[conspire] video drivers (was Re: "madwifi" is proprietary sludge (was: driver))

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jun 29 11:46:12 PDT 2006

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> (Anybody remember the Diamond/XFree86 beef?)

Diamond was playing weird games with clock frequencies.  Quoting the
1993 XFree86 HOWTO:

   The following is a statement of the XFree86 Core Team concerning
   graphic cards by Diamond:
   All Diamond cards are NOT supported by XFree86 even if they have a
   supported chipset (with the exception of the Cirrus chipsets that
   have an internal clock generator). The reason for this is that
   Diamond has changed the mechanism used to select pixel clock
   frequencies, and will only release programming information under
   non-disclosure.  We are not willing to do this (as it would mean that
   source cannot be provided).  We have had discussions with Diamond
   over this, and they do not intend to change this policy.  Hence we
   will do nothing to support Diamond products going forward (i.e. don't
   send us a program to run set their clocks).  XFree86 DOES NOT SUPPORT
   DIAMOND HARDWARE.  It is possible to make some of it work, but we
   will not assist in doing this.

Diamond Multimedia Systems changed policy when they assessed the
resulting market and mindshare trend.

It's important to note that, almost certainly, upper management wasn't
even aware of the possibility of that ever happening:  Typically,
executives get blindsided by such things blowing up on them, and the
lower-level managers for their part were merely implementing standard
corporate policy.  When the blowup happens, the company is then
perceived as stonewalling and being uncooperative, when in many cases
it's merely taking the standard long (by geek standards) period of time
to assess the situation and react to it.  Computerists tend not to
understand, very well, that corporate decision-making tends most often
to be slow and require building consensus, especially when it requires
poking holes in established policy.  Patience and tact can do quite a
lot in such cases.

_Or_, of course, you can do the good-cop, bad-cop dual track routine of
having (e.g.) several hundred angry and impatient computerists beseiging
your corporate headquarters while polite and patient EFF lawyers
negotiate upstairs.  That's been known to work, too:


Meanwhile, I note at

   I have a bunch of great notes on what to do and not to do in driver
   code. Definitely a worthwhile tutorial; I would have gotten a lot out
   of it if I had a half-done driver to ask questions about, too.

I know a CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 licensed knowledgebase that would
love to host those notes for you.

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