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Driven by example...

Posted 06-23-2009 at 02:46 PM by Shingoshi

The tradition of Linux and open-source systems in general to support equipment with drivers for older systems, can almost be said to be exemplary. Many have been very content knowing that they don't have to go out and buy new equipment, every time their operating system is upgraded. Unlike that other proprietary system which is the anathema of many, Linux stands alone in true customer support.

So if we use the example of the drivers which are supplied with the kernel for systems that are no longer in production, should it make any less sense to have full support for 32-bit systems running on a 64-bit kernel? When you consider that it has already been done, and done very effectively at that, no explanation based on technology can be given for not doing so. It simply comes down to a matter of ideology.

I personally prefer my ideologies to be as inclusive as possible. And I like even more not having to do any more work than necessary to do things. Most of the alternatives for running 32-bit applications on systems that aren't multilib, simply aren't elegant. Most are clumsy to say the least. It's as though some want to think of the most inconvenient way to make users do things.

Personally, I was really pleased with the implementation of Slamd64. And I would never want to see it go away, unless there was something better to replace it. Slamd64 was simplicity at it's best. No compromise encountered in it's execution. NONE!

I wouldn't recommend anything else to users except multilib. And there are very good reasons for having it. Multilib would cut the Dragon at the knees. By Dragon, I mean that proprietary adversary we are confronted with. And the one application provided to Linux users that could do the most damage to that Dragon, is Wine.

Wine is now being developed to provide full functionality for 64-bit applications. Something I think the Dragon has refused to do in the reverse. So Linux (open-source) users have an option not available to anyone else. We could have the ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit implementations of Wine distributed in a single package. And let's face it. The more users running Wine, the more stable and reliable it will become. And does anyone reading this think that open-source developers are somehow less qualified to deliver an even better system than the Dragon can. I don't think so.

And Wine is only one example. But it's probably the best and most important one available. Gamers represent a significant portion of the market for that other system. They are also the most advanced in terms of equipment usage than any other group. Having a larger number of them in the Linux community would mean swifter response in terms of driver development as well. We would all benefit from having a more diverse user base than we have now. It can never hurt...

There's simply too large of a brain trust in the open-source community not to succeed where others aren't likely to. So I think more users should step up to the plate and participate in the development of Wine, simply by using it. The more people returning bug reports to it's developers, the more quickly it can dominate over a lesser qualified system. At least, that's what I think...

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