Random question regarding 3Com driver release

Al Goldstein al@cool.bioeng.washington.edu
Thu Sep 16 14:01:48 1999

On Wed, 15 Sep 1999, Donald Becker wrote:
Dear Donald,

There has been a few queries about this on the Linux Kernel list. It would be 
nice if you posted this message there. Alternatively, if you give me 
permission I'll post it. 

> On Wed, 15 Sep 1999, Simon Epsteyn wrote:
> > Could you please clarify the state of things regarding 3Com release of GPLed
> > drivers, are you planning to sync with them or is this going to be 2
> > separate competitive drivers?
> 3Com has been planning on releasing their own drivers for quite some time.
> Their driver will remain separate.
> I see official support from 3Com as a very good thing.
> It will be up to the community to decide which driver is best.  In some
> cases having two competing drivers is significantly better.  My opinions
> have shaped the capabilities of the current driver, and the 3Com driver will
> make it clear that there were alternative approaches.
> A specific example is that the 3Com drivers attempt to detect a 10base2
> connection by being able to successfully transmit a packet.  I have long
> avoided putting this in any of my drivers because it's not entirely reliable
> (it is *mostly* reliable), it transmits a spurious packet on the wire, and
> it adds noticably to complexity and code size.
> Another example is that I have favored terseness and small binary size, over
> a driver written with names and functions that abstract the actions aways
> from the hardware operation.  I find my coding style ar easier to read and
> to hand check, but I realize that this might, maybe, be a matter of opinion.
> In some cases my coding style and idioms are driven by looking at the
> compiler output for various architectures, and the rationale might not be
> apparent to those less oriented to that goal.
> > On 3Com's web site it says:
> > 
> >         Note: The 3C59x, 3C900 and 3C905 series NICs are supported by Donald
> >         Becker's driver. This driver can be obtained at the below URL: 
> > 
> > What does that mean?  Did they use any of your code?
> No.  The 3Com driver is largely based their existing Windows driver.  They
> have chosen to support only their new products, rather than their "mature"
> product line.
> Dislaimer: I have no revenue relationship with 3Com.  They have provided me
> with sample boards and documentation over the years, and I occasionally
> visit and correspond with people there.
> Donald Becker
> Scyld Computing Corp. / USRA-CESDIS