Re: How to Install GPIB driver NI-488.2 on Ubuntu 8.04
I'll stand by my statement. Even if
National Instruments made all of their software and drivers open source
they would be insane to "officially support" every Linux distribution
that ever existed. Instead they would do what they currently do and
test their software on a few popular Linux distributions to ensure that
everything works before claiming it is officially supported. Now since
you would have the source code you could always fix things yourself or
pay a third party to provide whatever support you need.
Companies which distribute their drivers via the official kernel do only need to support this kernel (and some older ones from the stable branches). In this case, it is up to the distributions to care that the driver also works in their "patched" kernel. Of course they can work with the manufactures to fix bugs. So, open-source drivers fix the problems of supporting every little distro and current kernel version - so everyone is happy! It is not business which is incompatible to Linux, but the Windows/MacOS way of doing business is.
As this discussion flames up nearly every month now, let me add a new insight. I think there are two groups of Linux users. Students at universities who are using the newest distros and get their software/hardware for free (via some campus license). I guess this is the group which is very unsatisfied with the current situation. The other group are companies (do they really exist?) which don't care to pay expensive support fees to redhad/novell/... for they enterprise distros. They are satisfied that NI only supports RHEL 4/SLES 10. For NI, this groups brings the money, at least for short term.
In the long term, the former students will remember the "support" given by NI and will think twice before buying NI products in their later jobs.
The thing is that there are open source
drivers for some National Instruments hardware. So really the question
is why aren't you using them? That's not just a rhetorical question,
I'm really curious why.
For me the main reason is software integration and cross platform compatibility. As long as the open-source drivers don't integrate the same way in LabView as nidaq/visa does, they are no really an option. I just hate to write the same program several times for each platfrom.