Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post - Plan9

This is a discussion on Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post - Plan9 ; > if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too? I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this around. ...

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Thread: Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

  1. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    > if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?

    I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    around.

    But your earlier comment is extremely valid, too few people are
    working on drivers. Without wishing to fan Discordia's flames, it is
    true that the 9fans community does not seem focused on solving
    problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)

    That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.

    Any takers?

    ++L



  2. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    Good luck.

    On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 8:47 AM, wrote:
    >> if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?

    >
    > I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    > I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    > around.
    >
    > But your earlier comment is extremely valid, too few people are
    > working on drivers. Without wishing to fan Discordia's flames, it is
    > true that the 9fans community does not seem focused on solving
    > problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    > problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)
    >
    > That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    > drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    > Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    > I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    > willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.
    >
    > Any takers?
    >
    > ++L
    >
    >
    >



  3. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    > That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    > drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    > Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    > I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    > willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.


    Are you serious?
    I have a crazy idea: how about you actually write one?



  4. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 1:47 AM, wrote:
    >> if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?

    >
    > I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    > I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    > around.


    Sometimes the binary bits are loaded into the cards, maybe most often,
    and therefore can be done in plan9 as well. Depending on the vendor
    you may need permission from them to distribute the binary part.

    > problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    > problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)


    Or maybe they have already written the drivers they need, contributed
    them to the community, and are busy developing solutions based on
    Plan9.

    > That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    > drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore


    I suspect that some of these drivers are missing still because the
    hardware is not available to the developers who can write them.

    > Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    > I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    > willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.


    I think the one of the BSD projects, OpenBSD perhaps, used to accept
    hardware donations to this end. If we had a wayto get the hardware
    and the technical documentation in the same place as the developers we
    could get more hardware supported.

    Ian


  5. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    > Sometimes the binary bits are loaded into the cards, maybe most often,
    > and therefore can be done in plan9 as well. Depending on the vendor
    > you may need permission from them to distribute the binary part.


    cf. etherm10g.c. the myricom driver loads a metric ton of firmware into
    the card.

    > I suspect that some of these drivers are missing still because the
    > hardware is not available to the developers who can write them.
    >

    [...]
    >
    > I think the one of the BSD projects, OpenBSD perhaps, used to accept
    > hardware donations to this end. If we had a wayto get the hardware
    > and the technical documentation in the same place as the developers we
    > could get more hardware supported.


    good point. there's plenty of hardware out there with full
    documentation that's cheep. ati has fully documented the 2d
    in newer cards, for example. (a project i never seem to get to.)
    intel have done the same. there are also a number of cards that
    aren't really documented but seem straightforward anway — like
    the old nvidia propritary sata interface. if you have such a board
    and need >2 drives, this might be a fun and easy project.

    writing drivers is an interesting exercize. on the one hand, small
    errors will get you quickly because they typically run millions of
    times per second. this isn't all bad because one finds errors quite
    quickly. :-) on the other hand, they typically follow a
    small, constrained interface so it's easy to know when you're done
    and you don't need to design an interface.

    - erik


  6. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    This gets punted around every few months and nothing happens.

    I've done some basic information-gathering but got no further for the
    usual reasons,
    so, in an effort to stimulate some inertia,
    here's a small suggestion ...

    Is there anyone out there who's gonna be in Volos and wants to
    participate in a driver-writing BOF?

    DaveL

    On 4 Sep 2008, at 06:47, lucio@proxima.alt.za wrote:

    >> if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?

    >
    > I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    > I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    > around.
    >
    > But your earlier comment is extremely valid, too few people are
    > working on drivers. Without wishing to fan Discordia's flames, it is
    > true that the 9fans community does not seem focused on solving
    > problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    > problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)
    >
    > That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    > drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    > Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    > I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    > willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.
    >
    > Any takers?
    >
    > ++L
    >
    >




  7. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 4:03 PM, wrote:

    > Is there anyone out there who's gonna be in Volos and wants to participate
    > in a driver-writing BOF?
    >


    I'm not gonna make it, but it's an interesting idea.

    What would be more useful, possibly, is a tutorial on how to write a
    driver, with a few case studies.

    ron


  8. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    Sounds like a really cool idea, maybe somebody with more experience in
    the subject wants to give a short introduction, and then people can
    start to work on their favorite wanted driver (alone or in groups)
    while the 'expert'(s) in charge of the session can answer questions
    and help whoever gets stuck.

    Anyone from the Program Committee wants to comment on this? Richard?

    Peace

    uriel

    P.S.: Maybe to make things easier, it would be helpful to setup a
    public plan9 server people can both drawterm/cpu to and boot from
    their custom kernels for testing purposes, that way even not-fully
    functional laptops could be used for development.

    On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:03 AM, wrote:
    > This gets punted around every few months and nothing happens.
    >
    > I've done some basic information-gathering but got no further for the usual
    > reasons,
    > so, in an effort to stimulate some inertia,
    > here's a small suggestion ...
    >
    > Is there anyone out there who's gonna be in Volos and wants to participate
    > in a driver-writing BOF?
    >
    > DaveL
    >
    > On 4 Sep 2008, at 06:47, lucio@proxima.alt.za wrote:
    >
    >>> if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?

