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Linux Software

Yet Another Linux Driver Petition 139

Rendus writes "Just saw this over at Linux Today, a request for people to sign the Linux drivers petition. Their goal is 2 million signatures. When I signed, I was number 20." Well I've never heard of libranet, but hopefully they'll be successful in convincing a few manufacturers to either release drivers for Linux, or the specs so we can do it.
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Yet Another Linux Driver Petition

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Okay, not really. But drivers are important anyways.

    Sign this please.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not having read linux-kernel lately, huh? Me neither B-), but I read kernel-traffic. Linus and Alan came down heavily on support for binary-only kernel modules, because those closed-source modules invalidate Oopses for bug-tracking in the kernel. Consensus was that binary-only kernel modules are possible, but not supported. Read more at
  • Its a general petition.

    Normally I'd say something along the lines of "dont add yourself to the petition unless there is some *real* chance of you using it" but this seems to just be a general call for drivers.

    As for how useful it'll be, we'll have to wait and see.
  • or just add a line to /etc/aliases

    spam: nobody
  • mr writes:

    And the REST of the OpenSource OS market doesn't matter?

    Yes BSD matters, but this isn't a spontaneous grassroots Free Software effort. The petition is being done by Libranet, a commercial Linux distributor. Why should a company selling Linux go out of their way to publicise BSD? Are they also obligated to publicise HURD, FreeDOS, V2OS, Darwin and any of the other excellent Free OS's out there? Get real.

    On the flip side, the petition is asking for specifications. Having specs available helps all Free OS's, even though they don't explicitly mention any other than Linux in the request.

  • Then there is the whole opensource argument that I wont even go into... why should companies opensource their drivers and specs? Do you expect Coca Cola to give you their recipe. No, I think not.

    I think ESR has already made a pretty good argument in favor of hardware vendors opening their source and specs (LINK [netaxs.com]) .

    Companies who spend their time replicating other companies' products, there are many, are limited to selling cheap knock-offs. You can't hope to stop them by hiding your specs and driver code, because they'll just hack away until they figure it out on their own, but why should you stop them in the first place? They're exactly where you want them--selling cheap knock-offs of old technology, while you design and market the cutting edge stuff.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday December 30, 1999 @05:09AM (#1433432) Homepage Journal
    There are an estimated* 40,000,000 linux users out there. (* Based on the fact that there were 20,000,000 the previous year, and it doubles each year. The 10,000,000 everyone keeps quoting is TWO YEARS out of date. Linux has grown since then, in case nobody's noticed.)

    That means that, to get 2,000,000 signatures, they need 1 out of every 20 Linux Users "out there" to sign the petition. That's a -very- high percentage. You don't see that kind of turnout in almost anything. I've been told that sales-folk will reckon on between 1 in 20 and 1 in 100 actually doing anything -of those who have said they actually would-.

    1% actually being interested, and 1% of those interested actually doing anything about it seem reasonable guesstimates. That would put the total at 4,000 signatures. Somewhat less than 2,000,000, but might still be enough to persuade some companies that it's worth exploring the possibility.

    That, IMHO, is about all the commitment we'll ever get, until Linux matches Windows on the desktop. But a willingness to look is light-years better than a refusal to consider, which is the way it's tended to be in the past.

  • by SJS ( 1851 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @07:32AM (#1433433) Homepage Journal
    Why Bother?

    What struck me was this:

    Linux is hampered by a lack of drivers for some pc devices, notably printers.

    Who cares? For printers, use PostScript. It works, and it works well -- Adobe did good, so reward them. Instead of trying to pinch pennies to get the cheapest (in the short-term) hardware, we should support quality.

    (Likewise with OpenGL, SCSI, etc. etc.)

    Hardware should be designed to a common interface anyway. The more we do to encourage vendors to think that way, the better off we'll be in the long run.

    Instead of whining to companies about lack of custom drivers for custom variations in common hardware, we should support those companies that create standardized, generic, open interfaces, and then stick to them. Just as we do with software, we should reward quality engineering and implementation.

    If it doesn't work, then we have a fundamental problem with this "Open Source" thing anyway.

    Begging does not become us.
  • I honestly don't see how the UDI is going to help. I can't help but think that it's just commercial Unix vendors waking up to the fact that Linux actually supports more hardware than any of the commercial Unixes. When was the last time you sat down at your Linux box and said, "Darn, I really wish Linux had a driver for foo. SCO Unix has a driver for foo, I wish I could use that."

    It simply doesn't happen.

    Intel has come up with a clever hack that would allow Unix systems to share drivers, and now they want Linuxers to actually do the grunt work and write the drivers. It would be different if Intel had a whole bunch of UDI drivers for hardware that Linux didn't already support, but they don't. They are simply hoping to tap into Linux's talent pool.

    As for the Linux port to the S/390, it appears that their are actually two of them. The reasons the non-IBM version was written can be found here [linas.org]. The same site says that the official IBM version was done "for political reasons."

