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Intel — Only "Open" For Business

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the call-to-action dept.

213

Michael Knudsen writes, "Intel still refuses to work with open source projects such that they can provide their users with proper support for Intel's hardware products. As he has done before, Theo de Raadt once again asks users to take action by contacting Intel, telling them what they think of their current policy of not releasing hardware documentation and granting open source projects the right to distribute hardware firmware with their products. Failing to do so only harms users in the way that they risk having unsupported or malfunctioning hardware in their operating system of choice." Read more below.

It's really important that people understand that Intel is only trying to cooperate just enough to make people believe that they're open and doing the right thing. Don't fool yourselves: They are not.

What we need all users of open source software to do is contact Intel and let them know what you think of their current behaviour. If you run a big department and chose another vendor's products over Intel's because it doesn't work in your operating system, let them know, along with how many units they could have sold you. If you are an end user who has had problems when using Intel hardware because of poor support, let them know.

Let them know that their current lack of support will only harm them in the long run because you will be avoiding their products. Let them know that you want your hardware to work out of the box when you have installed your operating system of choice, and how Intel is preventing this with their lack of support.

Intel is not doing you a favor by requiring you to go to a website and download firmware for your hardware. You paid for the hardware, and Intel is thanking you by making it difficult for you to use it. Let Intel know what you think of this.

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213 comments

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damned if you do... (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263773)

Failing to do so only harms users in the way that they risk having unsupported or malfunctioning hardware in their operating system of choice.

So we get unsupported or malfunctioning hardware with our operating system of choice, or we get supported and functioning hardware with a malfunctioning operating system. cool.

Re:damned if you do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263847)

Zaphod Beeblebrox and Mahmoud Ahamdinejad have a lot in common.

Re:damned if you do... (0, Troll)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263967)

So trolls who bag Windows get modded "Funny"; try the same with Linux/*nix/OSX and expect a "Flamebait".

Riiiight.

Re:damned if you do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264015)

So trolls who bag Windows get modded "Funny"; try the same with Linux/*nix/OSX and expect a "Flamebait".

Only because there isn't a "-1 Wrong" or "-1 Stupid". With Linux/*BSD/OSX, it's funny cause it's true. With Windows, it'd be funny because it'd be wrong, and the poster would be such an obvious moron and/or fanboy.

Windows deserves to get bagged. (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265381)

My boss at work opened up his store, with the till being run by a machine that he brought from home -- Installed (as usual) with only the (default) administrator user.

He then asked me to create a new user so that I could put some data in a safe, place, but i made the mistake of making my new user an administrator -- as soon as I did this, it became impossible to log in as the old administrator using the standard XP login screen. It took me some googling to figure out what had happened, but once I understood what was wrong, and even though the fix would have been almost trivial, if I had the source code (turn off the check for a second user), the only available fix for me (given that my boss hates the old NT-4 login screen) was to reformat the drive and re-install the entire OS.

Re:Windows deserves to get bagged. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265591)

It sounds like the 'only choice' was forced by your bosses arbitrary 'hatred' of the old NT-4 login screen, for the most part.

Re:damned if you do... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264357)

So we get unsupported or malfunctioning hardware with our operating system of choice, or we get supported and functioning hardware with a malfunctioning operating system. cool.

Which only proves, as a friend of mine once said in the bad old 1980s, that "computers would be great if it weren't for hardware."

If it were not for hardware I suppose that instead of posting to Slashdot we'd all be sitting around in togas doing ruler and compass constructions and arguing about the nature of the ideal state. And bitching about how our compass collapses every time we lift it off the surface.

Hmmm. So maybe not that different.

Re:damned if you do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16265079)

"computers would be great if it weren't for hardware."

They'd be pretty good without users too.

Theo The Rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263791)

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263927)

Eh, what does that mean?

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

s-whs (959229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264019)

[ Theo The Rat ]

| Eh, what does that mean?

That's obvious. Theo left the sinking netbsd-ship!

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264281)

Actually, it's more like "Theo the Counsellor" or "Theo the Lawyer".

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264413)

Are you seriously suggesting a difference between 'lawyers' and 'rats'?

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

hahiss (696716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264885)


Insert joke about "how there are some things a rat just won't do" here.

Re:Theo The Rat (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265155)

I, as a rat, must say that your comparison is utterly sickening, and that any moderators should give you -1 for this evil hate speech.

Re:Theo The Rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16265313)

Actually, to you sir, it would properly be, "De Brat".

In my humble opinion, Theo's both committed and sincere.

Two things that appear to be missing at Intel's head office.

There is always Opencores.org as an option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263831)

Intel, AMD, etc. - are all unnecessary, if they won't play nice, they should be replaced with open source hardware.

For more info, try "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opencores" - as the opencores.org site appears to be down.

Re:There is always Opencores.org as an option (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264027)

Yeah, great idea, but where do I get an Opencore processor? Or do I just manufacture these in my living room somehow with gum and duck tape?

Re:There is always Opencores.org as an option (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265487)

You'll also need a silicon wafer kiln capable of consistent lattice seeding at around 2000K. Other than that, gum and duct tape should do.

OH TEH NOES - TEH BILIUN DOLLAR INTEL WONT HELP ME (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263841)

I demand an Intel rep meat with me in my basement. Did I just say "meat"? I meant "meet". Also, by "basement", I meant my 54th floor office suite. Anyway, as I was saying - I think a company who has spent billions investing in the computing industry should meet me in my basement - I mean office tower suite on the 52nd floor - so we can discuss my PHP stolen mp3 inventory system.

Yes, but: (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263843)

I couldn't agree more with the goal here, but the approach seems a bit unproductive. I refer to the parts like this:

James is a big fat liar

(It's in TFA, believe it or not.)

