PLUNGED: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

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.William.
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PLUNGED: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

I have solved my problem with the Silicon Integrated Systems drivers for the SiS 671 Mirage 3 graphics card.
Problem was that the default drivers provided by Linux Mint do not provide an acceptable screen resolution.
Screen resolution could not get better then 800x600.

For the solution I created a how-to here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=57181
And I have been hosing my solution with the drivers myself for others to use.
So far several hundreds of people downloaded them from my site. (flagcounter on the page I put there only one week ago)

But it shouldnt be this way, my solution still is a lot of agony for people new to Mint: These drivers should install out-of-the-box or be downloadable from the Repositories.

How can I achieve that ? How does such a thing work ?
Last edited by .William. on Tue May 31, 2011 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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vincent
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by vincent »

Mint's repositories don't package much aside from the Mint-branded tools; what you want to do is to push your driver upstream to either the Linux kernel developers, or to Debian/Ubuntu (for the latter, file a bug report on Debian's BTS or Ubuntu's Launchpad against the kernel, and work from there). Before you do so though, you'll need to have the source code for that driver (not just a binary .so), and it must be licensed under an open-source license, e.g. the GPL.
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oalonso
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by oalonso »

Your solution worked. Thank you!

However, after I did a "apt-get dist-upgrade" it no longer worked :-(

from: Xorg.0.log
[ 68.803] dlopen: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/sis671_drv.so: undefined symbol: miEmptyData
[ 68.803] (EE) Failed to load /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/sis671_drv.so
[ 68.803] (II) UnloadModule: "sis671"
[ 68.803] (EE) Failed to load module "sis671" (loader failed, 7)
[ 68.803] (EE) No drivers available.
[ 68.803]
Fatal server error:
[ 68.803] no screens found
[ 68.803]

Thanks for all your efforts.
Oscar.

.William.
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

Hi Vincent, sorry I didn't reply sooner. I see how things work, but the fact that there is no decent Linux support for SiS graphics drivers is a bit contradictory to the image Linux distro's like to portrait of the OS that has native kernel support for drivers. Consequence of the lack of support for the SiS graphics drivers is that many thousands of users are dependent on volunteers providing them with solutions, or fixes. If not existing, I think organizations like Canonical should open lines of communication with such a manufacturer of chips and try to get them to release the appropriate drivers for Linux. Especially since SiS has stated that it will never release Linux drivers to end users, since they only supply manufacturers of computers. Or maybe they could start pressuring these manufacturers to start asking for them.

Under current conditions I am unable to upgrade from Linux Mint 9 Isadora. I fear Oscars report above is accurate and my resolution may not work with LM 10. If no support will be provided by Mint I may have to resort to abandoning Mint and move to Mandriva of which I have heard they do have native support for SiS 671 Mirage 3 graphics cards. That would be a shame for me since Mandriva is quite commercial and I strongly prefer Mint over it. But a screen resolution of just 800x600 is unacceptable to me and many others with me.
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vincent
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by vincent »

My point still stands; the Mint forums isn't the place to ask for a driver to get included in the kernel. If you're unwilling to work directly with kernel developers via the LKML to get this driver included in mainline, file a bug report on Launchpad and ask the Ubuntu kernel team to consider your driver. Heck, you could even try contacting SIS via e-mail and see what they have to say about Linux support.
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.William.
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

I was quoting SiS when I said:
Especially since SiS has stated that it will never release Linux drivers to end users, since they only supply manufacturers of computers.
Many people have mailed and written letters to SiS and although some SiS employees have said that they have a 3d Mirage 3 graphics driver laying in a drawer, they will probably never release it to the general public.
And about submitting something like this with a bug report on Launchpad, I believe Launchpad is supposed to be for bugs, and this is a matter of choosing whether or not to support SiS graphics cards. To be honest submitting anything at Launchpad feels like writing a letter to the Komintern to ask for change. As a matter of fact I did submit to Launchpad about this. I was then asked questions I didn't understand because they were immensely technical. And every reply from them took ages. They never asked my anything about what my purpose of submitting was and at some point the replies just bled out. After one year I gave up on Launchpad.

Edit: What is the LKML ???
Edit 2: It is NOT my driver - I only host it.
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vincent
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by vincent »

.William. wrote:Many people have mailed and written letters to SiS and although some SiS employees have said that they have a 3d Mirage 3 graphics driver laying in a drawer, they will probably never release it to the general public.
So...what do you want, then? If SIS has stated that they have no intentions of fully supporting Linux, there's nothing you and I can do about it.

Launchpad isn't just about bug reports; it can host entire development projects as well (although not that many open-source projects are primarily hosted on Launchpad...most of them choose a more well-known site like Sourceforge or Github). You can also post feature requests there (which is what this thread is all about, presumably).