  • by Kenneth Stephen ( 1950 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @04:11AM (#1433435) Journal

    Coca-Cola is not a means to an end like software is. You need driver software to run hardware. Without the software, your hardware is pretty much useless. Charging for drivers is valid only if it goes into the production cost of the hardware. Or, in other words, if the driver is provided with the hardware when you buy it. Charging for the source of the drivers is absolutely unjustified.

    In this scheme of things, one cannot really draw an analogy with Coca-Cola. But let me give it a try. Imagine that every soft-drink can only be drunk with a special straw that is dependant on the formula of the drink. Some soft-drink manufacturers provide the straw which will enable you to drink their product. Others dont, but provide you with enough info to make / buy a suitable straw. Coca-Cola on the other hand will sell their products to anyone, but will sell straws only to bug-eyed aliens from Mars, and absolutely refuses to provide info on which straws to buy, or how to make a suitable straw. Is this situation acceptable? I think not!

  • Its 8:00am CST and I'm number 360, so keep it going!
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @05:34AM (#1433437) Homepage Journal
    I agree that if a company releases its blueprints for the hardware and source code, there will indeed by cheap knock offs.

    I would further say that if their interesting gizmo kept all a secret, it will be a puzzle and a challenge to see what makes it tick. This results in a second generation engineering job, not the cheap clone job of the disclosed product. I'd venture to say that those who hold secrets will face some competition with improved products that are missing the bugs. On the other side of the fence, the manufacturer who disclosed the prints only needs to appeal to the quality buying public and sell their brand.

    I used to repair televisions and VCR's (when they really were worth some money.) Schematics were available. When we traced down the problem to make repairs (easy with the information,) we often found the weak spots in design. This information was passed on to the company. Better designs followed later.

    There were a few manufacturers that were impossible to reach to get any repair information or parts. Not surprisingly, those manufacturers were quickly forgotten about as their products quickly left the market. Who's going to buy stuff that is unmaintainable over and over again? With the exception of Windows, this is rare.
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @04:25AM (#1433438) Homepage Journal
    they don't need my email. I'm not signing unless they don't require it. And I'm not the only

    Make a bogus, yet legitimate email address [mailto] that you never intend to read. You can email me there, the message will be received, but will pour the shiny electrons into the bitbucket recyclotron. Use the command "adduser nospam" and you have an instant throwaway account!
  • I was signer # 2311. Good work folks!
    And I just used a hotmail email addr, btw.

    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?
    Tell him the next version of Windows will be faster, more reliable, and easier to use!

  • But if they get 2M sigs, it will hit the news, and it will be yet another reason for hardware manufacturers to consider Linux when they're developing new products.

    I agree that the intended use of the petition is probably flawed. And I don't think they'll get anywhere near 2M sigs, but it's only my name and my Hotmail address. It's worth a shot.

  • Your signature is number 00000666

    Oops, lucky me.

  • I get this:

    This account has too many processes running. Please try again later.

    when I try to submit my signature...

  • Your signature is number 00001318

    Hmm, we need a few more than this...

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.
  • the server said "This account has too many processes running. Please try again later." LOL!

    according to queso it's either DSBi 3.0, or IBM S/390. I think we can eliminate the mainframe.
    I somehow expected it to be running Linux.
  • The problem is that there isn't a great pull for manufacturers to write to UDI. Most of them likely see "unsupported" OS' as a drain on their support resources, and that's a problem that needs to be fixed. It'd be nice to see RH or VA take some of that IPO money and start working on the problem. A driver support division somewhere with funding that could gain some mindshare would be cool, especially if it were non-proprietary.

    FWIW, AIX ran on System/370 systems well over a decade ago, it never sold well. Try a search for AIX/370.

  • These people need a mirror bad ... or a better server. After ages of hitting 'submit' (which I'm sure lots of people are doing) I got in as #2222 .. so that's about the count so far I guess.

    Btw.. anyone think it's a bit weird that the title of the page you get after successfully submitting a 'signature' to the petition is 'Order confirmation' .. what? .. I didn't order anything?! .. hmmm...

  • or alternatively:

    spam: /dev/null
  • Your signature is number 00004558
    >date -u
    Thu Dec 30 22:12:30 UTC 1999

    Keeps going up....
  • 1. We *really* need a repository/site that keeps all the common information.

    2. Even answering request for information cost money. We should gather information and present these cost incentives to the vendors showing how providing the information SAVES them money.

    I've thought about this for some time - expecially since the subject came up when developing for the BeOS. Common hardware information - files that you have received from the vendor that have no restrictions on distribution, notes and documentation that you have made while figuring out how a particular piece of hardware, and maybe even restricted NDA type stuff if it was staffed and acceptable to the vendor(s) should be available.

    Is anyone out there responsible for answering the replies to all requests? Managing the support staff that does? Can you (even anonymously) forward any costs estimates or projections?