This is no way to get the other side to play nicely with you.

Re:Yes, but: (3, Informative)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263929)

If you need to keep IP closed source (for example some whiz-bang algorithm), document the hardware sufficiently that the community can provide their own.


James Ketrenos, Intel Open Source Technology Center

Agreed, I wouldn't call him a big fat liar as long as I haven't given him the chance to respond and do something about the situation.
I hope and guess this was done.
James ?

Re:Yes, but: (2, Informative)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263961)

well, theo deraadt seemed clearly pissed indeed, but was also smart enough to realise that, and for a correct way to contact intel, he suggests the careful post written by another person that was done to TI [theaimsgroup.com] as an example how to write to Intel.

Re:Yes, but: (3, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265541)

"well, theo deraadt seemed clearly pissed indeed, but was also smart enough to realise that, and for a correct way to contact intel, he suggests the careful post written by another person that was done to TI as an example how to write to Intel." .. and strangely enough stupid enough not to realise that everything he publishes on the Internet can have consequences. If Intel-executives have read this story (and it may have been presented to them by one of their employees) then no amount of polite letter from De Raadt is going to help, because the Intel people would have already made up their minds about De Raadt.

His writing was unhelpful, unproductive, unprofessional immature, and downright slanderous.

Re:Yes, but: (1, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265627)

Well, anyway, your comment about Theo was slanderous.

Re:Yes, but: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264355)

Well, working for , I already talked with our Intel account manager a couple of years ago about other things like IPSEC and was told that they try to be as open and supporting as possible. It's getting a bit tiresome that this keeps coming up. You seriously begin to doubt that they are discussing in good faith at all. Theo may or may not have a point about James lying, but about Intel as a whole, this looks pretty strong.

Re:Yes, but: (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264433)

This is no way to get the other side to play nicely with you.

I think part of the problem is that "compromise" isn't in Theo's mental dictionary. The whole point of Mr. Ketrenos is that compromise is possible, a useful message for many hardware suppliers. Theo, on the other hand, seems to read "compromise" and think "unconditional surrender", and then he gets to feeling all betrayed when the other party goes and does what they said they would.

It's ether that or Theo is a refugee from some parallel universe Bizzaro World, where "up yours, scumbags!" is a polite way to open a formal dialogue and "good morning, gentlemen" is a killing insult. One of the two, certainly.

Re:Yes, but: (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264533)

"Compromise" with entities of great wealth and power generally means capitulation.

When such entities sense weakness, they will ignore the other party or go in for the kill.

The only way for consumers to deal with a corporation of great wealth and power like Intel is to let them know you are willing to stop using their products, and further, to organize a boycott against them. If they have any inkling that you are serious, then there may be compromise.

It wasn't always that way, but that's how it is now.

Re:Yes, but: (4, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264919)

It's ether that or Theo is a refugee from some parallel universe Bizzaro World, where "up yours, scumbags!" is a polite way to open a formal dialogue and "good morning, gentlemen" is a killing insult. One of the two, certainly.
Well, he is Canadian.

Be professional! (5, Insightful)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263861)

I tried to keep it short and to the point, my email to them read:

Subject: Linux Wireless Firmware Distribution

I was very happy to hear that Intel is working with the community to
ensure that G965 graphics will work out of the box under Linux.

I am very sad to hear that Intel isn't doing the same for their wireless
products WRT freely distributable firmware.

I am a developer in the Computing Services department at a 30 thousand
plus student university. Community enabled Linux support is a huge
factor in the purchasing decisions of our department.

Re:Be professional! (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263911)

Well written. You also explain what the heck the article was referring to, because it isn't clear in the summary. I had mod points a few hours ago, but alas they are no more. May you be modded above the junk and the trolls.

Re:Be professional! (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264443)

There is a reason for that.

2D (and 3D) algorithms are commodity, they are well known (most are published 20+ years ago) and large part of the card is designed towards a rather old, but still valid common standard (VESA). In addition to that there is no regulatory regime to deal with it. Having "super duper secrets" in a low-to-mid sector video parts makes no sense whatsoever.

Wireless chipsets operate with a mix of commodity and private algorithms, there is no common spec regarding the way the platform sees them and there standards specify only the external side and nothing on the OS side. In addition to that there is list of Frequency Nazies to deal in every country. All of them insist that any power, frequency and tuning parameters are private and inaccessible to Joe Average Luser. In a modern chipset these are done in firmware and having them secret and limited makes all the sense in the world to a manufacturer. They have to distribute it under strict conditions which limit its possible uses and forbid tampering. If they do not they will lose their license. This forces the license terms on Intel, Atheros, etc. They have no choice on the matter and writing billions of letters to them will be pointless. There will be no change of mind and the firmware will always be under a license that is OSS incompatible. The right addressee for the mail is FCC (and its analogues). It is their business to enforce frequency bands and they are taking the easy way out by passing this responsibility to the manufacturers. If we really want wireless OSS firmware (I doubt that) the enforcement method of the current FCC regime must change and FCC must allow the manufacturers to release such firmware.

Until then, no point to bother and Theo should vent some steam elsewhere. Plenty of new crypto processors around without support in OpenBSD (or elsewhere).

Re:Be professional! (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264685)

I'm posting this from a piggybacked connection (thank you, neighbour). Cracked it using special drivers for my Atheros card (which I bought in UK, too, and should not work here - oh, wait, "drivers"...) Doing that in Windows, of course. I'm not crazy enough to try to make wireless work in Linux or other AGAIN. Last time I tried, I wasted 48h. Theo should just download the firmware, include it in BSD, and use that binary blob until either Intel gets it and opens up the spec, or until someone writes a Free firmware. What, it's illegal? So is distributing the binary nvidia diver on a LiveCD. It happens, though, and no one even notices!

