[Soekris] Hifn support - good news!!

Igor Sobrado igor at string1.ciencias.uniovi.es
Thu Mar 22 11:03:09 UTC 2007

In message <c9fff09c0703211956k36467c6dy4b1da7dc9d0f6211 at mail.gmail.com>, Austin Murphy writes:
> The proper docs are available at: ftp://ftp.hifn.com/.  The problem is
> these docs only came out late last year, AFTER the OpenBSD people made
> a big issue out of it.  At the time this seemed to meet the needs of
> the OpenBSD developers.

Access is not easy, only "anonymous" (not "ftp") login works:

$ ftp ftp.hifn.com
Connected to ftp.hifn.com.
220 Hifn Anonymous FTP Site
Name (ftp.hifn.com:sobrado): ftp
331 Password required for ftp.
530 Not logged in.
ftp: Login failed.
ftp> user anonymous
331 Password required for anonymous.
230 Login OK. Proceed.

Indeed, access to these docs should help developers.

> The "fix" for FreeBSD is a totally different project.  Michael
> Richardson of Xelerance was hired by Hifn to make a working software
> stack for Linux and FreeBSD for the hifn chips. I think this started a
> year ago, well before the OpenBSD v. HiFn standoff.
> http://www.xelerance.com/pr/20070205/
> It looks like there is a little howto info at:  http://hifn.xelerance.com/.
> At any rate, it looks like progress is being made so I'm hopeful that
> good drivers will be available in the not too distant future.

If they know where the problem is, why not just release a patch
(not a driver) under the same licensing terms as the OpenBSD driver?
(probably an ISC license, I have not looked at the source code)

Closed binary drivers (blobs) cannot be audited, code quality
cannot be improved, and there is a real risk of the driver become
unmaintained in the future.  A driver whose source code can be
integrated in the operating system cvs repository will be
maintained, improved and fixed for decades.

Hifn does not sell software (at least, they do not sell the driver);
they sell hardware.  So, there is not a revenue loss in helping the
OpenBSD developers to find where the problem is.  In fact, it will
be easier for Hifn to help developers to fix the driver and delegate
on them for the maintenance of the driver (that will be probably
ported to FreeBSD and NetBSD too).


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