    If you read this and know of any links/sites/info that you want to share email it to me and I'll assemble it.
  • I was #1,620, so the goal is getting close.
  • Linux is hampered by a lack of drivers for some pc devices, notably printers.

    Huh? Certainly ghostscript and printing can be a bear to set up, but most printers have a number of standard protocols that they conform to - which are well described. Which printers do they have in mind?

    I got the feeling from looking at their web site that these guys are just looking for business.
  • I think that a goal of 2 million signatures might be slightly ambitious.

    True true.. However, I know other users of "alternative OS's" should be willing to sign it if they know whats going on.. We could even get mac users to be sympathetic and sign.. but only if they hear about it. So perhaps some mac and linux user should post it on a mac general newsgroup or something?

    The enemy of your enemy is your friend.

    Signee somewhere in the 700's
  • Your signature is number 00000498

    Yeah, we have a loooong way to go.

  • by Turmio ( 29215 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @03:53AM (#1433456) Homepage
    It should be http://www.libranet.com/petition.html [libranet.com].
  • We will look the potato of injustice right in the eye!!!
  • >If I remember correctly..companies get rank newbies to write drivers.

    Absolute bullshit. Writing kernel-mode software - which includes true drivers plus many other driver-like entities such as filesystems - is much harder than writing user-mode fluff, for several reasons:

    1. You have to understand not only how to write software, but also how one or more pieces of hardware work, in detail.
    2. You have to deal with OS interfaces that are typically more complex and less friendly than those at user level.
    3. You can never punt on concurrency or reentrancy issues like you often can at user level; very little kernel code has the luxury of assuming that only one thing is happening at a time.
    4. Debugger support for kernel-mode code is a decade or more behind that for user-mode code. Between this, the last item, and the fact that everything in a driver tends to be time-sensitive, this means you can't just step through sloppy code to see what it's really doing - you have to know absolutely it will work as you intended. Interestingly, this is one area where NT absolutely shines in comparison to any UNIX flavor.
    5. Performance is pretty much always an issue for drivers, and not just your own performance but also the effect that your choices have on overall system performance. For example, keeping lots of recalculable values around will waste physical memory, so even if it allows greater internal efficiency it may be unacceptable from a systemwide viewpoint.
    6. You're invariably restricted in your choice of languages. It's C and occasionally a little assembler. C++ is generally not supported for kernel-mode development (except on NT). Sometimes you can make it work by basically writing your own C++ runtime library from "new" on up, but it's usually more work and more headaches (e.g. constructor invocation might not happen "right") than it's worth. You can just plain forget about Java or any scripting language, and while you're at it you can forget about those class libraries you love so much.
    7. If you do manage to screw up, the whole system crashes. At the very least, this means you have to wait for a reboot; sometimes it means data is corrupted or even that hardware got fried. No more "oh well, just restart the program" three seconds later.

    It's really hard to hire experienced kernel-mode developers, and when we get desperate enough to hire people without kernel experience because "they seem smart and we hope they can learn" we find two things:

    • About half just never get used to the more demanding environment, and go back to user-mode work.
    • Those who do make it take six months or more to become reasonably productive.

    We're not talking about fresh-outs here, either. People with five or six years of experience - but none of it in kernel mode - are only marginally better than kids in either of the above regards (and they cost a lot more).

    Yes, people who write drivers often leave for other jobs, dumping their code on other people for maintenance. That's not because they're 18 year olds who don't have a clue, though. Au contraire; it's because driver developers always have a wealth of opportunities to choose from, and who wants to maintain old code instead of writing something new?

  • i do not want binary only drivers and the petition does not sound a bit like that would be a valid option. i can not support that part of the petition. they people should add a checkbox where people can state that they will never buy hardware that has only "binary only" drivers..

  • I don't use Linux, but that is partly because of this driver issue.
  • first, the main link is dead.

    Second, the link you give doesn't support Netscape 3's javascript

    And then "too much process running." Three strike I'm out. If the website is so ignorance, how can you expect the hardware manufacctories NOT be ignorances?

    "Well we'll only focus on the most popula OS."
    "Well we'll only focus on the popular versions of the browsers..."

  • Erm, hello?

    Let me explain why my analogy was at least semi valid...

    I made the analogy between releasing *opensource* drivers. I am fully supportive of hardware manufacturers releasing drivers free of charge for their hardware, and I can see why the analogy doesn't work here.

    I don't however see why whingy whiny people demand opensource everything. Yes it's useful, it means you can hack. In some cases it means you can make things work in extreme situations. But other than that there is no point.

    I maybe missing a point here, but while the argument goes that linux users should get the same treatment as windoze users, I don't see the argument for opensourced windows drivers.

    It works both ways, but I don't see that latter case happening.
  • by sufi ( 39527 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @03:53AM (#1433463) Homepage
    The only way hardware manufacturers will release drivers for a particular platform is if it makes financial/market sense for them to do so.

