[haiku] Re: Improving the hardware driver situation in Haiku

  • From: "Axel Dörfler" <axeld@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: haiku@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 19:10:46 +0000

Ryan Leavengood <leavengood@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I think we need to try our best to improve the hardware driver
> situation. Not in magically fixing all the bugs in current drivers or
> adding all needed drivers but mainly in having a more robust system
> for noticing when current drivers fail and better informing the user
> of this fact. I have 3 personal examples just from my recent
> experience with my desktop machine: the intel_extreme video driver 
> not
> working, the HDA sound driver not working and the ATA driver not
> working. I will address these below.
> If it is at all possible to tell if the video driver is failing, we
> should try to automatically fall back to VESA. If that is too
> difficult we should at least be more proactive when the user has
> selected fail safe video mode in the boot menu. If they do that and 
> we
> can detect what driver they *should* be using, the system should 
> offer
> to disable that driver. There is a high probability they are choosing
> fail safe video mode for a reason, that reason being that the driver
> that should support their hardware actually does not.
> For sound we should really try our best not to set up a driver that
> looks OK in the Media preferences but that just doesn't work. I had
> this with the HDA in my desktop and I've heard other people with the
> same problem. I also think the Media preferences need a built-in way
> to test if sound works, both in general and on each output (and maybe
> even each input too.) Also the work that was done to allow both OSS
> and native drivers to exist on the same system should be finished and
> thoroughly tested so it can be used in a released Haiku.
> For the ATA driver I think it should show more information about the
> problem if possible. I don't currently know enough about this to
> suggest much, but the current situation is pretty frustrating, even
> for someone like me who has been involved with Haiku for a while. I
> don't say this to at all demean the incredibly hard work involved in
> making the ATA driver support a lot of variable and quirky hardware,
> but if we can make it easier for the user to help us solve their
> problems that will make our lives easier. For example automatically
> showing the text log information when the ATA driver fails. And in my
> testing the paging of the log did not work well with a USB keyboard.
> It would be nice to fix that if possible.
> In all these cases it would also be nice if we had a tool to package
> up log information, listdev output and whatever else might be needed
> to fix a driver bug and offer to automatically send that to the
> project (if possible, for ATA problems it probably isn't.)
> Another nice thing to set up would be an infrastructure to
> automatically log what hardware definitely works well with Haiku, as
> well as what unsupported hardware would be the "most wanted" for
> future driver additions. Basically for this we need some way for
> people to optionally send their hardware information and what drivers
> are working to some web-site or REST API under our control. I think
> Pieter Panman's work on the Devices preferences would make a good
> start on this. I'd be willing to do any server side scripting needed
> for this too (though it might not be for a while since the browser is
> higher priority.)
> I would not want this "hardware database" system to become a
> bottleneck on the R1 release, but I still think it would be nice to
> get it done as soon as possible. I do think some of my other
> suggestions should be considered for R1 since driver issues are likely
> going to be the biggest problem new users have.

I guess everyone agrees with that. It's just the question who does what 
and how - it would be nice to compile a short list of action items, and 
someone who feels responsible for each.


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