There is an increasing number of people running
Linux on their Power Macintoshes. One of the advantages of running Linux
(as opposed to other variants of UNIX) on a Power Mac is that the Linux
source includes drivers for a large number of PCI cards. All of the
current Power Macs use the PCI bus as their internal I/O bus and many
have PCI expansion card slots, allowing users to install any of the wide
range of PCI expansion cards which are available today. The drivers in
the Linux source will usually work on a Power Mac, but often only after
some tweaking. The problem is usually that the driver author has made
some assumptions that are true on an Intel PC but not on other machines.
In this column, I will discusses some of those assumptions and how
driver authors can make sure that their drivers will work not only on an
Intel PC, but also on the Power Mac and other machines.