On 3/2/2000 1:24 AM Ken Yap firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: >The likelihood becomes non-zero if someone volunteers (remember Etherboot >is all volunteer written free software, you get what you pay for). If you >would like some tips on how to write a driver, email me. It's not that >difficult if you understand hardware concepts, but you have to be patient >with your test rig. Also you need access to the chip's programming manual. It appears there is a Linux driver (see /usr/src/linux/drivers/net/de4x5.c) for this card, so writing an Etherboot driver would be easier than having to decode things from scratch. The economics of writing such a driver are made less attractive, however, because of the low cost of clone and used Ethernet cards. I routinely pick up 10BASE-T NE2000 ISA cards for 1 or 2$ US. I imagine even new ISA cards are very affordable. One can purchase LNE100TX PCI (tulip clone) Cards (in quantity) for $15US/card or less, I imagine in the Pacific rim. The newer PCI cards are actually easier to write drivers for, because the card is smarter about media-selection and speed auto-negotiation. As someone who has spent hundreds of hours learning to debug and write Etherboot driver code, I can say that with the cost of new cards being as low as it is removes much of the incentive for writing drivers for older cards. That being said, it is possible (given time and equipment to test on) that I or someone else will write a driver, just for the hack value, or as a contribution to the community. Let's look at the situation where someone has 100 workstations with old Ethernet cards in them. If it is ISA, they could probably buy 100 NE2000 clone cards used for <$500US. What's sadly humorous is that I have donated cards I bought for 1$ to people after adding a 3$ EPROM to them. Even at 15$US/card, a cheap PCI clone card, quantity 100, is 1500$US, and I suspect if you were to use RTL8139 based cards, you could do it for a lot less at that quantity, if you negotiated at all. Now, the going rate for a device driver is certainly more than 1500$ (the Linux Consultant HOWTO suggests $2500 and up) because anyone capable of writing and debugging the driver (especially an open source driver) is probably able to make much more spending the time it would take to write the driver doing something else. (see /usr/doc/HOWTO/Consultants-HOWTO for a list of consultants and sample prices). Now, if Linux drivers could be trivially ported to Etherboot (the NILO project http://www.nilo.org is attempting to make this possible), then driver writing would not be such an effort. For the moment, however, it still requires time, patience, testing, and skill to produce a reliable driver. I don't mean for this to be a discouraging message, but I think it is important to put some practical numbers to the discussion. All this being said, the time I have spent learning and contributing to Etherboot has been well worth the effort. I encourage anyone who is interested in understanding computers more to do the same. Driver writing is like poetry; each word carries meaning, and it is an efficient use of language. I find satisfaction in knowing that a driver I wrote or debugged is helping people who I may never meet. So there's the long answer. The short answer is that if I happen across a board and have time, I may try to make it work. Regards, Marty --- Name: Martin D. Connor US Mail: Entity Cyber, Inc.; P.O. Box 391827; Cambridge, MA 02139; USA Voice: (617) 491-6935, Fax: (617) 491-7046 Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.thinguin.org/ =========================================================================== This Mail was sent to netboot mailing list by: Marty Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org> To get help about this list, send a mail with 'help' as the only string in it's body to email@example.com. If you have problems with this list, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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