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Are you waiting for a Linux driver for the m2tech hiface device?


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If the m2tech interface had linux drivers I'm sure I'd be using it. But my emails to Marco have left me wondering if there ever will be linux drivers for this device.

 

I can appreciate that this would be a low priority for a small team developing and bringing new audio products to the market. Perhaps if greater numbers of potential Linux user make their interest known things will change. I live in hope ....

 

Chris

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does anyone know if there's been any development on the Lnux drivers for M2Tech HiFace?

 

If Marco and his guys have difficulty, it's a shame they wont release details to the ALSA team who could develop drivers.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Bonjour,

 

Marco Manunta from M2tech has sent me the following answer by email on April 30th:

 

"I'm afraid hiFace cannot be used with Linux as we didn't develope the driver, nor we have plans to do that so far."

 

So we won't be able to use the hiFace with Linux after all. To bad for the millions of Linux users out there.

 

Regards.

 

Alain-Olivier

 

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My point exactly Chris, Linux users need to voice their discontent. If manufacturers like M2Tech chose to ignore the Linux market, well they'll have to accept that Linux users move towards other solutions

 

Regards,

 

Alain-Olivier

 

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Well, linux is about 1% of the market in computers in general. I use it and prefer it. Once you get used to open source the other two major OS players look mostly retarded in my opinion. Intellectual property rights aren't and shouldn't be non-existent. DRM I think is more of a problem for content. But when you live in a community where neither is a problem the other way sure looks constrained, contrived, and lacking in freedom.

 

But with linux being 1% of the market, most retailers aren't losing all that much. It is a bother when someone could open specifications, code etc. and people in the linux world would do their work for them for free, yet still this isn't allowed either. I understand people who make a living from proprietary work feel they are giving away their livelihood sometimes, but I also think they sometimes draw this line in the wrong place.

 

But they are free to keep their work to themselves, and will not benefit from others helping polish their software. We on the other side are free not to use their software or the products connected to them. As long as both sides have that option then that is about how it will stand.

 

I too bother to give my business to those products that are linux compatible and avoid those that aren't. Sometimes I even go to a bit more trouble or expense for that option because giving up the freedom that goes with it is definitely worth paying for in time and money. But I am not fooling myself into thinking I will make much difference to what products will be available as long as linux is a meager 1%.

 

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Bonjour esldude,

 

Even though I do follow your line of thought, stating that Linux stations amount to 1% is in my view false. Firstly it cannot be in any precise way accurately estimated, but whenever the available figures are looked into in details they just do not amount to that 1%. From servers to desktops to embedded devices Linux is very widely present and ever growing in a world where less and less people will be willing to pay for OSes and software when the free opened alternatives already are ahead of most chargeable solutions. What do you just think the Web servers are running on?

 

Sure Linux distributors do not have the billion of dollars to waste to try to convince the world's mostly uniformed users that they need yet another new computer to accommodate the latest yet already outdated version of so and so OS.

 

But it's besides the point. I do not use any Microsoft product, haven't in years and millions of end users, companies, governmental and educational agencies have chosen the same path and I truly think it's only a growing tendency over the last decade. There are plenty metrics to prove so.

 

And Linux users have more flexible computer audiophile equipment to choose from than just the Hiface.

 

Regards,

 

Alain-Olivier

 

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There are a number of metrics available to choose from. Yes, millions use it, but that is of hundreds of millions of users. Yes the number using Linux is growing, but so are the users of others OS systems. Reasonable estimates (and yes, there is no definitive way to put a number on it the way commercial vendors can) run from around .7 % to 1.5% for the broad number of computer users. The numbers provided above of nearly 2% are quite reasonable and believable. Estimates from other sites with a broader base of users run in and around 1%. It might be less, might be 2 or 3%, but it appears to surely be less than 5% overall. I wish it weren't so (I think), but it still is quite a minority number.

 

Despite that, even 1 % or 2% or whatever has provided a large enough base of users and developers to generate a highly useful, freely available, and most capable OS. Maybe enough is enough. If it were 20% would it be any better....I of course cannot know. Being only one or two percent seems to keep it from being a target for malware though of course it is designed so such wouldn't be likely to cause the myriad of problems such malware causes for Windows users.

 

I like most Linux users get a bit frustrated at people who could benefit greatly from using Linux yet seem stuck on something else unwilling to give it a try. Of the handful of people I have gotten to give it a test, about 3/4's keep on using it.

 

I try not to be overly militant or fanboyish about Linux. But in certain situations where people seem ready to have the light go off in their head, I offer it to people with considerable help to get them up to speed.

 

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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At least I'm part of that Linux percentage.

 

Sort of desktop or browsing usage is one thing. However, another thing is how many use Linux without even knowing about it.

 

As for mobile phones and tablets, for example Android is Linux based and MeeGo is pure Linux system.

 

For digital media player devices and Blu-ray players, very large percentage of these are using Linux as operating system. But it's naturally not directly visible to the user. Linux in general is very popular in embedded space, I could even dare to say it likely being the most popular embedded OS these days (for example almost all WLAN routers I know are Linux-based).

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Yes, I think over time Linux will become pervasive like a primordial soup. Android is one obvious result. Do you count all those people using embedded devices as linux users? They don't even know it in many cases. Yet they are.

 

Still I think we are presently talking of only 5% or less, but it could become more in the near future. Such is the radical swings possible with modern tech.

 

 

 

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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You can argue the why and wherefore of the whole thing until you are blue in the face. To develop Linux drivers Marco would have to release his code, and he's not going to do that. So end of story, there will never be linux drivers from M2Tech until that contractual requirement of the Linux development licence changes.

