[linux-dvb] why opensource will fail

Paul Chubb paulc at singlespoon.org.au
Sun Sep 14 00:48:34 CEST 2008

Hi Steven
Steven Toth wrote:
> Paul Chubb wrote:
>> Hi,
>>      now that I have your attention:-{)=
> .... You've also had my attention in the past, if I recall I have you 
> tips about not using cx_write, instead using cx_set/cx_clear.
> Your latest patch still doesn't have those changes btw. ;)
Yes I have had your attention. Your two emails were the exception to the 
rule. On the cx_write issue, I took that advice on board. If you look at 
the latest patch you will see that the code was changed and then 
commented out. Remember I was porting a working patch. Since the changes 
did not fix any of the problems I was having and since the patch was 
working I commented them out. Once the patch was working I would have 
returned and put them back. The issue with the advice was the question 
of whether the patch writer intended to set the other GPIO bits in that 
>> I believe that this community has a real problem. There appears to be 
>> little willingness to help and mentor newcomers. This will limit the 
>> effectiveness of the community because it will hinder expansion of 
>> people who are both willing and able to work on the code. Eventually 
>> this issue  will lead to the community dying simply because you have 
>> people leaving but few joining.
> I disagree with everything you've just said, but that's just my opinion.
>> The card I was working on has been around for  a while now. There 
>> have been three attempts so far to get it working with Linux. Two in 
>> this community and one against the mcentral.de tree. Both attempts in 
>> this community have failed not because of a lack of willingness of 
>> the people involved to do the hard yards but because of the inability 
>> of the community to mentor and help newcomers.
> Did I not try to help you? The one piece of initial feedback I gave 
> you, you ignored. (see my opening statement).
> I'm always willing to help people, but they also have to demonstrate 
> that they are applying themselves, doing basic research, asking 
> specific questions ... rather than, here's my patch - and What's Wrong 
> with it.
Let me see, 3 weeks work. Reading the communities documentation. Reading 
the code. Looking up the specific chips. Bottom line is that if you 
don't know what is normal behavior and what is not it is difficult to 
ask the right questions. I had never even seen a dmesg of one of these 
cards starting up and there is very little documentation of the code 
that is detailed enough to get you over those kind of learning humps.
>> The third attempt by a Czech programmer succeeded, however it is 
>> dependent on the mcentral.de tree and the author appears to have made 
>> no attempt to get the patch into the tree. The original instructions 
>> to produce a driver set are in Czech. However instructions in english 
>> for 2.6.22 are available - ubuntu gutsy. I will soon be putting up 
>> instructions for 2.6.24 - hardy. They may even work  for later 
>> revisions since the big issue was incompatible versioning.
>> I understand from recent posts to this list that many in the 
>> community are disturbed by the existence of mcentral.de. Well every 
>> person from now on who wants to run the Leadtek Winfast DTV1800H will 
>> be using that tree. Since the card is excellent value for what it is, 
>> there should be lots of them. Not helping newcomers who are trying to 
>> add cards has led and will lead to increased fragmentation.
> So port the mcentral.de details into the kernel, I doubt they'll be 
> significantly different.... we're talking about adding support for an 
> existing card, it's not a lot of engineering work.
As I said elsewhere. Trivial for someone who knows the code but a couple 
of weeks effort for someone like me who doesn't
>> And before you say or think that we are all volunteers here, I am a 
>> volunteer also. I have spent close to 3 weeks on this code and it is 
>> very close to working. The biggest difference between working code in 
>> the mcentral.de tree and the patch I was working on is the firmware 
>> that is used.
> ... and your efforts are valuable.
> Markus (mcentral.de) is paid to work on Linux, just to be clear.
So are many people, Linus included. They generally break down into 
people who get it and those that don't.
> Your last message on that thread said: "xc2028 2-0061: xc2028/3028 
> firmware name not set!"
> You could of asked a second time before taking the opportunity to 
> vent, and taking the community to task.
> Showing patience and perseverance is what most other newcomers 
> demonstrate.
I don't believe I have either vented or taken the community to task. I 
have pointed out, as an outsider, that there is a problem and have done 
so in a way  that has attempted to be polite but also to paint why it is 
important. If you found it impolite, please accept my apology.

"patience and perseverance" demonstrates the meat of my comment. The 
higher the bar to contribute the less people will try.
>> Finally you might consider that if few developers are prepared to 
>> work on the v4l-dvb tree, then much of the fun will disappear because 
>> those few will have to do everything.
> Whether we have 3 people or 30, it's never enough.
> In my experience, people who join the list then vent all over it are 
> rarely around long enough to make a difference. They often think they 
> know more about the community than the community itself.
While I don't agree that I have vented, there is a certain self 
fulfillment in your observation. And I bet there are also lots of people 
who try and just disappear off the list.
> On the other hand, the people who join and ask well thought out 
> questions, describe their failures and working assumptions, then 
> demonstrate a willingness to learn attract a mentor very quickly.
> ... just my opinion of course :)
> If you want to make progress with the leadtek card then another look 
> at the feedback I gave you, then approach the group again with a more 
> insightful email.
Back when I was young I wanted to do OS development specifically 
hardware/software interfaces. Since Australia in those days did 
practically none of this work, I did systems development in C on a NOS 
called Banyan VINES.

I wanted to have a mythtv setup. The easiest solution was to simply get 
the Czech patch working. However I believed it to be a better solution 
to get it into the standard tree. As you pointed out it is not supposed 
to be a hard job.

At this point I have a working card outside of the standard v4l-dvb 
tree. Continuing would require love and enthusiasm.
> Maybe someone will help you then.
> - Steve


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