Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by Dale Ponti » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00



We all know WinXxxx's don't work under Linux. (or OS/2, etc.)
We all also know that WinXxxx's sap the main CPU, thus are Evil.
But WinXxxx's are a popular market option, and to some extent a
barrier to Linux (or OS/2, etc) adoption.

I can see WinXxxx drivers not being written out of a sense of
elitism and general good taste. But is it even possible to write
WinXxxx drivers for Linux, etc? Are the necessary interfaces
documented? Are they under some bizarre license restrictions?
Etc?

Dale Pontius
(NOT speaking for IBM)

 
 
 

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by Dave Blondel » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00



> We all know WinXxxx's don't work under Linux. (or OS/2, etc.)
> We all also know that WinXxxx's sap the main CPU, thus are Evil.
> But WinXxxx's are a popular market option, and to some extent a
> barrier to Linux (or OS/2, etc) adoption.

> I can see WinXxxx drivers not being written out of a sense of
> elitism and general good taste. But is it even possible to write
> WinXxxx drivers for Linux, etc? Are the necessary interfaces
> documented? Are they under some bizarre license restrictions?
> Etc?

> Dale Pontius
> (NOT speaking for IBM)

If you can get the specs of these devices from all the different
manufactures, you could write drivers.

If they decide they don't want to give you "company secrets", your only
option is reverse engineer and guess your way through each and every
time you want to write a driver. Is it worth it? I think not.

--

Running Linux 2.0.30

 
 
 

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by Tim » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00



> We all know WinXxxx's don't work under Linux. (or OS/2, etc.)
> We all also know that WinXxxx's sap the main CPU, thus are Evil.
> But WinXxxx's are a popular market option, and to some extent a
> barrier to Linux (or OS/2, etc) adoption.

Frankly, these Winmodems and Winprinters are a scam by the hardware
manufacturers to save a few bucks on their designs by passing some
functions off to the CPU. I don't see why you would want to subsidize
poor hardware design and encourage that kind of OS dependent thinking.

Are the many hours needed to reverse engineer those toys worth the
savings? Is your time worth that little?

--
Tim Sweeney      Harborhi Consultants       Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Not valid in all 50 states.             Void where prohibited.
The contents of this post are for entertainment purposes only.          

 
 
 

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by <jkl.. » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00


Well, the only reason you couldn't write drivers is that the
specifications for the devices don't exist.  Mostly for these devices you
need to provide _everything_ for them.  Ususally they don't have their own
processors and can do _nothing_ on their own.  I believe that the Winmodem
is a software solution where a program running in windows does all the dsp
processing and merely uses the modem to translate serial data into audio
data to be sent over the phone line.  Similarly for the WinPrinter there
is a windows program that processes the data and makes greyscale work etc.
then dumps the raster data to the printer port and the printer merely
dumps the data onto the page.  So, you would need to figure out how to to
the work for these devices and dump the data to them.  I doubt that the
companies that produce the products would be willing to part with the
specifications, but you can always try.



* you will be assimilated  *       http://www.cs.albany.edu/~jklaas       *

 
 
 

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by Dale Ponti » Fri, 27 Jun 1997 04:00:00





>> We all know WinXxxx's don't work under Linux. (or OS/2, etc.)
>> We all also know that WinXxxx's sap the main CPU, thus are Evil.
>> But WinXxxx's are a popular market option, and to some extent a
>> barrier to Linux (or OS/2, etc) adoption.

> Frankly, these Winmodems and Winprinters are a scam by the hardware
> manufacturers to save a few bucks on their designs by passing some
> functions off to the CPU. I don't see why you would want to subsidize
> poor hardware design and encourage that kind of OS dependent thinking.

I agree, but they're probably more of a statement that a lot of people
are buying big CPU "because it's the newest and neatest", and then
barely scratch the surface of what it can do. In that case the WinXxxx
is tapping underutilized resource.

Notice that I have no plans to EVER buy such a beast, myself. I run
every CPU I've ever had into the ground in short order, and want more.

Quote:> Are the many hours needed to reverse engineer those toys worth the
> savings? Is your time worth that little?

I wasn't asking the question from a reverse-engineering standpoint,
more from questioning whether there were any disciplined or documented
interfaces there. I guess the WinModem software has proprietary metal
at the bottom and the Windows comm.drv interface at the top. Then it
sounds like the WinPrinters have proprietary metal at the bottom, and
GDI at the top.

Given the proprietary nature of top and bottom interfaces, I'm
surprised these things work as well as they do. Graphics drivers
seem to be a real bear. Actually, I guess the comm.drv and GDI
interfaces are published, but I would think normally only from
the top, not coming up from the metal below.

Dale Pontius
(NOT speaking for IBM)

 
 
 

Why can't WinModem/WinPrinter Linux drivers be written?

Post by M. Buchenried » Sat, 28 Jun 1997 04:00:00


[...]

Quote:>> I can see WinXxxx drivers not being written out of a sense of
>> elitism and general good taste. But is it even possible to write
>> WinXxxx drivers for Linux, etc? Are the necessary interfaces
>> documented? Are they under some bizarre license restrictions?
>> Etc?

>> Dale Pontius
>> (NOT speaking for IBM)
>If you can get the specs of these devices from all the different
>manufactures, you could write drivers.
>If they decide they don't want to give you "company secrets", your only
>option is reverse engineer and guess your way through each and every
>time you want to write a driver. Is it worth it? I think not.

Correct. And: There's no universal standard for Windevices - you'd have
to write one driver for every model. And: You'd have to boot Linux
into single-user mode to get these drivers (assuming you'd have the
specs) working.

Michael
--

**************************************************************************
Portable, adj.:
                          Survives system reboot.

 
 
 

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