once companies write up their drivers, where are the rest of us that use real Linux left? In the dust, and possibly moreso, because now the companies can say with a smile on their faces that they support Linux, and may not ever bother to turn back and support the rest of us. Thanks Novell, for giving the world a stabler Windows.
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