Re:Be professional! (1, Flamebait)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264723)

What, it's illegal?
Yes. Will you fund OpenBSD's legal defence?
So is distributing the binary nvidia diver on a LiveCD.
Incorrect. NVIDIA have granted everyone permission to distribute their driver.

Re:Be professional! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265617)

An OpenCores wireless chipset would be nice, especially if the chipset was able to be tuned for freq/power in the software.

Production of even small numbers could be done at any cheap foundry, these are not complex chips like GPUs and certainly not CPUs, they could be done at any small chipshop in China, Taiwan or India (find a jurisdiction that won't kill the project for breaking local spectrum regulations).

As it'd be open, any foundry could produce them to order, and OSS groups could raise funds from users who pre-order them. There are far more details to work out and possibly better ways to organise it, but I think the idea of getting the simpler chipsets done in an open fashion can work, especially since the IEEE specifies the various WiFi specs and making a chip to comply with them is in principle the same as getting an OSS browser to comply with W3C specs or indeed getting an OSS operating system to comply with POSIX.

An ambution project? Absolutely. Unfeasible? Not at all. Who would have thought 15 years ago that a hobbyist OS from some geek in Helsinki would one day cripple commercial Unix sales?

Intel open enough for me (5, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263863)

It should be noted that Intel manufactures the only technologically-current graphics processor which can claim to have open source drivers, and then Intel series of gigabit ethernet NICs is by far the best choice for use with Linux. Intel's wireless chips, the subject of the article, are not completely open but are rather more open than some of the competition.

Re:Intel open enough for me (0, Flamebait)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264097)

Mod the parent up!

It's true - the Intel 945GM on my laptop is currently running open-source drivers supplied by Intel and merged into the Xorg codebase.

The great de Raadt may be frustrated, but the accusations he's leveling make him sound like a big, fat crybaby. I know that's childish, but I don't represent an entire open-source operating system, do I?

Did he stop to think that maybe Intel hasn't got complete control over the IP in the products he wants open-source drivers and open specs for?

Re:Intel open enough for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264203)

"Did he stop to think that maybe Intel hasn't got complete control over the IP in the products he wants open-source drivers and open specs for?"

Why should he? If the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer really has such issues, they can be resolved.

Re:Intel open enough for me (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265323)

Intel does seem really odd on this issue. They employ Eric Anholt, for example, who is the maintainer of the FreeBSD DRI port, and so they have the best supported (blob-free) 3D cards for FreeBSD. But they don't let you distribute the firmware blob for their cards. The documentation is quite important, but the OpenBSD team has become pretty good at reverse engineering WiFi cards now (I almost feel like giving them documentation would spoil their fun). Not allowing the distribution of the firmware is inexcusable, however. Without the firmware, the card is completely useless. Theo is not asking for the source code, he is just asking for permission to distribute a binary that is on the drivers CD for the card so that users don't have to hunt for the CD (and probably use Windows to decompress the installer) or download it from the Intel web site.

Just to re-itterate; he is not asking them to open source the firmware. He is asking for them to allow OpenBSD to distribute the binary. This is not a binary blob in the OpenBSD sense, since it runs on the WiFi card, and not in the kernel. On older cards, it would have been stored in ROM on the board, but modern cards save money by making the driver load it at runtime.

Not so. Matrox G550 is open too, including 3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264245)

Intel manufactures the only technologically-current graphics processor which can claim to have open source drivers

Not so. I'm using brand new Matrox G550 PCIe [matrox.com] graphics cards in my servers, and they're running the 100% open-source drivers that come with Linux. I didn't even need to use the Linux driver sources that Matrox supply on their website.

And furthermore, these cards and their open-source drivers run 3D apps without a hitch, although they're not fast compared to ATI and nVidia of course. (Not bad for fanless cards though.) Matrox also provide a HAL accelerator binary blob, but it's not needed in an open-source system.

So, Intel doesn't provide the only technologically-current graphics cards with open-source drivers.

Whereas Matrox does have one *totally exclusive* claim to fame: in addition to open drivers, the G550 PCIe cards are the only ones that will run in PCIe slots of fewer than 16 lanes (16X), and hence are the only ones that work with archetypal "server" motherboards that tend not to have 16X PCIe slots.

Re:Not so. Matrox G550 is open too, including 3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264643)

"I'm using brand new Matrox G550 PCIe [matrox.com] graphics cards in my servers, and they're running the 100% open-source drivers that come with Linux."

I'm using Matrox Parhelia card that was released several years ago. Still no working drivers! Drivers are closed binary drivers and the installer is a really messy piece of software that does not work on 85% of the cases. Just read Matrox Linux forum.

Matrox G550 does not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16265009)

I'm using an old Matrox G550 AGP and it does not work. The free drivers cause the hardware to emmit the wrong frequencies when using the second output (as DSUB is soldered to the first, the second output is my only choice). There are drivers without source from Matrox which make me able to use the output but are buggy like hell. At least they fixed this up to 5 min timeout at startup, but it still regulary shuts down and does not work untill a reboot every few months.

If anyone has any documentation how to get this work? (I already tried to fix it, but the free driver just magically writes some ports, and till it writes to the ports, all frequencies are correct) please!

Re:Not so. Matrox G550 is open too, including 3D (1)

jrobinson5 (974354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265339)

You have a graphics card on your server? Why?