    >>
    >> I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    >> I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    >> around.
    >>
    >> But your earlier comment is extremely valid, too few people are
    >> working on drivers. Without wishing to fan Discordia's flames, it is
    >> true that the 9fans community does not seem focused on solving
    >> problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    >> problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)
    >>
    >> That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    >> drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    >> Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    >> I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    >> willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.
    >>
    >> Any takers?
    >>
    >> ++L
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    >



  9. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    Maybe similar sessions for 'file server writing' or 'limbo
    programming' might be nice for those not familiar with those subjects
    (and thanks to 9vx and hosted the required setups would allow people
    with non-plan9 laptops to participate).

    Peace

    uriel

    On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 2:41 AM, Uriel wrote:
    > Sounds like a really cool idea, maybe somebody with more experience in
    > the subject wants to give a short introduction, and then people can
    > start to work on their favorite wanted driver (alone or in groups)
    > while the 'expert'(s) in charge of the session can answer questions
    > and help whoever gets stuck.
    >
    > Anyone from the Program Committee wants to comment on this? Richard?
    >
    > Peace
    >
    > uriel
    >
    > P.S.: Maybe to make things easier, it would be helpful to setup a
    > public plan9 server people can both drawterm/cpu to and boot from
    > their custom kernels for testing purposes, that way even not-fully
    > functional laptops could be used for development.
    >
    > On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:03 AM, wrote:
    >> This gets punted around every few months and nothing happens.
    >>
    >> I've done some basic information-gathering but got no further for the usual
    >> reasons,
    >> so, in an effort to stimulate some inertia,
    >> here's a small suggestion ...
    >>
    >> Is there anyone out there who's gonna be in Volos and wants to participate
    >> in a driver-writing BOF?
    >>
    >> DaveL
    >>
    >> On 4 Sep 2008, at 06:47, lucio@proxima.alt.za wrote:
    >>
    >>>> if linux can use binary blobs, why can't plan9 do it too?
    >>>
    >>> I think the BLOBs are platform specific, but I may be mistaken. If
    >>> I'm right, there's no way that we'd get any momentum to turn this
    >>> around.
    >>>
    >>> But your earlier comment is extremely valid, too few people are
    >>> working on drivers. Without wishing to fan Discordia's flames, it is
    >>> true that the 9fans community does not seem focused on solving
    >>> problems, but rather on the academic value of the ease in which
    >>> problems could be solved if one followed the 9 True Ways :-)
    >>>
    >>> That said, how do we mobilise the community to focus on useful
    >>> drivers? I suppose we start with Ron's wish list, then we explore
    >>> Russ' partially complete postings (i386 emulation, Centrino drivers,
    >>> I'm sure I've forgotten many more) and thirdly we post a list of
    >>> willing contributors, possibly split into code writers and advisors.
    >>>
    >>> Any takers?
    >>>
    >>> ++L
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >>

    >



  10. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    Those of us who can't make it could volunteer to be on irc during the
    sessions, modulo timezone issues (that's what coffee is for).

    ron


  11. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    > Are you serious?
    > I have a crazy idea: how about you actually write one?


    I did, once. At least, I extended the PCNet driver for a particular
    model no one else had catered for. There were a few inconsistencies
    with expectations, so it never made prime time. Since then, the
    memory model changed and I couldn't quite figure out the incantations
    to make the driver fit. And the host that needed has long lost its
    proprietary power supply.

    Next question?

    ++L



  12. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    > I think the one of the BSD projects, OpenBSD perhaps, used to accept
    > hardware donations to this end. If we had a wayto get the hardware
    > and the technical documentation in the same place as the developers we
    > could get more hardware supported.


    I believe this is a small factor, but also not an insignificant one.
    Perhaps, if we could show some seriousness, donations would be more
    forthcoming...

    ++L



  13. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    uriel99@gmail.com (Uriel) writes:

    > Sounds like a really cool idea, maybe somebody with more experience in
    > the subject wants to give a short introduction, and then people can
    > start to work on their favorite wanted driver (alone or in groups)
    > while the 'expert'(s) in charge of the session can answer questions
    > and help whoever gets stuck.


    I've never written a driver for any piece of hardware before, but I'm
    interested to learn. My C is a little rusty, but that's why I've picked
    up nemo's book again to reacquaint myself with Plan 9. I hope such a
    session pushes through, even if only on IRC.

    --
    I like the idea of 256 bits, though: 32 for the (Unicode) character leaves
    room for 224 Bucky bits, which ought to be enough for anyone.
    -- Roland Hutchinson, in alt.folklore.computers

  14. Re: [9fans] apropos of the glendix post

    if we had common hardware it might be easier. You can get via c800
    boards for $99.

    Maytbe you can get a bundle and include the cost in the workshop.
    Spend a day hacking on drivers. It ought to be a day.

    ron


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