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Debian Dropping A Number Of Old Linux Drivers Is Angering Vintage Hardware Users

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  • #91
    Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
    How big was that X11 conference? Did they publish anything on the topic? Their most recent item on their page dates back to 2015. Did they at least reach out to the high profile distros, open source/free software organizations and specialized mass-media to spread the news? These are rhetorical questions, of course. If they did, then I missed the buzz in the community. But I suspect they haven't, because I usually catch this kind of news.
    Yes they reached out but they were not after your general end users. You will not get like 10+ cards that have 100 percent sure been though basic functionality testing done the same way asking home users. The request was target a companies still using these parts

    https://www.cip-project.org/
    If you are looking at Linux foundation you are looking at this segment.

    Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
    This is an old problem that most free software projects have - suboptimal communication. The community as a whole should come up with a better way to handle communication for highly important matters, in both directions, towards finding solutions.
    No there are something where it a supply issue and for the supply to be useful it has to be of a particular quality and volume. Remember CIP I mentioned above is meant to be partnered with Debian to provide very long term support this include paid maintainers from CIP group of companies to do long term support of hardware. Yes these companies should have stock pile of parts all tested or are they out as well.

    Basically there is how deep of scraping the bottom of the barrel you are.

    Going to open community request is scraping the very bottom of barrel. We are still at scrape the company stock pile and company ear marked stuff at this stage. Nothing from those recycling systems was ear marked that has set this off a lot sooner.

    The maintainer pulling the package at this point is to open up for a CIP or equal party to take that position of maintainer and reinstate the package so still company backed with company supply of parts that are at least roughly quality tested.

    Basically the first general open community news is normally the maintainer threatening pulling package. Please note threaten to pull the package does not mean the package will be pulled either if the problem can be fixed. Please note there were announcements about these problems in the X11 conference video 2 years go and repeated again in last years conference these video were put on-line and that stuff got no news coverage. Remember this first lot of messaging is targeted at companies not individuals as like companies in CIP that have the best chance of meeting the supply requirement.

    So stage 1 of the process at this point has basically failed. We are on to state 2. Open community request is normally around state 3 to state 4 of this process. Community know this going down media groups could follow the conference stuff more carefully about items being deprecated and way and get announcement about this stuff out more early.

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    • #92
      Ok, this makes sense and it's great info. Why aren't these things (more) visible for everyone to know? I mean there could be various hardware people (or related) to know some company with the necessary hardware and they could act if they knew about this stuff - practically helping as a sort of a stage 1.5. At this stage, with the drivers already removed, it's the right time to open wide on this topic and reach the community in a very visible manner. I think a dedicated news item on the Debian website would help, along with spreading the news through the organizations I mentioned, plus media outlets.

      I'm an idealist, but it still makes sense to me that proper communication not only can help in this particular situation but it also encourages people to be more open about issues that can potentially affect many users, for better or worse.

      Thanks for taking time to explain!

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      • #93
        Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
        I think a dedicated news item on the Debian website would help, along with spreading the news through the organizations I mentioned, plus media outlets.
        Problem here is the massive lack of documentation writers in the open source world. The dedicated news item requires someone to write it and the people who could are normally tied up fixing up user documentation. So this is a resource starvation problem.

        Like I do agree proper communication would help. Lets take the Linux kernel there is only 1 full time proper documentation writer for the complete kernel and most of the time he has been doing it he has not been paid. Debian is really worst off you are looking at a time of under 20 people for all the documentation.

        Companies pay people to add features to programs and distributions but they don't in most case pay people to document how to use them let alone having any free writers to write the news stuff.

        Yes drivers being dropped is a resource problem the poor communication is also a lack of resources problem.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
          Problem here is the massive lack of documentation writers in the open source world.
          No, this is simply a communication thing. Creating a news item about this only requires knowledge of the big picture - how the package maintenance is done, how the drivers and hardware get tested, how the hardware is sourced and which are the ones no longer in the possession of the team.

          Later on, a drivers section could exist, where you could see a listing of categorized kernel drivers that would emphasize the ones lacking hardware and maybe show their status:
          - waiting for hardware partners (up to 6 months)
          - failed sourcing from hardware partners; waiting for community hardware (up to 12 months)
          - failed sourcing hardware from community; driver removed, hardware no longer available

          And based on this database, more news items could easily be produced when necessary. Of course, I have no idea if the statuses and their period of waiting are relevant enough, but it's enough to make some sense about what it could be. Basically the list of drivers could be generated from the working stable/testing/unstable Debian kernels and everything set as "available", then manually set the ones about to bite the dust.

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          • #95
            Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
            No, this is simply a communication thing. Creating a news item about this only requires knowledge of the big picture - how the package maintenance is done, how the drivers and hardware get tested, how the hardware is sourced and which are the ones no longer in the possession of the team.
            How you are meant to perform package maintenance is not properly documented for debian or upstream.
            https://lwn.net/Articles/772882/
            Linux kernel itself did not even have start of guidelines on how different kernel maintainers should do their job at all until 2018 basically it been hurding cats with absolutely no guidelines.
            https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/late...ner/index.html

            Read the current Linux kernel version nothing here includes how to report that the upstream maintainer no longer has the hardware to support X driver any more.

            Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
            Later on, a drivers section could exist, where you could see a listing of categorized kernel drivers that would emphasize the ones lacking hardware and maybe show their status:
            - waiting for hardware partners (up to 6 months)
            - failed sourcing from hardware partners; waiting for community hardware (up to 12 months)
            - failed sourcing hardware from community; driver removed, hardware no longer available
            1) This requires someone to create it and to write the base of what you are suggesting well you need at least one of these people to be a documentation writer(yes this is a skill set).
            2) This required documentation in policy/guidelines for the maintainers to follow to keep what you are suggesting up to date. No documentation writers this is not going to happen.
            3) Once you have written guidelines these can be enforced.

            Originally posted by kneekoo View Post
            Basically the list of drivers could be generated from the working stable/testing/unstable Debian kernels and everything set as "available", then manually set the ones about to bite the dust.
            Problem is you need the information from the upstream as well as the debian kernel maintainers hardware to get true picture of state.

            Its one thing to have communication but communication to be tracked and useful need to be well written this required people with the documentation writers skill and time to-do it.

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