Re:Intel open enough for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264909)

It should be noted that Intel manufactures the only technologically-current graphics processor which can claim to have open source drivers

Indeed it has been noted, I hate that I have to taint my kernels with nvidius blobus. My servers are intels, current desktops and laptops are all AMD/NV. Intels free drivers elevate their chipset to preferred status at upgrade time, for me it's more of selling point than the core2. With the workstations I provide and maintain for clients, there's a humble 30-40 machines a year converted to Intel.


Intel series of gigabit ethernet NICs is by far the best choice for use with Linux.

+1


2 of my SR series (Intel) servers have adaptec SCSI RAID, my understanding was that on linux the RAID was done in software and the adaptec hardware was only used as an interface. I didn't need RAID when I colo'd these, so I didn't investigate further, however it would be nice to know that any hardware is fully supported in future purchases.

Intel are clearly making an effort and may have all my business so long as I can completely disable any TPM or other trecherous devices and RAID support would be most welcome. I don't currently use wireless, I think that chipset vendors hide behind "regulatory issues" which is nonsense and I'd like for the support to be there.

Re:Intel open enough for me (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265477)

Intel is doing this for a good reason I am afraid.
They believe, or their lawyers believe, or the FCC has told them that they can not release the full programing specs to those adapters.
Those wireless adaptors use soft radios. You can change the frequency, transmission power, and goodness knows what else by just changing a register.
Intel runs a huge risk of law suits, products loosing certifications, and possible criminal actions if they release those drivers.
Will Theo indemnify Intel for all damages and criminal liability if they release the information?
The FCC requires unlicensed devices to be not easily modifiable to operate out of band. The ability to go in and change a const or DEFINE MAXPOWER from 0xFE to 0xFF may be considered easily modifiable by the FCC.

You could argue that they should put hardware limits on these chips so they could release them but that wouldn't help for the current adaptors and frankly would add a lot of cost to the chip set while providing no benefit to the users except that they could have "free" as in speech drivers. Of course they can have that now if they use an Orinoco card. And they can have free as in beer drivers now for the Intel chip set. Of course going with hard radios does have some down sides for the user. If the FCC opens up some more space in the band the wifi card works in or changes the power limits a soft radio card can adapt with new drivers while a hard card is stuck.

So what Theo is doing is grandstanding to keep his name in front of people. Why is he complaining. Frankly it is totally with in the spirit of BSD for Intel to grab a BSD driver, modify it, and then offer only a binary of it. And I have to wonder just how important a wifi card set is to the OpenBSD community? OpenBSD is mainly used on servers. Servers don't often use WiFi cards and even if are using OpenBSD on a notebook you have the option of using an Orinoco card.
Theo is choosing to ignore the reality of these regulations because they are inconvenient.
If he really wants this to happen he needs to go before the FCC and what ever the EU, Japanese, Canadian, Australian, and or Chinese equivalent agencies are and get them to rule that releasing the specs will not effect the licence of these devices.
If he can do that then all the wifi chipset makers will have the opportunity to release the specs to the FOSS community.

Other wise he is asking Intel to risk a few million or billion dollars in fines, court costs, and or lost sales so he can have a driver with a license he likes.
Yes it would be great to have totally free wifi drivers. But in this case Intel has some really good legal reasons for releasing only binary blobs.
In other words they are not just trying to be proprietary.

Give them credit for all the documentation that they do release to the FOSS community. From what I hear only the wifi adapters are restricted.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

t0qer (230538) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263879)

I'm not sure how to respond to this one without getting downmodded into the pits of hell, but here goes...

This article was very scant on what exactly intel isn't supporting. All it says is some blurb about requiring folks to download firmware before they can use their OS of choice on intel hardware.

WHAT HARDWARE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

CPU? Chipset? NIC? Router? Switches? What.. What the hell are you complaining about? Bios updates for Motherboards?

I hate to bitch, but when you get some pretty good in depth stories rejected for lame hoopla like this, you get mad.

--toq

Re:Who cares? (2, Informative)

Nikademus (631739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263899)

You should read deeper. Theo was focused here in firmwares for wireless chipsets. There are probably other firmwares needed (as for RAID cards)

Why Firmware? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263881)

Are we talking firmware or drivers here? I know that some "good" hardware vendors help out by giving the specs for their devices, but I didn't know that they also open-source their firmware. I thought the "firmware blob" is not specific to any operating system -- that's why you need the OS-specific driver in between.

Any device firmware is part of the overall BIOS whole, right? Are those open-source? (Even OpenFirmware?) Do distro vendors really need the whole firmware code, or just the interface details (i.e. the specs)? Somebody please clarify :)

Re:Why Firmware? (5, Informative)

portmapper (991533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264195)

OpenBSD want to distribute firmware along with the OS under an acceptable license. They are not asking for the source
code of the firmware. Intel are instractible here, so owners of Intel wireless devices needs to personally accept a license
before downloading the firmware. As an example: http://ipw2100.sourceforge.net/firmware.php [sourceforge.net]

As for open source drivers: OpenBSD wants hardware documentation, not a Linux driver, so that they can write their own drivers.
Intel claims that they are open source friendly and gives out documentation, but the last is clearly a lie since OpenBSD had to reverse
engineer several Intel wireless chipsets.

Giving the appearance of beeing friendly to open source, while not beeing so, is the latest fad in business. Intel is an example
of this fad.

Re:Why Firmware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16265229)

Sir, with all due respect, it's actually spelt being.

That is, unless your intention was honnied.

Template please? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263885)

Could someone with good writing skills come up with a template for said email? Thanks.

Okay, I'll Try (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264009)

Dear Intel,

I am humble Nigerian prince with a great wealth of BSD users in a locked-out community...

Aw, shucks.

