Open Source drivers

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Rosh
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:44 am

Open Source drivers

Post by Rosh »

According to discussion here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/co ... eryone_is/

Turns out that on Microsoft-family operating systems, drivers are the realm of the hardware vendors -- and drivers usually can't be redistributed on media by an open-source project
Welcome to the Microsoft ecosystem, where there's about two billion drivers from three billion vendors and no real open source alternatives for most hardware.

Linux can use these devices because people and companies have put in time and effort to create open source driver software. For Windows there was never such a drive, not from the vendors because closed source is the norm, not from the customers because there's working vendor drivers already.

Windows has Windows Update to download drivers from but distributing these drivers requires consent from each vendor, so an automated solution is nearly impossible. Neither is packaging proprietary drivers since that would be a massive copyright violation. I do think an open source driver catalogue would be a good idea, not just for ReactOS but for Windows as well, but I don't think scouring obscure vendor websites for old, XP/Vista compatible drivers is within the scope of the ReactOS project.

Don't expect the ReactOS to write their own drivers or convert the existing open source ones either; porting that amount of software will probably cost more effort than writing ReactOS itself.

The sad truth is that unless vendors release their Windows drivers' source code, your odd/non-standard devices will probably never work out of the box with ReactOS. It's a logical result of an ecosystem not built for interoperability and centered around closed-source software.


Turns out that on Microsoft-family operating systems, drivers are the realm of the hardware vendors -- and drivers usually can't be redistributed on media by an open-source project

Welcome to the Microsoft ecosystem, where there's about two billion drivers from three billion vendors and no real open source alternatives for most hardware.

Linux can use these devices because people and companies have put in time and effort to create open source driver software. For Windows there was never such a drive, not from the vendors because closed source is the norm, not from the customers because there's working vendor drivers already.

Windows has Windows Update to download drivers from but distributing these drivers requires consent from each vendor, so an automated solution is nearly impossible. Neither is packaging proprietary drivers since that would be a massive copyright violation. I do think an open source driver catalogue would be a good idea, not just for ReactOS but for Windows as well, but I don't think scouring obscure vendor websites for old, XP/Vista compatible drivers is within the scope of the ReactOS project.

Don't expect the ReactOS to write their own drivers or convert the existing open source ones either; porting that amount of software will probably cost more effort than writing ReactOS itself.

The sad truth is that unless vendors release their Windows drivers' source code, your odd/non-standard devices will probably never work out of the box with ReactOS. It's a logical result of an ecosystem not built for interoperability and centered around closed-source software.
How many Windows Open Source drivers are there?
If there are, they should be listed in ReactOS wiki.

And could Open Source drivers like "nouveau" and Atheros AR9170 Wi-Fi be ported to ReactOS?
Maybe contacting their respective developers could convinced them to work on ReactOS ports.

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EmuandCo
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Re: Open Source drivers

Post by EmuandCo »

*nix open source drivers can NOT be ported, they can be used as reference to completely REWRITE a driver. *nix is no NT OS and the differences are MASSIVE
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

middings
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Location: California, USA

Re: Open Source drivers

Post by middings »

Collections of downloadable hardware drivers for Microsoft Windows XP already exist on the web.

Rosh
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:44 am

Re: Open Source drivers

Post by Rosh »

middings wrote:Collections of downloadable hardware drivers for Microsoft Windows XP already exist on the web.
The idea is to list them. ;)

Open Source Windows XP drivers?

middings
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Location: California, USA

Re: Open Source drivers

Post by middings »

Rosh, if you wish to find all the open source software drivers available for Microsoft Windows XP/Server 2003 then do it. No one will stop you.

Hardware vendor provided, closed source software drivers for Windows XP/2003 are plentiful and almost always cost-free to obtain. This frees the ReactOS project from the need to write all but a very few hardware drivers. After a user installs and boots up ReactOS on a PC, the user can obtain and install suitable Windows XP/2003 compatible drivers from the hardware vendor or many sources on the World Wide Web.

The increasing unavailability of Windows XP/2003-compatible drivers for the newest PC hardware is a concern. The ReactOS project's developers (devs) know that support for Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 10 compatible drivers must eventually be added to ReactOS. At this time the devs choose to work on matters which they believe are more urgently needed. I trust their judgment. Making extra noise about this future is a developer distraction not a help.

"To build a big rocket that flies, begin with a small rocket that flies."--rocket engineer's proverb

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