You still haven't responded to my previous comment...
vincent wrote:...you'll need to have the source code for that driver (not just a binary .so), and it must be licensed under an open-source license, e.g. the GPL.
Currently, your driver is in no shape to be included in the mainline kernel. You're distributing this driver, yet it seems that you know almost nothing about it (besides the fact that it apparently works)? If you want to get anywhere with this, contact the original author of this driver you're distributing, and get them to approach the mainline kernel developers.

Oh, and by the way, LKML = Linux Kernel Mailing List.
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.William.
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

Thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

Yes, the driver I only host it. I know next to nothing about it, except that it works for me and many others. I found it at a private website of a South American programmer. He said it was free to use and distribute. He said he wrote it to solve his private problem. (same Packard Bell laptop) But I lost the name of the website. So I don't have binaries and can't say if it is licensed as open source (GNU/GPL). I think there was no mention of license at all. Don't forget that 'licensing' is a typical North American (USA) thing that is only fully shared by Japan. Many aspects of American proprietary licensing are even against common laws found in Europe. But I shouldn't talk to much about legal stuff here, since I'm not qualified to do so.

The statement is from some SiS employees, not from the company board. I think that if Canonical would contact them about it that it may help. And if you never try... And next to that you and I can indeed do something about it, since if you can start a revolution by utilizing Facebook, you can also confront a company board with negative publicity. You'd be surprised of the things that are possible.

But I didn't hear you deny that Launchpad takes everything to a too high level for end users to understand. It was very annoying to be bluntly ignored in my own ticket submission while different people were talking technical things to each other but never spoke straight to me. What to do with that ? I just let it go.
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vincent
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by vincent »

.William. wrote:I lost the name of the website.
If I was a kernel developer, I'd stop reading right there and throw out your bug report.
.William. wrote:But I didn't hear you deny that Launchpad takes everything to a too high level for end users to understand. It was very annoying to be bluntly ignored in my own ticket submission while different people were talking technical things to each other but never spoke straight to me. What to do with that ? I just let it go.
Have you ever thought about how many bug reports Debian/Ubuntu developers have to look through every single day, many of them filed by clueless users who provide little to no information about the bug except to shout "HELP!!!!" as loud as they can, and talk in the most vague way possible? If you can't provide the information that the developers request, what do you expect them to do? I've personally spent entire days triaging bugs in Debian's BTS, and believe me, after a while these types of bug reports can really get on your nerves, especially when there's a lot of other [more productive] work you could be doing. Yes, developers use technical terms to converse with each other. Yes, you're expected to know these terms if you want the devs to pay attention to your bug report instead of flinging it on the ever-mounting pile of "Invalid"/"Incomplete" reports. Keep in mind that Debian is run by a group of volunteers who choose to dedicate their time to improving their OS, and Ubuntu is mostly run by volunteers (e.g. MOTU members) as well, except for a few hundred Canonical-hired employees that have a lot of other work to do.

I'm just trying to get you to look at this from the viewpoint of a developer. Unhappy with the status quo? Then get your hands dirty and start getting involved in the Debian/Ubuntu community.
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.William.
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

vincent wrote:If I was a kernel developer, I'd stop reading right there and throw out your bug report.
You seem to have mis-red me. The ticket I submitted was not about adding the drivers I used to fix the problem. It was submitted way before that I found the driver. It was about the kernel graphics drivers coming with Mint not working on my PC. I did extensive amounts of work by performing all kind of tests of which I didn't understand much. I would handwrite all the different results and then correctly type them in for the submitted reports. I provided as much information as anyone who isn't a Linux programmer could possibly do. I started reading on all kind of information about Linux as I could find. I learned more about Terminal commands then you could possibly expect from any eager learner. I am not simply someone who posts HELP on a forum and then expects miracles to happen.

It is symptomatic that you suggest that I should get started to get my hands dirty and get involved in the Linux community. It's symptomatic if you think that the only service one can provide for the Linux community and the open source community at large being becoming a Linux programmer.

Most of all it is very funny or even typical, to hear someone suggest that I should consider that I am dealing with volunteers when just this very weekend I received a state award for the volunteers work that I do ! I am talking about a national government award, the highest possible award that I could possibly receive for the volunteers work in my specific field. This being in the field of human rights that I am devoting my life to instead of earning a good salary. So forgive me for me inconsiderately asking for a bit of help from a fellow volunteer here.

Besides that as a matter of fact I have also done volunteer work for open source software. If you go to the website of LiLi Linux Live USB Creator you will there find my name written as GUI translator. Next to that I am actively involved in the development of MultiPar, an open source software. I can name you several more open source programs that I have helped out in the past. As you can see in my signature; I have created a web page dedicated to advertising Linux for usage by governments, students and companies - in my own language. On Web Of Trust it has already achieved an 'Excellent' rating, so I assume people appreciate my effort. When I meet with government officials I will point out to them the benefits of switching to Linux and open source software - when I have the opportunity to do so. I feel I am doing everything that I can do within my private talents sphere and I know by experience that these small contributions are all valuable.