 

Hopefully once every man and his dog has Async USB Marco might reconsider his position based on his IP no longer being a USP. I completely understand his reasoning in this respect, though I understand it isn't palatable for Linux users.

 

You guys just have to accept that you might be 1.9% of the total OS install market but are in reality probably very much less of the installed music server OS market.

 

17\"MB-Pro-Weiss 202-Muse 200- NS 1000M

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Still I think we are presently talking of only 5% or less, but it could become more in the near future. Such is the radical swings possible with modern tech.

 

I would say much more. Already Android smartphone market share is quite big. Almost all non-Apple (WLAN-)routers use Linux, like things from Linksys/Netgear/Buffalo, etc. Almost all NAS devices like QNAP and Buffalo use Linux. Just that people are not very well aware of the fact. One of the main reasons is that many chipset vendors for these devices ship their hardware with a Linux-based customization kit.

 

Edit: and quite a bunch of LCD-TV's with a web browser as well as bunch of STBs (including TiVo).

 

You guys just have to accept that you might be 1.9% of the total OS install market but are in reality probably very much less of the installed music server OS market.

 

I would guess it is over 50%. And for me, a desktop computer running desktop audio player software is not a music server. For Apple, starting point would be Mac Pro Server or Mac Mini Server. But these are not really a music servers either, since they have not been built to be specifically such.

 

To develop Linux drivers Marco would have to release his code, and he's not going to do that. So end of story, there will never be linux drivers from M2Tech until that contractual requirement of the Linux development licence changes.

 

No need to release a code, but to publish a protocol spec.

 

Although if there is any real interest in the open source community they will reverse engineer the protocol, no doubt about that. Just like many other closed protocols and file formats have been reverse engineered.

 

But I do understand their (M2Tech's) point of view on publishing the specs and respect their decision.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Sq225917 states "To develop Linux drivers Marco would have to release his code, and he's not going to do that."

 

Actually so long as he doesn't base his code on existing GPL licences code there's nothing stopping the creation of closed source drivers for open source systems such as Linux's ALSA. A good example would be ATi's closed source drivers for XFree86 or closer to home the Lynx drivers for the OSS (Open Source Sound) layer.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Actually so long as he doesn't base his code on existing GPL licences code there's nothing stopping the creation of closed source drivers for open source systems such as Linux's ALSA.

 

Linux has concept of API licenses. Non-open driver can use only APIs that have not been marked GPL. This can be prohibitive in some cases, or can require reimplementation of certain kernel functionalities.

 

A good example would be ATi's closed source drivers

 

At least nVidia uses open source wrapper interface between kernel interfaces and closed proprietary cross-platform binary driver blob. ATI uses similar approach. These still require publishing the kernel-facing interface and that's what they are doing.

 

This is also painful approach maintenance-wise, since each new kernel release may require changes to the wrapper code, since it's not maintained as part of the kernel source tree like normal drivers.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I didn't say it was easy Miska :-)

 

I guess I was trying to say that blaming the GPL licensing of Linux for no M2Tech drivers is a red herring. At the end of the day it's a commercial decision that Marco have taken...

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I guess I was trying to say that blaming the GPL licensing of Linux for no M2Tech drivers is a red herring. At the end of the day it's a commercial decision that Marco have taken...

 

Some lawyers may advise against wrapper-for-blob approach being legally borderline case in scope of GPL...

 

So it may be as well legal decision, hard to say without knowing.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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What boots it? At the end of the day, you have a device that doesn't work because it requires proprietary drivers.

 

Lesson learned - buy stuff that doesn't require a proprietary driver. Even if it costs a little more.

 

 

-Paul

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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they don't have to include it in any distribution and instead they can just make people buy it and download load it for use.

 

It still doesn't free from legal obligations regarding GPL license.

 

The installation will anyway require some compilation work, otherwise it's a huge burden to provide binaries for all the various kernel builds out there.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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These are a reality for most Linux distributions, largely among database vendors.

Dont like them, but they are there.

 

Of course, I don't know the details for this situation, but essentially, just using the clib or any object code library does not automatically mean you have to release your source to the public. If you take open source code and modify it to make your stuff work, you have to release at least those modifications of course. If you modify someone else's open source, and publish it as a new product, you absolutely have to release the new source code. There are a number of other possible scenarios too.

 

It's why companies like IBM, Oracle, and others either release drivers and products as OCO products, or else just sanitize them and release them as open source.

 

One can, very easily, get into a situation where one is "hung on one's own petard" - and making the driver for Linux in all it varied flavors is just too much work. That is much more common than a real valid legal reason, even given the issues with international software licenses.

 

-Paul

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Of course, I don't know the details for this situation, but essentially, just using the clib or any object code library does not automatically mean you have to release your source to the public.

 

Paul, that's because libc is covered by LGPL license, not GPL.

 

That's the entire reason LGPL was introduced. But Linux kernel is under GPLv2 license. I'm only asking people to read it and understand what it means.

 

It's why companies like IBM, Oracle, and others either release drivers and products as OCO products, or else just sanitize them and release them as open source.

 

For object-code drivers, like nVidia and AMD display drivers, they still have source code release of the stub binding the driver interface infra to their own inner object-code driver.

 

The topic is discussed to a larger extent here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel#Loadable_kernel_modules_and_firmware

 

One can, very easily, get into a situation where one is "hung on one's own petard" - and making the driver for Linux in all it varied flavors is just too much work.

 

This is also one of the reasons why releasing drivers as open source software and getting it into the upstream kernel helps, it significantly reduces needed maintenance work.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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