    In most cases (for the more common hardware elements) it probably does, and indeed *most* companies have, even if they are not opensource.

    However some of the more obscure companies will not, it doesn't make economic sense for them to do so, they have very little to gain from spending lots of money on it, they follow the 80/20 rule.

    This still doesn't mean that they can't release the specs for the hardware though, particularly for older more obscure hardware. I'm suprised and dissapointed that they don't, but then again sometimes this doesn't make sense, they want you to buy the all new expensive stuff don't they, even if it wont go in your old obsolete 286.

    I can't see things changing much, most of the hardware that is usefull has or will have drivers or specs released, those that don't probably never will have.

    Then there is the whole opensource argument that I wont even go into... why should companies opensource their drivers and specs? Do you expect Coca Cola to give you their recipe. No, I think not.
  • Your signature is number 00006075

  • I'm sure you all know the system is busy processing requests. In the meantime, how does one find out how many names are currently on the list before submitting? Am I just overlooking a link?
  • OTOH, a small percentage of non-Linux users might sign the petition out of sympathy or hope of positive side effects (e.g. a stronger Linux presence might force Micros~1 to deliever better products).
  • Why is it always so hard to get drivers in this cruel world? Do the companies take forever to release drivers for windoze, no.

    If the PHB's of these companies just woke up, and said "Hey, the only reason we are missing an entire OS is because we won't re-compile some drivers. We should do that."

    Then the PHB passes the order down to the programmers and they make Linux Drivers. And all is good.

    Of course some companies already do that, but not enough.

    So everyone sign this petition (once you've read it thoroughly of course) to show them we want our drivers!

    Devil Ducky

    I know this comment is pretty much worthless but it's still early.
  • That's not really my belief, I was simplifing and exagerating.

    But if it were a real PHB incharge they would think it was that easy, and order it to be done that way.

    However I believe (from little experience) that it would be easier to first write the driver for the *NIX OSes and then port that to Windows.
  • It may not be possible to get 2,000,000 sigs. but why not aim for it?

    So, what if they only get 100,000 sigs. that's a lot of people on a petition. Enough to make the companies listen? I don't know.

    And it wont only be Linux users signing this (and other) petitions. All users of *NIXes should care about this subject because if Linux gets the driver it wont be hard to get it for their OS from that. FreeBSD et al. users should really care because the same drivers will probably work for them too. MAc users should care (if they know what a driver is) because they are also users of an underdog OS. And many Win users, dont use linux but they plan to in the future.

    Add that all up, it should be about 2,000,000 or more signees.
  • Yeah, I know a couple of companies that do that.

    I've heard that IBM (Lotus?) has been making a lot of it's software on AIX and then porting onto Win/OS2 for years.
  • >With the rate of growth in the linux community it wont be long till we outgrow the number of windows users,

    Yes, the Linux community is growing by leaps and bounds.

    But the Windows "community" isn't shrinking by the same rate.

    A very large part of the 10 million or so Linux users dual boot to windows.

    For example: I regullary use 4 different computers at work and home. 2 of them dual boot. 2 of them are only win. Of the 2 that dual boot, one is usually in linux, and one is usually in win.

    At work we will finally be getting our first Linux computer in about a month (other than the web server of course)

    My point being that it will take a lot longer than you may think for linux to be bigger than windoze.
    And by then who knows, there may be an alternate OS to Linux.
  • "'Tis true, 'Tis true. Too often it is a sad world we live in."

    I agree. It's better for everyone if they release hardware docs than if they give us buggy (binary-only!) drivers. Of course, it's all good if they give us the source to their drivers (Linux or Windows).
    "I already have all the latest software."
  • It is 6:22pm GMT and I was 2984!

    Says it all really, give 'em a few days and well who knows..?

  • SJS has a very good point.

    If you're looking for good Linux support, all you need to do is buy non-entry-level hardware (ie, modems that have an onboard DSP). The problem with Linux driver support is mainly video and sound cards, which often do not support much more than basic features or acceleration. The solution is to use the cards that the developers use: Creative Labs, Ensoniq, Matrox, Nvidia, 3DFX, etc.

    Using a cheap, non-Postscript printer or a low-end, integrated SiS/VIA chipset might save you a couple bucks at the time of purchase, but you'll be paying for it later. It's better to use good hardware from the start.

    OTOH, I have a cheap, non-Postscript printer; however, I don't make a big deal out of it not being supported well. I don't really care. I only paid $60 or $70 for it, so all I expect out of it is to print directions from Yahoo! maps.
  • Cant submit...
    This account has too many processes running. Please try again later.

    Maybe they need to upgrade the servers or something ;)

    Oh well I'll keep trying for a few more minutes...
    *sigh* :)
  • by Yebyen ( 59663 )
    Whoa 107 comments and I'm the first one that realized LDP now is both Linux Documentation Project and Linux Drivers Petition... We're gonna hafta start working on newer and better acronyms, or a different system of acronyms... a newer and better system.

