The "starving programmer" was an exaggeration
used
to illustrate a point, I was not seriously
suggesting
to go out and hire a bad programmer.

But, when you buy cheap crappy hardware it is
cheap 
because the manufacturer has hired less talented
programmers among other things, and you can only
expect something that "works" not that "works
well"
----------------------------------

I think its often difficult to distinguish
between what is crappy, because good code can
make bad hardware look good and vice versa. All
ethernet controllers were designed by idiots. 

My first success story (now I don't want to let
on to who I really am so I'll be vague), was an
ISA card by a major vendor that locked up
regularly, and it had a hideous reputation as
being a bad card. It was the only card of its
kind, and I needed it badly. They gave me
schematics and said that they had tried and tried
but couldn't find anything wrong with the card.
They had contracted out to some brainfarm to
write a driver, and the thing was this beautiful
self-contained scheduler (this is like MSDOS 3
mind you) with documented source, the whole deal.
Well I tore it apart, simplified the code, got
rid of all the soft interrupt passes and cleaned
up all the memory management code. Now the card
worked like a charm, didn't lock up, ran better
than their spec and Mega-Billon$- company
couldn't believe that some 23yo kid wrote a
driver that a company they paid 100K to couldn't
get to work.

My point is that until someone writes a really
good driver you never know if hardware is any
good or not. Now some  hardware is hopeless. I'm
not sure that the broadcom controllers are that
hopeless. But since the intel cards work well and
are cheap, who's going to spend the time to pour
over the broadcom driver and make it better?
There's a ton of I/Os in there that can be
streamlined. But who's gonna do it? Its sure not
worth my time.

DT




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