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Re: [bluetooth-dev] RE: free-unix device drivers for digianswer pc cards



On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 09:46:17PM +0200, Antony C. Roberts wrote:
> I think I've quite understood that point, thank you. I'll reiterate. We ARE
> NOT releasing the specs for the hardware. At this point that information is
> considered proprietary and confidential. I thought I explained that pretty
> well in my last response. Digianswer is only willing to provide binary
> driver support for Linux.

I for one wish you well.  I hope you realize the technical issues
involved in releasing binary drivers for different Linux distros.  For a
quick mailing list thread about this very topic look at:
	http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?t=98657273400005&w=2&r=1

I have tried to support binary drivers for a distro in the past and it
is _very_ difficult.  Let's do a quick example of how many different
kernels each distro releases:
	RedHat - 	7
	Mandrake - 	6 (guess)
	SuSE - 		6
	Immunix - 	6
	Conectiva -	10 (at last count, this may be low)
(there are many other Linux distros out there too.)

So at first release you need to build about 35 different versions of
your driver.  Then what happens when all of these distros release a
security upgrade of the kernel.  Any customer of yours can't use the
kernel upgrade with your old version of the driver, you have to rebuild
the driver for that new kernel release.  Believe me, vendors don't give
you any warning that they are sending out new kernel updates, and
customers will stop using your device before they refuse critical
security updates :)

I tried doing this for just one distro in the past and encountered many
problems (not the least being customers with other distros not
understanding why the driver would not work on their machines.)

Good luck.

greg k-h

p.s. That company eventually realized the futility in all of this and
released the driver under the GPL.  It is now in the Linux kernel tree
and ships with all distros with no work done by the original company at
all.  They are quite happy with this arrangement and sell many hardware
pieces for Linux installations with no driver issues.

-- 
greg@xxxxxxx.com
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