Christophe Nowicki

February 1, 2006

Support Linux pour le chipset de Webcam Ali M5603C

Schèma classique :
1 – constructeur de matériel qui ne fourni pas de driver Linux
2 – la puce se retrouve dans la pluspart des ordinateurs portables du marché
3 – il va faloir faire pression pour obtenir les spécifications sans signer de NDA

Le constructeur en question est le Taiwanais Ali, qui produit le contrôleur pour Webcam M5603C.
Cette puce est utilisée par la plupart des constructeurs de portable.

Pour réaliser un driver Linux, un site web et un forum ont été mis en place : The Ali M560x Linux Driver Project.

Mais visiblement le constructeur ne répond pas aux mails de solicitation envoyés par les développeurs.

Je propose de faire comprendre au constructeur qu’il doit fournir les spécifications du matériel, en lui envoyant des demandes via l’interface de contacte client : Customer Support.

Voici un email type :


I have bought an notebook, with a built-in web camera, using the Ali M5603C Video Camera Controller.
Now, the software that came bundled with the computer for using this camera is useless to me, since it requiers me to install and boot into Microsoft Windows, which is an operating system that I do not have.

I therefore use GNU/Linux, which is well supported by my notebook, except that there’s no driver for the M5603C controller.

When I searched the Internet for a driver, I came upon several developers for the Video4Linux system, that were interested in making such a driver, but without the datasheet for the controller, it would not be possible for them. They say they have already contacted Ali and asked for the datasheets, but none has so far got a reply to the request, as I know of.

I can assure you that, if you provide th the datasheet for the M5603C, there will very soon be a well functioning driver for this controller included with the Linux kernel.

ALi will then not have to worry about any other support for Linux users of the M5603C, since there are well established support forums for all Video4Linux drivers and applications.

To sign a NDA would be a big problem for the development of the Linux driver, since all drivers to be included with the Linux kernel has to have a licence compatible with the General Public Licence (GPL).

Therefore the source code of the driver has to be open, so all the information needed for the driver to work, will be available for anyone who understands C programming langage.

Another advantage of the existense of an open source driver, is that Linux users generally have a very positive attitude towards companies known to cooperate with the open source community, and usually prefere to buy products from such companies rather from companies known not to cooperate.

I personally buy only well supported hardware and I am ready to give more money for Linux support.

I want to thank you for your patience, and I hope we can come to a positive agreement for both ALi and the Linux users who have purchased your products.

Best Regards,

Ce genre de pratique a déja porté ses fruits.

Filed under: Hardware — Tags:, — cscm @ 20:46

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