Got one for you... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264029)

Copy everything in italics below:
All you motherfuckers are gonna pay. You are the ones who are the ball-lickers. We're gonna fuck your mothers while you watch and cry like little bitches. Once we get to Santa Clara and find those Intel fucks who are making us go online for firmware updates, we're gonna make 'em eat our shit, then shit out our shit, then eat their shit which is made up of our shit that we made 'em eat. Then all you motherfucks are next.
Love, the Open Source Community.

Re:Got one for you... (0)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265239)

Mod funny! Classic quote from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back...

Re:Template please? (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264395)

don't use a template, it'd make it look like it's just a bot doing it, it's better to have a slightly worse e-mail which at least looks personal than just a generic one

Not Holding My Breath (3, Insightful)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263889)

Intel's behavior won't affect the market one way or another. As a whole, the market is barreling towards an open source model. If Intel opens up, that's great. If they don't, it won't matter because someone else will enter the market that's willing to do so. The market will follow the demand, with or without Intel.

Re:Not Holding My Breath (2, Informative)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263983)

As a whole, the market is barreling towards an open source model.

What hard, current evidence do you have that the market is barreling towards open source?

I see it meekly traipsing along, while MSFT earned $1400 every second of every day of fiscal year 2006, and is on pace to earn $1500 every second of every day of fiscal year 2007.

Re:Not Holding My Breath (1)

drphilngood (827006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264011)

If they don't, it won't matter because someone else will enter the market that's willing to do so.
AMD is already friendly to OSS; just see here: http://vendorwatch.org/index.php?title=Main_Page [vendorwatch.org] That's one of the reasons I buy their products and recommend them to others.

Re:Not Holding My Breath (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265351)

AMD recently bought ATi, which is marked as 'Very Unfriendly' on that sheet. Since then, they still haven't released the data sheets for ATi GPUs, while Intel continue to release theirs (and even employ a few DRI developers).

Re:Not Holding My Breath (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265209)

Intel's behavior won't affect the market one way or another.

Coincidentally, I am shopping for a PC that will run open source software from day one. I was pondering is it to be a core duo or a X2?

I think Intel can scratch me as a future customer. I am not going to email, I am going to quietly just buy the AMD system in the next few days as I figure market share will have the biggest impact.

Take another brand I will not buy, Broadcom. Their reference design uses Linux for wireless, they even license it but will not open source it. This is quite hypocritical to say the least.

I guess some of these manufacturers are intimidated by Microsoft perhaps not including their drivers if they support open sources. Supporting open sources will cost these companies almost nothing in fact benefit them greatly. They can make the chips and hardware and get the open community to provide first class drivers.

3COM used to distribute everything you needed to know to program their cards, even some sample source. Coincidentally they became the most popular when this practice was in place.

So there are those that will not buy open source unfriendly products. Even Microsoft fanboys should head this as in the future it could mean they can't recycle the PC for anything but the OS they purchased it with.

How is this to Intel's advantage? (3, Interesting)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263895)

I dont totally understand whats going on here. What does intel stand to gain from refusing to publish hardware documentation? The article seems to imply that they are doing something shady and sneaky so that they can make more money but I dont see how this is to their advantage in any way. How do they stand to gain by having people writing software without proper documentation? I would think this would hurt them if anything. Can someone please enlighten me? Although I am ill informed on this issue, calling someone you are trying to influence a "big fat liar" and publishing anothers personal email so that they can be spammed hardly seems like a good idea.

Re:How is this to Intel's advantage? (2, Informative)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263943)

If the hardware turns out to be extremely buggy, then it might be Intel's advantage not to publish any documentation. Their drivers and firmware code might be full of software based workarounds for hardware flaws that the PR-department would not want the public to see. If this was the case, publishing these to the open source community would make a hole in Intel's credibility as a hardware manufacturer, and possible create monetary losses in selling new products.

Note that I'm not saying that this is the case, but it might be.

Re:How is this to Intel's advantage? (2, Insightful)

portmapper (991533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264277)

> If the hardware turns out to be extremely buggy, then it might be Intel's advantage not to publish any documentation.

This was suspected as the reason why Sun did not release hardware docs for UltraSPARC III. Only very recently did
OpenBSD have working device drivers for UltraSPARC III.

Re:How is this to Intel's advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264791)

Sometimes, the software driver will contain "intellectual property" that the manufacturer wants to protect from competitors. This is the same situation as with winmodems - the hardware is dumb, the clever bits are in the software. Arguably, this is a poor design, as it forces a binary driver on the users, making compatibility with free software difficult or impossible. However, it is a very common thing - although broadband has fortunately almost rid us of the dreadful winmodems, the same problem has reappeared for 3D and wireless network cards.

Re:How is this to Intel's advantage? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265001)

One more possibility I've read is that they might not have the documentation together in one neat file such that an outside developer can use it.

So that's why their... (1)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263897)

...logo once had the text Intel Inside.

You'd have to be an insider to get the documentation.

Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264303)

Even being someone that used to be on the inside, finding the right person was a joke. The problem isn't that intel doesn't want to help. It's that if they try to help it will show exactly how un-organized they really are.

downside up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16263903)

One of the complaints many of /.'s armchair coders have about the BSD license is that any company could come in and close source it. But *BSD (especially OpenBSD) is aggresive about not allowing closed source drivers, an accepted fact of life in Linux land.

not our enemy (3, Insightful)

juventasone (517959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263917)

If you compare Intel to other motherboard, chipset, or processor manufacturers, you'll find they arguably have better documentation and support for end-user and IT people than any of their competitors. They also are one of the only manufacturers I've seen to use open-source projects like FreeDOS and ISOLINUX. In their server lineup they support Linux as much as anyone.