  • Why do you think Hotmail has 50M+ users? Plenty of people have a Hotmail account just so that they can put something in as an email address when filling out forms. Check it once/month, hope the spam filters are working, it all works out great.
  • And where is IBM now? With all the clones it has lost its place in PCs

    IBM lost nothing except market share. We'll never know if the PC platform would have taken off as it did had IBM been able to keep it proprietary, but I would suggest that it wouldn't have. The point is, I think IBM has made far more money from PC's than they would have with a proprietary system, simply because the market is so much larger. I'd rather have 10% of $10,000 than 100% of $100.

    As for hardware drivers, no company has anything to lose from releasing the specs to their hardware and the source to their drivers. I hear a lot of BS about "trade secrets" and "competition" and all that. Given the amount of time necessary to develop a new piece of hardware and bring it to market, someone who wants to copy your design is damned to an existence of being perpetually behind you. In other words, right where you want them.

    Everytime I see this, the only phrase I can come up with is "And the down side is?"

    It's especially silly to not release specs. The Linux community is large enough that people will step forward and write a device driver at no cost to the company, if they have the specs. Actually, plenty of drivers have been written without the specs, but it makes no sense to make life more difficult for people who, ultimately, are helping the hardware manufacturer as much as they help themselves.

  • Looks like they may be getting a larger response than expected. I get "this account has too many processes running, try again later" when I try to sign.
  • Thanks for signing the petition
    Your signature is number 00001711

    As we count New Year's night, 10-9-8 ad finitum, we can count the petition numbers upwards to -- who knows -- 2 mil?!

  • Your signature is number 00003852

    2 million is absolutely rediculous. I'd say at most they'll get a hundred thousand.

    I really wish someone had some decent figures on the number of Linux users. I don't trust that standard 10 million answer. Nor do I trust the 40 million that someone proposed.

  • I suspect that you've never been exposed to a Coca-Cola addict. I'm not quite there myself yet, but let me tell you: in those cases, the software (=Cola) is definitely required to run the hardware (=human body). Um, I'm not sure how that relates to the issue at hand, sorry. Moderate me down. ;^)
  • Well, due to the fact that the server couln't handel the amout of processes of people registering, I don't think that 2M will be a problem. At least I hope so, and that the server is not broke! :)
  • The following error was encountered:
    Unable to determine IP address from host name for libranet.com
    The dnsserver returned:
    DNS Domain 'libranet.com' is invalid: Valid name, no data record of requested type.

    OK, who hard is it to do the following (in zone file for libranet.com):
    libranet.com. A
    www CNAME libranet.com.

    eh? I hate clueless admins.
    "They'll never think to include the link without the WWW prefix, everyone knows you have to use the WWW prefix!"

  • You'll want to read the recent Kernel Traffic [linuxcare.com]. The first piece is all about closed binaries on Linux, and why they'll likely not happen any time soon in a big way.

    It boils down to source code and maintenance. Once the company gives out specs that let people write source code, or otherwise release source code for the device, people can go ahead and use those devices. Companies seem afraid of giving out source code. I don't know why, becuase (at least with the Linux community) the community will support/maintain the code, fix bugs, and otherwise make it work well. If the company keeps their source closed, they have to take all the responsibility and work of making the code useful onto their shoulders. Simple psuedo code & specs for devices would allow a renaissance of proper hardware support for the BSDs, Linux, Hurd, and BeOS, among others. True, BeOS is a more closed source OS, but it could also benefit from LGPL drivers :-)

    As for BSD, etc. Drivers in source form can be taken from Linux and put in the BSD kernels, as the LGPL licence is friendly about being linked with BSD licenced bits and bobs, IIRC.
  • by Duxup ( 72775 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @05:51AM (#1433486) Homepage
    I like the idea but I'm not sure a general petition would have much effect.
    The company I currently work for received a request for the release of information specifically in relation to the Linux OS. The letter was also a general petition and seemed like a form letter since it didn't seemed to know what we specifically do (other than what our name specified). It was signed "The Linux Community" but nothing more specific than that.
    A general petition is nice in principle, but it had pretty much no effect on how we do things for a couple of reasons (given by engineering and management).

    1. Our company's hardware and software is mostly proprietary, and we've yet to see any reason to switch to Linux (not to say I personally wouldn't like to see how it would go) that would benefit us or our clients.

    2. The letter really didn't identify any clients (corporate or private) specifically asking our company to change our OS or release hardware specs. Thus no actual impact on us in financially or in the PR area that we can tell.

    3. The manner in witch the letter was written was not entirely pleasant. The implication of the letter seemed as if the author was accusing us of limiting our clients options in some malicious way, but again, it wasn't from any of our clients (that we know of) and wasn't specific at all.

