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Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 07:48:31 +0400
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Fwd: RFC: Free Software Hardware Compatibility - Centralised DB


I am forwarding this in here with Zenaan's permission.  Zenaan is now
subscribed to xvendor too, so comments on the need for and feasibility
of his proposal may be posted in here.  Detailed discussion of actual
implementation of his proposal should, however, occur on its separate
mailing list (to be created).


----- Forwarded message from Zenaan Harkness <> -----

Subject: [Fwd: RFC: Free Software Hardware Compatibility - Centralised DB]
From: Zenaan Harkness <>
X-Mailer: Ximian Evolution 1.4.6 
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 07:37:08 +1000

-----Forwarded Message-----
> From: Zenaan Harkness <>
> To:,,,,,,,,,,
> Cc:,,,,,,,,
> Subject: RFC: Free Software Hardware Compatibility - Centralised DB
> Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 07:31:30 +1000

* Please do not reply-all (this is essentially an announcement and
request for comments. For further discussion, please advise that you
wish to be added to the soon-to-be-created mailing list (I'm still
looking for an appropriate site to host this)).

* Please forward this as appropriate (namely to those involved in
hardware compatibility, certification, driver development, and/ or
manufacture, as it relates to our free software community).


We in the free software community wish to have better and more up to
date hardware identification and support.

We assume that it is in the best interests of each Free Software
Unix-like operating system distribution, each kernel (eg. Linux, *BSD,
HURD) and in the best interests of the end users, to have a centralised/
unified location for hardware information.

First and foremost though, it is in the best interests of the
manufacturers - to simplify their job:

For Microsoft, they have a single point of contact.

Contrast this with the numerous HCLs, hardware sites (such as and, kernels and distributions,
such as Debian, Red Hat, FreeBSD and a myriad of others.

As a manufacturer, it is simply impossible to (generally) go anywhere
near supporting all these free software projects.

And so it is in the best interests of each of us individually, and
collectively, if we can simplify the job of the manufacturer.

As a manufacturer of a widget, if I have a single, commonly known place
to go to provide technical and contact information, as much or as little
as I desire (even perhaps just bus IDs and product names), then I might
actually do so.

We, as a community, might just have a hope of keeping up to date as
compared with the proprietary os's out there, namely MSW*.

So, I hereby propose such a database be established.

I am willing to contribute some of my own time and effort to doing so.

This database and surrounding facilities will be os-, vendor-,
distribution- and kernel- neutral, and will thereby attract many
otherwise disparate parties, such as the BSDs and the GNU/Linux distros.

If you and/ or your company is interested in supporting this effort, by
way of working together on this project to unify HCLs, device and driver
information or the like, then please reply to me and let me know that
you would like to be added to the soon-to-be-created mailing list.

If your organization can actively devote even some small resources to
the project, that is obviously very much appreciated.

Once the database and submission facilities are minimally established, I
propose that relevant parties widely advertise/ promote the fact to
manufacturers (and users and developers too), that this database is the
preferred and centralized means of submission of such information.

The plan is to integrate seamlessly with existing Distribution-specific
HCLs and due to the centralization provide and richer facility than is
otherwise possible today.

Thank you in advance, and regards to all,

----- End forwarded message -----

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