I understand very well that the only good way to give back to the open source community, besides donating money - which I also have done, even though I have a very small income - is returning the given favor by doing something for the project in the way that you can best help it with. You are talking to a relative outsider of the Linux world who has embraced it and is promoting it. Cut me some slack.

On several occasion I have offered to help translate for Linux programs, but sometimes I got no reply whatsoever. And that doesn't help my confidence.
vincent wrote:Have you ever thought about how many bug reports Debian/Ubuntu developers have to look through every single day, many of them filed by clueless users who provide little to no information about the bug except to shout "HELP!!!!" as loud as they can, and talk in the most vague way possible? If you can't provide the information that the developers request, what do you expect them to do? I've personally spent entire days triaging bugs in Debian's BTS, and believe me, after a while these types of bug reports can really get on your nerves, especially when there's a lot of other [more productive] work you could be doing. Yes, developers use technical terms to converse with each other. Yes, you're expected to know these terms if you want the devs to pay attention to your bug report instead of flinging it on the ever-mounting pile of "Invalid"/"Incomplete" reports. Keep in mind that Debian is run by a group of volunteers who choose to dedicate their time to improving their OS, and Ubuntu is mostly run by volunteers (e.g. MOTU members) as well, except for a few hundred Canonical-hired employees that have a lot of other work to do.

I'm just trying to get you to look at this from the viewpoint of a developer. Unhappy with the status quo? Then get your hands dirty and start getting involved in the Debian/Ubuntu community.
So, hey, I do think I know a little about what the point of view is of a developer, but I have more talents in different fields. I am not a brilliant programmer, but I have talents in software fields of my own. I learned programming because of a comment a programmer made to me once. He said to me: "If you think you can do it better - then do so, or learn how to do so". And I then learned programming and published my programs. Programmers often lack understanding of end-users. They expect them to get into their worlds. I can understand both of them, and am often able to word for programmers to end-users 'that which is too complicated when they try to explain it themselves'.

So I think a kernel developer should be very happy there are people like me around who are willing to help out in my off time when I am not doing my work as a human rights volunteer too.

I don't judge you Vincent, since I am fully aware there are many people around that don't care a bit about these things and just want a reliable and working, understandable operating system. And I think the Mint crew is mostly going in the right direction.
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vincent
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by vincent »

Good to know you're actively involved in the open-source community. That's nice and all. /me shrugs
.William. wrote:"If you think you can do it better - then do so, or learn how to do so"
Great, that means I don't have to write another long-winded paragraph to explain a concept you already know. I'm sure you already know how to proceed then, and don't need me to continue blathering on and on. But if you don't, here are your options:

- Find the original source of this kernel module you host, and submit it upstream while following upstream's conventions, or...
- Write a new kernel module that does what you want it to do, and submit it upstream, or...
- If your contributions aren't accepted upstream for whatever reason, be it of your own fault or upstream's unwillingness to cooperate, continue to host and maintain that kernel module yourself, or...
- Fork the kernel entirely, and do things your way, or...
- Just forget about it.
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.William.
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Re: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by .William. »

.William. wrote:Programmers often lack understanding of end-users. They expect them to get into their worlds. I can understand both of them
I guess you're a programmer, right ? :roll: To be able to write new kernel modules you need way more understanding of programming then I can in Linux. And currently I am so busy with my human rights work, I won't have the time to learn how to do it.

I'm just gonna have to give up on this altogether.. I'm saddened though.
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Arcosanti
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Re: PLUNGED: How to get my driver in the Mint repositories ?

Post by Arcosanti »

Hi William. Perhaps this link will be of interest to you. http://apcmag.com/why_i_quit_kernel_dev ... olivas.htm As I see it, he's pretty much in the same boat as you are. He was getting no where with the kernel developers and decided to quit. Perhaps he thought better of it and that is why he came back. He is supporting Linux with his fixes outside of the mainstream kernel again which is of use to others. Instead of giving up I'd suggest continuing to do the same thing as Con is doing. If you are concerned with the amount of traffic your site is getting and is causing problems with the website host, then see if others would be willing to mirror your site.

Personally I am of the opinion that the Linux kernel development is in dire need of a fork. I am basing this on how I have seen the kernel developers handle some people who worked together on a forum to fix an old driver and asked to have the fixes included in the mainstream kernel. I've seen some posts against forking Linux as the fork would not have Linus Torvalds' support. As I see it, who cares if Linus supports the fork or not. Having one person who decides what gets in the kernel and what doesn't, that's the equivalent of a dictatorship and flies in the face of what Richard Stallman had in mind with the free software movement. Secondly, if a fork were to happen, I see no reason why the two kernel developments could not work together to make Linux even better than it is now.

What you need to do is find that person who wrote the driver and see if they would be interested in supporting a kernel development fork. Con Kolivas might be another person to check with. Don't stop there. Look for others who know how to program for Linux and see if they would be interested as well.

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