Since I'm not a developer I can't speak from a developer's perspective, but there seems to be a liking in this community to paint Intel with a brush of "evil tight-fisted corporation" when they're actually one of the few who act like they care.

Re:not our enemy (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264913)

Well, unless you're trying to make a completley open OS. In which case 'better' documentation and support doesn't cut it when parts that are required to make hardware work are closed and are only accessable via a NDA if at all.

Theo gets irritated because companies claiming to support open source do not when asked to.

Maybe (-1, Flamebait)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263945)

Theo should just shut up and build his own fucking fab and produce chips that can compete with intel/amd and the he can tell us what he thinks.

Re:Maybe (0, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264057)

Ah I see I get modded as trolling when OSS had contributed so fucking much to chip and board design for intel and yet another OSS advocate sounds off about their perrty grievances when others have done the work for them.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264399)

Your argument makes total sense; Let's try it with something you can understand, like bread.

Theo: "it would be really good if MrBread would tell us how to open the packet for the bread we bought"

You: "stupid Theo, you didn't bake the bread, why should you be allowed to open the packet you _paid_for_?".

Theo is not taking this from the point of view of someone who wants to make free wireless devices which compete with intel. He is being a paying customer and asking to be allowed to use the product he / his users bought. That shouldn't be too complex.

My Suggestion (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263963)

While I actually think TFA is virtually useless, I understand that people want better wireless support for their various open source OS's. Intel's drivers for this are really quite open when compared to most others, but if you want drivers that are more open than Intel's, choose ones with the RT2400, RT2500, RT2570, and RT61 chipsets by RaLink. The drivers were open-sourced last year and have progressed quite well. Find more info at http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Main _Page [serialmonkey.com] and http://sourceforge.net/projects/rt2400 [sourceforge.net] .

Re:My Suggestion (2, Interesting)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264781)

I've bought a rt2500 and the drivers are not really good. The code is messy enough that the kernel developers won't accept the driver and the driver is missing features such as WPA. They are rewriting it, but the new version will not be accepted into the kernel until the devicescape framework is. I still can't get WPA to work with the beta driver.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't buy the card. I bought the card because there are no better option. It is one of the few that will be supported out of the box with linux since it doesn't require a binary firmware or a binary kernel module. It just isn't ready quite yet.

Re:My Suggestion (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264891)

I'm not claiming anything is perfect here, just that people who care about open drivers (what the article is about) should choose this card if they can, because it is completely open, with no binary firmware. If the community works on this one well enough, it will have all those "missing pieces" soon enough. Incidentally, WEP, WPA and WPA2 should be handled by the 2x00 Beta4, due out "real soon now."

And its soooo funny (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16263997)

What we need all users of open source software to do is contact Intel and let them know what you think of their current behaviour. If you run a big department and chose another vendor's products over Intel's because it doesn't work in your operating system, let them know, along with how many units they could have sold you.


There's 95% of the universe ruled out right there, and like intel gives a rats ass about whats left

Intel DOES provide some OS drivers (1)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264003)

http://intellinuxgraphics.org/ [intellinuxgraphics.org]

http://ipw2100.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

but obviously not enough for *BSD

Re:Intel DOES provide some OS drivers (3, Informative)

portmapper (991533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264171)

What OpenBSD asks for is hardware documentation, not source code.

They also ask for the right to distribute firmware under an acceptable license, but Intel refuses. Ironically your link
above describe exactly the Intel attitude: http://ipw2100.sourceforge.net/firmware.php [sourceforge.net]

Upon selecting a link above you will be taken to the firmware license agreement. Agreeing to the terms
presented on that page will direct your browser to the firmware download.

Re:Intel DOES provide some OS drivers (3, Informative)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264701)

Intel does distribute the firmware for the newer ipw3945 driver under a sane license [bughost.org] . Unfortunately, nobody distributes that since it requires a binary daemon to function. One has to wonder why Intel has not relicensed the other firmware files. They have acknowledged that the ipw2100/2200 license is too complicated and doesn't meet the needs of distributors, but they don't want to fix that problem. It would seem that Intel does not want their drivers supported out of the box on open source operating systems.

If I were to write to Intel, I would ask that all wireless firmware be released under the ipw3945 license. Intel legal has already approved it and it provides a clear description of exactly what we want.

Software @ Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264137)

Intel is clearly not a software company, and likely never will be. Most employees there do not understand or think beyond the hardware level, even after supposedly switching to a 'platform' company in 2006. The few managers at Intel making software decisions have little knowledge of open source or its benefits. Ultimately, like most companies, every decision is driven by dollars and it is not easy to show significant revenue loss by keeping driver source closed. The current level of Linux support is probably the best you will see for a long time, and might decrease as head count reductions continue into 2007.

VLAD POOPED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264181)

christ lockwood!! not in marticock's crib!!!! this is just about the sickest thing ever

This is done for a reason.. (DRM) (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264253)

Upon the launch of the pentium D, some intel spokesperson was talking about how that chip somehow encorporated hardware based infrastructure for DRM.

Microsoft's requirements for vista incorporate all sorts of DRM support requirements and requirements for hollywood approval of components.

The latest intel 64 bit lines are supposed to work with microsoft's software to prevent use of debuggers and other program modifications (such "malware" as the windvd patch to allow DVD-A ripping) through encorporation of "non executable" memory/register sections.

Granted I'm no einstein on the subject.. but wouldn't providing explicit documentation for such features allow OSS communities to write new firmware for vista to gut it of it's magical DRM capabilities?

I'm not saying it's not underhanded, anticompetitive, and just downright mean, but through this lense the lack of documentation to those whose licensing policies are directly opposed to the concept of NDA's their stance makes absolute sense.

