Say NO to Windows NDIS Linux compatibility layer cludges!

At first, having a way to get wireless cards that are unsupported on Linux to work by loading their Windows NDIS driver on Linux sounds very nice.
However, there are several reasons why this might not be so nice after all:

a) translation layer needed -> loss of CPU cycles and huge amount of Windows API interfacing needed for this extra layer

b) the need for a translation layer implies an "incompatibility" between different structures -> loss due to especially inefficient/unsuitable translation methods in bad cases

c) It's Linux which is THE all-interfacing fully-compatible networking platform, not Windows. An NDIS layer may very easily cause many manufacturers (which are often already too lazy as it is) to say "so what? Linux has NDIS compatibility, so why develop a real driver?", thus severely bottlenecking Linux's otherwise very advanced networking features, and having it forcibly remain sub-standard compared to Windows

d) Due to the normal NDIS interface, having special Linux capabilities in the driver is probably not possible

e) And the WORST one: it severely reduces the incentive to write a native driver, since many potential developers will use the NDIS cludge instead

...not to mention that this restricts wireless card use to x86 only, whereas our driver already starts to work on some Apple gear.

If you're wondering why it's even a major Wine developer who happens to say that, then let me tell you that while Wine is very important since many important pre-existing and unmaintained Windows business applications need to be made to run on Linux somehow, there's not the slightest need to start doing so with newly created wireless cards...     Andreas Mohr
P.S.: and please keep one thing in mind: whatever hardware companies do, it's almost always about market share. So if Linux support for a particular card happens to be sub-standard, then don't hesitate to vote with your pockets!
Last update: Nov 20, 2003 Logo