    4. Some engineering concerns have been raised about moving to an OS that we do not know much about compared to our own. Security, support and the cost of such migration weigh heavily on many minds regarding such a switch. Also concerns about trade secrets were also brought up.

    The idea seems nice, but I'm not sure how much effect this will have. Our company responds much better to specific requests from clients, or groups of clients than just a general letter like we received. I believe that most companies react the same.
  • I can't get a connection to them [libranet.com]. They are probably drowning by now.
  • #1837 (or so, I forget) at 11:10 EST. At this rate...

    800 per hour... round that to 700 to account for slack-off once more articles are posted

    20,000 / 700 = ~28.6 hours.

    And this is ignoring the major drop-off once this article disappears from the front page or gets pushed down too far.

    So while it is certainly a nice effort, 20,000 is incredibly unrealistic.

    void recursion (void)
    while(1) printf ("infinite loop");
    if (true) printf ("Stupid sig quote");
  • This block device can be used in conjunction your karma device(/dev/karma) into things called "posts". Still trying to fix a bug known as the "slashdot effect". :-)
  • Just signed myself and got 1334. Lookin' good.
  • I think it's about the winprinters, which use the computer's resources such as memory and the CPU. I, for example, have a Canon LBP-465 laser printer which I bought before I switched to free software. It's now my personal dust collector. These suckers are really common these days since they cost a lot less than decent printers.
  • First, I think this is an excellent idea. But we must *USE* the results. I suggest sending a copy of the petition, with signatures to major manufactures. Sending a hard copy, by registered mail (which must be accepted by hand & signed for), would be even more effective.

    Secondly, we should focus on a few areas where Linux is critically lacking in drivers. By critical, I mean drivers that do not exist which are stopping potential users and administrators from using Linux. As the petition web site said, printer drivers are very lacking. Also, a lack of drivers for high-end PC graphics cards game manufactures from producing big title games ("What? Linux doesn't support the new HyperWarpBlaster 512 128meg card? Why should we develop Quake VI for Linux, then?").

    Hopefully XFree86 4.0 will address this issue, but the big need to is to get these companies to release Linux (and *BSD, BeOS, etc) drivers when they release Windows drivers as well.

    Have I left anything out?
  • when I turn on my system with the printer on, linux somehow turns it off without realizing it.
    it then won't let me set it up because it looks like it's not there when it's off.

    how's that for "lack of drivers"?

    BTW, if someone can help me with this, I'd be very appreciative.

  • I agree. I have a hotmail address which is soley a spam bucket. Anytime I have to register for a website or some crap, I use it. About once a month I go empty it and just keep the emails that have my pw/username things I want to keep (like Slashdot's for instance). This keeps my home email pretty free of junk.
  • at present, companies don't charge for their drivers (afaik!), so releasing them for an alternative platform should incur no additional cost than the development of said drivers. and in the case of a platform running on the same architecture (such as running linux on an ix86 board), i'd guesstimate a lot of the work had been done already.

    if anything, it makes good commercial sense for companies to release drivers for as many OSes as they can; as "alternative" OSes such as linux become more widespread, the userbase becomes a significant market share - would you buy a videocard with no linux support? didn't think so.

    the one persistant problem here seems to be the "opensourcing" argument. i don't consider this much of a problem - the development cycle for these products is so long that no-one could really gain enough information from them to cause the company to lose considerable pace to the competition - for instance, when Voodoo 1 boards were released, 3dfx already had a timeplan (and likely, chip designs) for the series up to Voodoo 3.

    regardless of opensourcing, making these companies feel our presence can't do any harm... go on, sign the petition!

  • As of right now (4pm GMT, 11am EST) i managed to actually register on the petition.

    Suffice to say, the total number right now is just short of 2000. Considering the difficulty it took in actually getting in to register, the server must be oversubscribed several times over with people trying to register! however many of these are obviously being lost - 2000 in (approximately?) 4 hours the article's been live on /. implies 500 registrations per hour, or just under 10 a minute. there is a severe bottleneck in there somewhere, probably the server being a very slow machine unable to cope with running multiple instances of perl, at a guess.

    if someone is in a position to mirror this, on a more powerful machine, with more bandwidth, this could help bring in the signatures, striking while the iron is hot and all that.

    for anyone willing to do so, i urge you to contact libranet about it - webmaster@libranet.com [mailto] seems to be their only contact on this, though petition@libranet.com may also work, though i am by no means sure.

  • And I'll sign it when it's not slashdotted, but I put more faith in voting with my wallet. I buy hardware exclusively for Linux support and won't touch anything that I'm not sure is supported.
  • I don't expect Coca Cola to give me their recipe, but I do expect them not to try to conceal or obfuscate the process needed to open the bottle and drink the contents... :-)

    Hardware companies usually don't make money on the drivers - the drivers are necessary evils required to let their product work with the customers software.

    We aren't asking for schematics for their boards or synthesizable VHDL for their ASICS to clone their hardware, only information on how to use and program for their products...

