linux drivers?

th3flyboy
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:17 pm

linux drivers?

Post by th3flyboy » Tue May 13, 2008 12:03 am

hey is there any chance of upcoming linux drivers for trackir, or the ability to somehow install the current ones and make them work?

VincentG
Posts: 7728
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:00 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: linux drivers?

Post by VincentG » Tue May 13, 2008 11:56 am

The TrackIR and SmartNAV hardware have been tested and it is possible that complete drivers, and software, could be written for Linux. However, we currently do not have any publicly available supported drivers for it. We are very interested in providing support for our hardware in Linux, though are unsure of the market and its ability to provide a return on the investment that we, or a developer would need to make to have proper drivers Which also would not violate the open source requirements for Linux, while also maintaining proprietary secrets for our software and hardware..

th3flyboy
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:17 pm

Re: linux drivers?

Post by th3flyboy » Tue May 13, 2008 2:23 pm

[quote=NaturalPoint - Vincent]The TrackIR and SmartNAV hardware have been tested and it is possible that complete drivers, and software, could be written for Linux. However, we currently do not have any publicly available supported drivers for it. We are very interested in providing support for our hardware in Linux, though are unsure of the market and its ability to provide a return on the investment that we, or a developer would need to make to have proper drivers Which also would not violate the open source requirements for Linux, while also maintaining proprietary secrets for our software and hardware.. [/quote]

While I'm not sure about any of the legal stuff you mentioned, the main reason why people don't switch to linux in my opinion is the lack of official support from software and hardware manufacturers. the problem is not that people wouldn't use linux if possible, it's that linux doesn't have the same support base as windows, so thereby the problem would be along the lines of not being able to use all your stuff with it, rather than not wanting to do it in the first place. A very good example of this is the games industry in general. Most developers are not going to put resources into linux because they do not believe there is a market there, however the reason the market isn't there is because the developers don't put the programs and drivers on linux. It's essentially one big catch 22.

Also one very important thing to remember is that linux is not something that people will avoid just because of linux, here is the ultimate example. about 6 months ago, walmart started carrying 300 dollar computers with linux pre-installed. The computers were not the fastest or the shiniest pcs. but they were cheap and efficient because linux uses less resources than windows, and the os doesn't cost anything, hence because of that they can offer the computer at a much cheaper price because they don't have to pay licensing fees to microsoft. It's because of this that the computers flew off the shelves. However, because of certain reasons, they decided to stop carrying them in stores and went to carrying them only online. But that still proved the point that people will buy linux pcs. It's just a matter of what it's used for and the price of the computer. The reason gamers stay away from linux is the gamers don't see the compatibility needed with games and gaming hardware to justify installing the os. The reason why it is necessary to look at this from a different view is that linux has the potential to get great support from the gaming community, the problem is though that the software support and the hardware support isn't there.

Shaolin
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:08 am

Re: linux drivers?

Post by Shaolin » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:16 am

Hi Vincent, I found this website but can't access the trackir_firmware.h file that was mentioned here. Can you provide this file?

BTW, I'm also very interested in TIR drivers for Linux. The only reason I'm still keeping Windows on my PC is lacking TIR support in Linux, if I was able to do that I'd discard Windows immediately and never look back.

Let me just emphasize that I represent a group of flight simulation enthusiast numbering 50+ people, most of them TIR users, all wishing to be able to choose their OS. If we're unable to have this choice because of lacking TIR support, we may try and find an alternative way of providing head tracking support in Linux.

VincentG
Posts: 7728
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:00 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: linux drivers?

Post by VincentG » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:25 am

I don't have the older file that you are looking for. The driver that you are looking at, was originall a alpha build for support for the original TrackIR product, and wouldn't work with the new hardware.

Helleluia
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:44 am

Re: linux drivers?

Post by Helleluia » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:29 am

Hi there to all the other Linux (and X-plane/FlightGear/...) enthusiasts as myself.

I'm not going to argue about the ROI issue of developing, or not developing, the drivers for Linux. However, I'd highly like to express my personal interest into such an endeavor.

I am not singularly the most influential man, or even the wealthiest by any means. But I am nonetheless a consumer that - like all the many Linux users who purchased a TrackIR - believe that adding diversity to your drivers base would help broaden NaturalPoint's market share (read "profits".) Even if only by bringing in more interest from the ever growing Linux community.

But that is only my 2 cents. I only hope that you are really/seriously considering the issue and sincerely hope to see this come to fruition some day for everyones - yours and ours - greatest benefit!

Godspeed!


Happy customer dreaming of happier days!


P.S.: Vincent, I figure you like the sole surviving soldier at the front line, armed only with the NP flag, facing the onslaught of the advancing Linux army :grin: Thanks for hanging on :cool:

nmitchell
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:50 am

Re: linux drivers?

Post by nmitchell » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:58 am

Vincent, I'm assisting on a research project using your TrackIR system at Argonne National Lab. I've also seen the before mentioned site and the missing firmware. As my task on the project is to investigate the possibility of porting the device to Linux, I would be very interested in a current version of this firmware.

I don't know if this would be possible to release, but seeing how it has been released at one point in the past and its value to other Linux driver writers, could you please consider making it available?

You can contact me at this address if need be:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

-- Thanks for any support you can provide.

Shaolin
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:08 am

Re: linux drivers?

Post by Shaolin » Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:11 pm

BTW, ROI aside, other companies like AMD/ATi and nVidia publish their proprietary drivers for Linux, while AMD/ATi decided to open its drivers to the community in September last year... So if there's will there is a way, at least when it comes to legal issues. There are no requirements for all drivers to be open source, I'm using nVidia's proprietary drivers on one of my rigs for example...

tulth
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:09 am

Re: linux drivers?

Post by tulth » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:19 am

I'm also toying with the idea of writing a driver for myself. Track-IR support under linux is a sticking point for me, but I suspect this is a major undertaking.

Could someone from naturalpoint explain for a moment what the divide is on the hardware/software for the TIR 4 system?

I guess my real questions are:
What does the TIR hardware really do?
A) Does it take camera-like snapshots and pass these over to the driver? I suspect the hardware takes pictures, then thresholds these pictures down to a 2-color picture which just shows the (typically) 3 tracking dots.
B) does it do any of the head position calculation in hardware, or is all this done in the software? I think its all in software.
C) If it is camera data, what sort of pre-processing does the TIR hardware do? Does it just send over the hotspots of the three reflectors? Or is it greyscale camera data?

I am thinking the TIR hardware is basic, and the smarts are in the driver for calculating head-positioning. If this is true, I think writing a driver from scratch is a major undertaking probably outside the scope of me making a serious run at it. If more of the smarts are in the TIR hardware and its a matter of downloading position/orientation vectors, turning on/off LEDS, this seems much more possible.

na85
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 4:31 pm

Re: linux drivers?

Post by na85 » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:48 pm

For the record: It is perfectly acceptable for a company to release binary (aka closed source) drivers for linux. There is no requirement that Naturalpoint release open-source drivers beyond satisfying some open-source nazis.

Windows is on its way out. More and more users are migrating to OS X, linux, etc.

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