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Re: !!WARNING!! USR 33.6

Yes, stay away from Win-anything.
I already cover this in the installation document, excerpted below.



  Windows-specific Hardware
   A disturbing trend is the proliferation of "Windows" modems and
   printers. In some cases these are specially designed to be operated by
   the Microsoft Windows operating system and bear the legend "WinModem" or
   "Made expecially for Windows-based computers". This is generally done by
   removing the embedded processors of the hardware and shifting the work
   they do over to a Windows driver that is run by your computer's main
   CPU. This strategy makes the hardware less expensive, but the savings
   are often not passed on to the user and this hardware may even be more
   expensive than equivalent devices that retain their embedded
   You should avoid Windows-specific hardware for two reasons. The first
   is that the manufacturers do not generally make the resources
   available to write a Linux driver. Generally, the hardware and
   software interface to the device is proprietary, and documentation is
   not available without a non-disclosure agreement, if it is available
   at all. This precludes its being used for free software, since free
   software writers disclose the source code of their programs. The
   second reason is that when devices like these have had their embedded
   processors removed, the operating system must perform the work of the
   embedded processors, often at real-time priority, and thus the CPU is
   not available to run your programs while it is driving these devices.
   Since the typical Windows user does not multi-process as intensively
   as a Linux user, the manufacturers hope that the Windows user simply
   won't notice the burden this hardware places on their CPU. However,
   any multi-processing operating system, even Windows 95 or NT, is
   degraded when peripheral manufacturers skimp on the embedded
   processing power of their hardware.
   You can help this situation by encouraging these manufacturers to
   release the documentation and other resources necessary for us to
   program their hardware, but the best strategy is simply to avoid this
   sort of hardware until it is listed as working in the Linux Hardware
   Compatibility HOWTO.
  Other Closed Hardware
   Some hardware manufacturers simply won't tell us how to write drivers
   for their hardware, or they won't allow us access to the documentation
   without a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent us from
   releasing the Linux source code. One example is the IBM laptop DSP
   sound system used in recent ThinkPad systems - some of these systems
   also couple the sound system to the modem. Since we haven't been
   granted access to the documentation on these devices, they simply
   won't work under Linux. You can help by asking the manufacturers of
   such hardware to release the documentation. If enough people ask, they
   will realize that Linux is an important market. The Linux Hardware
   Compatibility HOWTO provides information about what devices currently
   have Linux drivers.

Bruce Perens K6BP   Bruce@Pixar.com   510-215-3502
Finger bruce@master.Debian.org for PGP public key.
PGP fingerprint = 88 6A 15 D0 65 D4 A3 A6  1F 89 6A 76 95 24 87 B3 

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