  • by mr ( 88570 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @04:09AM (#1433500)
    >We, members of the Linux community and the computing population in general, believe that you, the manufacturers of pc computing devices, should make available to Linux developers full specifications of your devices, so that Linux compatible device drivers can be produced for your products. If you feel this information is confidential, then we ask you to write, and make freely available, drivers for your products.

    And the REST of the OpenSource OS market doesn't matter?

    If you are going to make a petition, or sign one, why not sign one that is can work for ALL the OpenSource OSes? Or, how about ALL the Unix market?

    Why does the Linux community want to replace Micro$oft as the new monopoly?
  • OH YEAH, it's starting. Here is what I got in response--- This account has too many processes running. Please try again later. ./ effect, I guess
  • by erikaaboe ( 89681 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @04:45AM (#1433502)
    OK. They are looking for 2,000,000 hits. They start at 20 about 45 minutes ago. They are at ~350 when the slashdot effect starts to take them down. And this is before the day really begins on the west coast! How many signatures will they get? Here are some of the variables-

    X - Number of Linux Users (10M according to Wayne above)

    x - Number of Linux Users who give a damn about anything other than fraggin

    Y - Number who read ./ and know about this cause

    y - Percentage who know to put the www ahead of the URL

    Z - Site capacity factor

    z - Percentage who never come back after the first "this account has too many processes running,try again later"

    A - Percentage who lurk everywhere and will never "Submit" even when the dreaded button says something else

    a - Length of time that story will be an Article on ./

    B - residence time on "Older Stuff"

    b - fudge factor

    With all of these variables, I estimate that the petition count will be 75,000 by 1/1/0 when the world's computing infrastructure turns into a tangled, smoking heap. Of course, I am not a coder and just factored all of the variables in my head. I just think of stupid things, I do not make them executable.

  • 20,000 in a "short time"? We are progressing nicely tho. #1179 at 10:22 a.m. EST.
  • I got there at 0906 EST, the Slashdot effect has already started. Keep hitting the back button and you'll be able to submit your data.
  • Libranet.com:
    "www.libranet.com is running Apache/1.3.6 (Unix) on BSD/OS" straight from NetCraft [netcraft.com]. And their Linux distro is not downloadable and the source is not available. hmmm...
  • How the hell can this be classified as redundant? did someone else say they were number 366?


    1. Exceeding what is necessary or natural; superfluous.
    2. Needlessly repetitive; verbose.
    3. Electronics. Of or involving redundancy in electronic equipment.
    4. Of or involving redundancy in the transmission of messages.

    [Latin redundans, redundant-, present participle of redundre, to overflow: re-, red-, re- + undare, to surge (from unda, wave); see wed in Indo-European Roots.]

  • Well, another one bites the dust. Maybe it'll come back up. Getting published on Slashdot is a mixed blessing. Everyone gets to hear about you, but only first lucky ones actually see your site.
  • The URL needs www. at the beginning.
    The more this post gets moderated, the higher the Slashdor-wave d;-)

    - Steeltoe
  • And so it was, said #4220. :-) Still, gaining roughly 3000 in 7 hours time means it's still a long time and way to 2,000,000. Personally, I think it's too high a goal to reach, given the passive nature of "masses". On the other hand, eToys surely took notice of the internet community. So why not reach for the stars? PStefan.
  • Hmm.. I tried to sign, and for the first umpteen times I tried, I got a message telling me that the user who runs the page has too many processes going. Apparently, this system is on a process quota and can't handle being Slashdotted. I'd like to offer some free Webspace on the nonprofit hosting provider I run, www.twu.net... if whoever runs this petition would like some, let me know.

  • For 2,000,000 drivers for linux my dear,
    We'll need 2,000,000 signers this year,
    We'll take Win down, and bounce 'em (those clowns)!
    We're 2,000,000 booters of linux: Free beer!

    For 2,000,000 drivers for linux my dear,
    We'll need 1,999,999 signers this year,
    We'll take Win down, just bounce 'em, those clowns!
    We're 2,000,000 booters of linux free beer!

    ...hmmm... I can't think of a good third verse...

  • Having specs available will probably help all the OSs. But the way i see it, i think companies are more likely to develop closed source drivers or kernel modules and distribute them with the hardware. This wouldn't really help BSD users.
    But then again, if they start packing Linux drivers with their hardware BSD will probably follow soon.
  • I think that a goal of 2 million signatures might be slightly ambitious. The last article I read counted Linux users at about 10 million. That would mean that they are asking for about 20% of the entire user base to sign this petition. Even if the numbers are slightly out of wack, I think that the Borland survey got around 100 000 respondents and that was /.'d quite heavily :-)

    On a better note, I hope that this does get some things going for Linux in the driver world. I really take my hat off to all the people that keep hammering at companies (Creative labs springs to mind here) to get the specs and then write the drivers so that the same companies who wouldn't help can sell more product. I know Creative have now opened the SBLive driver, but I know a lot of people went through a lot of pain and suffering to get this driver to us.