Sorry, that's not it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264649)

Granted I'm no einstein on the subject.. but wouldn't providing explicit documentation for such features allow OSS communities to write new firmware for vista to gut it of it's magical DRM capabilities?

No, that's not it. The problem here is similar to the problem with winmodems: so much of the "intellectual property" is in the driver that the manufacturer is afraid of giving it away. The result is a closed-source driver. We will see more cases like this in the future.

The DRM thing (TCPA) is actually an open standard, not a secret. The security it provides is not through the obscurity of methods and algorithms, but through the obscurity of the secret keys embedded in the TCPA chip. Modifying software is not enough to work around it.

My letter (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264713)

From: Cal Paterson To: majid.awad@intel.com, peter.engelbrecht@intel.com Date: Oct 1, 2006 1:06 PM Subject: Intel Firmware for the Wireless chips As an OpenBSD user and "Intel Wireless PRO" owner, I would like you to release your firmware for the "Intel Wireless PRO" chipset. I have an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad that uses this chipset, and I am unable to use it without the binary blob firmware you provide. You often say at conferences that you are committed to Open Source/Free Software, and that you release sourcecode to that effect, but often times you fail to release critical code, or even documentation that would make it possible for the community to re-create that code. At the Open Drivers Summit, James Ketrenos said: "If you need to keep IP closed source (for example some whiz-bang algorithm), document the hardware sufficiently that the community can provide their own." This is a fine statement, but it would probably be more meaningful if Intel would actually do so. The wpi driver for OpenBSD is currently suffering for lack of documentation from Intel. Lies and double standards are the currency of your commitment to Open Source/Free Software as it is. However, this is a issue that is easily solved. Release the documentation for this chipset (or, even better, the original code).

Re:My letter (2, Interesting)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264729)

Shite. Forgot about html ;)

From: Cal Paterson
To: majid.awad@intel.com, peter.engelbrecht@intel.com
Date: Oct 1, 2006 1:06 PM
Subject: Intel Firmware for the Wireless chips

As an OpenBSD user and "Intel Wireless PRO" owner, I would like you to
release your firmware for the "Intel Wireless PRO" chipset. I have an
IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad that uses this chipset, and I am unable to use it
without the binary blob firmware you provide.

You often say at conferences that you are committed to Open
Source/Free Software, and that you release sourcecode to that effect,
but often times you fail to release critical code, or even
documentation that would make it possible for the community to
re-create that code.

At the Open Drivers Summit, James Ketrenos said:

"If you need to keep IP closed source (for example some whiz-bang
algorithm), document the hardware sufficiently that the community can
provide their own."

This is a fine statement, but it would probably be more meaningful if
Intel would actually do so. The wpi driver for OpenBSD is currently
suffering for lack of documentation from Intel.

Lies and double standards are the currency of your commitment to Open
Source/Free Software as it is.

However, this is a issue that is easily solved. Release the
documentation for this chipset (or, even better, the original code).

[Next time, I'll use the preview button ;)]

Not going to happen (3, Insightful)

vladimir_putin (1007955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264803)

I work for some company developing wireless firmware for our ( completely unrelated ) product. Opensourcing the firmware or HW specs below it is not going to happen, ever, by any company. The reason is that wireless devices must comply with wireless standards. The firmware plays an important part in creating this compatibility. Opening the HW specs would mean that the original company would have to support some random hacker "optimizing" the algorithms in firmware to work better with his scenario forgetting other features that he does not think really matter, but are necessary for the wireless devices working toghether. HW specs are not designed to be easy to understand. They are designed to kick ass in performance or save 0.001mm2 from the silicon area. Usually the savings in silicon area come with the penalty of the interface being "interesting" to say it nicely. Also the HW versions change quite often and HW bugs are worked around in firmware. The amount of work to document all the bugs for open source firmware writers would be humongous. There are not really that many people working with the firmware. Gaining complete understanding of how our own firmware works takes years for for any novice entering the team. Nobody from our team wants to get into scenario where we must try to understand tens of different versions of the firmware and what are the implications of running each of them. The published interfaces need to be - quite stable across HW revisions. - Must not be able to compromize wireless standards compatibility Open source can work with drivers, but never with firmware. This is life. Deal with it.

Re:Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16264945)

Bullshit.

I'm betting everything is already documented in your company. Just release that documentation to the public. But then again that would make your company look incompetent having to describe how broken your hardware is and all the software patching needed to fix it.

They aren't asking for hand holding, just give them the damn documentation.

Or be guaranteed not to have sales from people unwilling to put up with your bullshit. You'll loose to the companies that have no qualms giving out interface documentation.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265651)

You said:

The reason is that wireless devices must comply with wireless standards. The firmware plays an important part in creating this compatibility.

Theo said:

We would also like Intel to GRANT us distribution rights for the binary firmwares of their 3 wireless chipsets.

Theo is not asking to change the firmware, just the API to use it and the clear right to distribute it. So what am I missing with your statement?

The hacking community already knows which chips are not FCC compliant (even with their labels saying so) and can allow power and frequency changes. In fact, some commercial products already do the in band frequency changing because they don't want normal 54g wireless to talk to their equipment. Trust me, it does not work unnamed video surveillance company.

This is like banning how to use hammers because they might be used illegally. Clearly this is a "excuse" used buy manufacturers such as Intel and Broadcom.

Now what I might believe, be it simple fear or collusion; is that they want their drivers included with Microsoft products and are worried that Microsoft stating anti-FOSS rhetoric will in fact hurt their chances of this. Be it real or not.

