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Re: About firmware facilities

From: Robert Millan
Subject: Re: About firmware facilities
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 17:32:26 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Sun, Sep 13, 2009 at 01:54:33PM -0700, Seth Goldberg wrote:
> Quoting Robert Millan, who wrote the following on Sat, 12 Sep 2009:
>> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 02:07:10PM -0700, Seth Goldberg wrote:
>>>   I strongly disagree with you in this specific case.  Our experience in
>>> Solaris has demonstrated that PXE firmware is surprisingly robust (when
>>> the right combination of API calls (i.e. those tested by Windows) are
>>> used).  We have been successfully using PXE-based firmware for netbooting
>>> for many years now, and we would like to continue to do so.  Maintaining
>>> a driver collection for NICs is futile, IMHO.  Using the firmware that's
>>> there, and that's reliable should be the goal.  Not all firmware is our
>>> enemy :).
>> Reliing on proprietary firmware is a compromise.  We don't install the blobs
>> ourselves, so we're not responsible for them, but it is still problematic
>> because user has less freedom (firmware bugs is just the most notable
>> consequence of this).
>> So our compromise is to use firmware when we have no other choice, or when
>> the alternative is not reasonable (e.g. not mature or complete enough).
>> My goal as maintainer is to encourage development of a usable and complete
>> driver framework.  I'm open to discussion about accepting code for using
>> hardware support from firmware, but keep in mind it's not our primary goal.
>> In the specific case of network hardware, I'm more reluctant because it's
>> a regression compared to what we had in GRUB Legacy.
>   I agree that choice is very important.  In this case, our choice is to 
> rely on PXE firmware, since we've had excellent experiences with it.  We 
> added an UNDI network driver to legacy GRUB, so from our perspective, not 
> having PXE in GRUB2 is the regression :).

Well, you have the freedom to disagree with anything we do and bring your
customized GRUB to a different direction :-)

Anyhow, my priority for GRUB is strong driver-based support.  We could recruit
someone to develop the framework in next year's GSoC (unless somebody steps
in, of course).

Robert Millan

  The DRM opt-in fallacy: "Your data belongs to us. We will decide when (and
  how) you may access your data; but nobody's threatening your freedom: we
  still allow you to remove your data and not access it at all."

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