[sane-devel] Hardware producers

Lauri Pirttiaho lauri.pirttiaho at luukku.com
Tue Feb 7 20:59:08 UTC 2006

Martin Hoevenaar on Mon Feb 6 13:40:03 UTC 2006:
> ... I see that you're hardwork together with
> all the people involved and understand there is a 
> need to address hardware producers to include, 
> at least, the sourcecode of the drivers
> for their hardware on the cd that comes in the box with it.

> After looking at many of the producer's websites 
> and digging for answers, there seems to be a lack of
> knowledge or interest in doing so. Maybe commercial 
> reasons are the base for that, I don't know. My
> question is: is there a forum or a group of people 
> that tries to motivate these producers for including 
> all things needed to run the equipment?

> My guess is that it is for their and the user's 
> interest a good thing by doing so.


Politics! I like politics! :)

Martin, you are absolutely right. All HW should come
with HW manuals like IBM PC came back in 80's. I have
still around some great pieces of totally obsolete
computer stuff like Ohio Scinetific computer with
three processors (Z80/6502/6809), Osborne I, 
Commodore +4, several terminals. All with circuit
diagrams, many with SW listings, detailed HW manuals.
That was great time back then.

Unfortunately it seems that those days are over, at
least temporarily. It turned out that no-one actually
makes lots and lots of money of selling expensive 
stuff and maintining them. The new recipe was to
overload every place with piles of cheap junk that
can be thrown out of door and will never be seen
again. And we are living in this junk culture now.

There is a premise that everything must be kept 
secret because of competitive reasons but it turns out
that is not the real reason. I can deduce that from
the fact that even stuff that has turned obsolete
already years back is still kept secret. The real
reason is that no-one is anymore making
documents that could be handed out as HW references
and quality of commercially produced SW is often
so shoddy that no company in its right mind wants
anyone to see it naked.

And because of that all, lots of useful stuff becomes
unusable as the environments change, old SW becomes
unusable even though HW were still quite OK. That
way we end up trashing loads of perfectly good stuff.
An example of those are the winprinters with proprietary
drivers for which no updates are available. (Luckily
I have still 15 years old Laserjet with PS cartridge
around and can still get toner for it...)

So yes, there are commercial reasons behind the current
state of affairs. But those are not the trade secret
reasons. Everything is pretty much made of standard
components and people with enough money can actually
buy the specs from the manufacturers of those components.
The real reasons are that, in fact, no documentation
is made any more and therefore is not available, and
that no-one really makes money by maintaing old stuff,
but only by selling new which must be manufactured very
very cheaply.

I feel that a change is coming to that, but I'm afraid
it will take some decade or two. The change will come
because it will turn out that this junk culture is not
sustainable. And therefore incentives in froms of
taxes or consumer reactions will force the HW makers
to make their gadgets maintainable again, in which
phase they will figure it out that, in fact it will
be cheaper to publish the specs and hand over the
SW maintenance to open SW community rather than
doing it in house.

So I see great times ahead, but it may take some
time to get there.

With best regards,

Lauri Pirttiaho

Luukku Plus paketilla pääset eroon tila- ja turvallisuusongelmista.
Hanki Luukku Plus ja helpotat elämääsi. http://www.mtv3.fi/luukku

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