    Singee number 411
  • Right, but how?
    I know that everybody here really wants to stop this kind of cheap win-whatever hardware, be it modems, printers or something else, but how?

    Isnt petitioning the only way to tell the vendors that we dont want cheap hardware that may or may not work, but in which price comes after quality?

  • Given how many buggy drivers i've seen coming from hardware vendors.. they're often experts at the hardware, but have no clue how to do non-windows drivers. don't tempt them to turn their windows drivers into bad unix drivers... ask for hardware docs only!
  • Ever try to port a source-only driver from one OS to another? I have. it's often not much fun.. a well-written driver can serve as hardware documentation. a poorly written one, well, raises more questions about how the device works than it answers..
  • sig #1447 after resubmitting 17 times. Should be a real madhouse when the west coast programmers roll out of bed at noonish =)
  • Can someone setup this petition on their server where there won't be this "too many processes" message? Their server could never handle 2 million signatures, unless we wanted to wait a few years for everyone to get their signatures on.

  • by arnim ( 117833 ) on Thursday December 30, 1999 @04:27AM (#1433521)
    don't forget that there's also the universal drive interface [project-udi.org] on the way. this is an effort from sun, intel, compaq, HP, IBM, NCR and SCO to make drivers portable between plattforms and operating systems. a proof of concept port has been done by intel.

    ok, RMS doesn't like it [slashdot.org] for pushing binary-only drivers. so this is not a good thing for "free software", but just for the linux-community. microsoft is not going to like UDI, because one of the main advantages of windows is, that it has drivers for everything. well, anyway i guess microsoft isn't affraid as much of linux than of the unification of the unix-market in progress, around open source and linux. unix can only win against windows when 10 different unix-vendoers stop reinventing the wheel 10 times. and this is happening with apache, samba, xfree86 and somehow also linux.
    solaris x86, freebsd, SCOs openserver and unixware (and soon AIX ) are all able to run linux binaries. so users can stick with their unix-of-choice and still run the bulk of linux-software. but guess for which plattform developers are going to publish their software first... and this is going to have long-term impact.

    ups, well, as i'm OT anyway, doesn anybody know why IBM did port linux to S/390 and not AIX ?

  • At least on my computer, to access the page I have to add www. to the address.

    http://www.libranet.com/petition.html [libranet.com]

  • > However I believe (from little experience) that it would be easier to first write the driver for the *NIX OSes and then port that to Windows.

    Just like how I heard that ID Software first makes its programs for Linux and then ports it to Windows.

  • The current state of Linux drivers is not that good. I don't mind programming them, but just getting the specs from the company is like pulling teeth from a tiger. I put Umax on an automailer of somewhere around 20 mails a day requesting information about their Astra 1220U USB scanner. Over half a year later I get replies either telling me to contact the Taiwan division, asking me what it is I want, or giving me a form to fax in to request driver information. I sent in the fax, and I am STILL WAITING!

    PS: Linux has a pretty good driver creation model

  • > Then there is the whole opensource argument that I wont even go into... why should companies opensource their drivers and specs?

    It worked for 3dfx

  • > If the PHB's of these companies just woke up, and said "Hey, the only reason we are missing an entire OS is because we won't re-compile some drivers. We should do that."

    Contrary to your belief, it is more complex than that.
    I myself make Linux device drivers and I have glanced over the Windows device driver model.
    Think of it like this, can you port Quake to Linux from Windows just by recompiling the source?
    It is the whole library and environment and everything that has to be changed.

    "Computers have really changed the world.
    Before, we would tar-and-feather,
    Now we tar-and-zip"

  • I have a dream that one day, all computers will be treated equally, despite the brand of their OS. It's about time that Linux users stood up and shouted out it one loud voice, "we will not go quietly into the night. We will not give in to stingy hardware manufacturers. We are going to go on. We are going to fight for our right to use the same hardware as everyone else. Do not bow to mighty Microsoft. For once do what is good for the community and not just what is good for your relationship with Bill Gates."

  • But are automailers of 20 emails a day really the best approach to getting what you want? That seems like an asshole tactic to me. I would try the phone first, where you will frequently have to say "if you can't do this, tell me or transfer me to someone who can".. and if they don't, get their supervisor, etc. It's probaby a faster method than just pricking someone 20 times a day. -ZML-
  • If I remember correctly..companies get rank newbies to write drivers. NO one wants to write drivers. They hire an 18 year old to write drivers..then that 18 year old leaves. He has graduated. And drivers are an aftersight..that's why 90% of Windows drivers are buggy as hell...they're rushed...I think they're written while the product is being packed for shipping. It costs them nothing to write these drivers...why can't they just give the specs to the brave Linux martyrs who want to write them? I for one will NOT write drivers. It's not sexy enough for me :)

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982