So I don't buy their products until they can get OSS support. Even when I purchase a XP machine today, I know I will run Linux on it someday. So I only buy hardware that best matches Linux, OpenBSD and Solaris (x86). I find OpenBSDs hardware platform guide (http://www.openbsd.org/plat.html) also to be a good reference for hardware that is reliable, stable and generally works the best for all OSes.

or Dont buy Intel (2, Informative)

zenst (558964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16264999)

I will voice my opinion in the tried and tested way of consumer protesting. I will just not buy Intel for my OpenBSD box's.

    I will buy hardware that has an open support commitment and prove those vendors right in there move.

Re:or Dont buy Intel (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265681)

will just not buy Intel for my OpenBSD box's.

Since all my boixes will eventually run OpenBSD either via VMWare or directly as the main OS, I will not buy Intel or any mobo with Broadcom on it.

Quit bashing Intel (1)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265023)

Intel is not doing you a favor by requiring you to go to a website and download firmware for your hardware. You paid for the hardware, and Intel is thanking you by making it difficult for you to use it. Let Intel know what you think of this.

Look, I'm all for hurting intel. I jumped ship to AMD after my second intel based machine. Why? Because the intel machine was to loud. I'd invested over $300 in trying to make the machine quieter, and it's still 10 times louder than my AMD system, which I wasn't even trying to make quiet. Not all company's are onboard with open source, but cut Intel some slack. It's like telling a guy whose under a lot of stress at work that he has to support his Mother's Brother's Aunt because she exsists. I've run many flavors of linux on my intel machines, and I've never had any problems with them. SuSE, Fedora Core 2 & 3, Mandrake LE2005 & 2006, and Ubuntu all ran fine on my Intel machines. So if you're talking about the fact that nVidia drivers are a pain because they aren't open source, well then, you're shooting the messenger, to speak. Perhaps you're not at frustrated with Intel, as you are with the other system compontents that require closed source drivers. I fail to see where the beef is.

"operating system of choice"? (1, Flamebait)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265035)

Hey, we live in a country where the majority doesn't even believe in one's right to MARRY the person of one's choice... why on earth should we expect the (wholly reasonable, of course) freedom to run an operating system of our choice?

Any American who isn't straight, and doesn't run Windows, is a deviant unamerican commie terrorist-sympathizer. Right? I mean, right???? Somebody back me up here. ;)

OT: Gay marriage... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265445)

One thing I've noticed in the US is the complete inability to separate religious ceremony from civil status. Here in Norway, we have a christian state church, but we cecognize gay partnerships. What does that mean? It means that we want to recognize the civil status whether they're christian, muslism, "heathen", interreligious, white, black, interracial, straight, gay or lesbian. Whether or not it is a valid "marriage" according to religious dogma or not is irrelevant to the state.

We've already had all the usual religious bickering about gay people holding positions in the church, priests refusing to conduct or recognize gay marriage and consider them all to be living in sin etc., and most gays have convieniently chosen to use the word partnership simply to avoid the whole flamewar. There's plenty other issues as well, but they are minor compared to the US. Certainly, gay partnership is accepted by almost everyone even within the church. All the disputes are about the religious connotations.

That is where I think the gays in the US have missed their target, distancing themselves from the religious issues. It is strange to me that a country with a state church can have a better separation between state and church than a country where the state and church is separate.

marriage "licenses"... (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265739)

...and most gun laws too, oddly enough, came about in the US from primarily racial segregation and minority oppression actions. Originally, marriage had nothing to do with the state, and originally all the states had laws like Vermont still has about firearms, pure second amendment. The marriage laws varied state to state and were weird, you could as "race" such and such only marry an identical race or a small variation/percentage. Now marriage laws are more closely tied to social engineering and business and government handouts and rights of inheritance and all sorts of strangeness.

So the whole point is to avoid a license? (1)

blacktalonz (1007979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265415)

It appears that the whole complaint is that Intel is trying to enforce a License and someone is complaining that you can't get something without a license so that they can distribute it. This is my whole complaint about the opensource community. They scream to the Heavens that everything should be free as if it is a basic human right. Intel is a for-profit corporation. I can't fault them for trying to enforce a licence on a product they designed and sold, a license with attempts to maintain the quality standards of their product.

*BSD is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16265499)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo "Oddball" De Raadt states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Difference in Paradigm (2, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265533)

See, this community bases everything off of a paradigm that everything ought to be free "as in libre". However, the current paradigm (which I admit is slowly shifting) is modeled around the though that information is worth money and power. Because there is secrecy surrounding the code that they use to guard their property, then they have control over how their property is used. They are able to make money off of it. This is their motive. This is how capitalism works.

They see releasing that information as a threat to their MO. They think that if they start handing this stuff out for free their turning into a bunch of commies. And even though this community knows that isn't true, it doesn't help using ad homonym attacks against them by calling them 'big fat liars'. It looks childish and immature.

As for emailing? I don't think they give hoot whether a few geeks boycott them because they don't get open source drivers, mostly because there will always be someone else who will buy their product without qualms. Only if someone like Dell dropped Intel for such reasons would they begin to notice. What would happen if Apple and HP dropped them too? Sure they would wake up. But you know why none of them will do that? Because, they operate under the same paradigm. And 99.99999999999% of their customer base doesn't care because (to them) it's irrelevant.

Intel Wireless Motes are OpenSource (2, Interesting)

cabbi (171239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16265599)

I work at UC Berkeley on ecological monitoring using wireless sensors. We have been collaborating with Intel Lab, Berkeley for the last 2 years and their wireless hardware, "motes", use an entirely open source OS/firmware: tinyOS. They made this a deliberate strategy, by collaborating with the university they get high quality fast developing firmware and they make the money on the hardware design. So far it has worked well for all of us. Intel is a big company. Not all of their divisions play badly.
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