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I hear you. It's so much worse than you can imagine. By the time the code gets out the door, whether through a dump on the net or even worse, through a channel partner and onto a shelf at Fry's, all the engineers are working on new projects. There is sometimes a six-month lag from the time the code is compiled until it shows up on a store. By then the technology has changed no one gives shit about the old stuff. There is no incentive and certainly no corporate push to go fix the bugs that got shipped. I know I always felt like it would be a simple thing to go patch the code, but it was never a priority for the management.

I'll tell you the really screwy thing about BCM43xx development. We sold reference designs to companies like 3Com and Linksys (before and after acquisition by Cisco), Apple, D-Link, etc. All of them got the same reference design, in theory, but if one of those companies reported a bug in our code, that company would be the only one to get the patched code. As a consequence our code was littered with #ifdef (COMS) or #ifdef (LINKSYS) with specific patches enabled. The other companies, those that hadn't yet discovered the bug, would get updates that we knew were broken. It was terrible for the companies, even worse for the customers of those companies.

Plus there were source releases to those companies and they weren't allowed to know about patches that they didn't receive. So we had a step in our build process called the code transmogrifier. That would go through the code and expand certain C preprocessor symbols so the code no longer contained #ifdef (COMS) or #ifdef (LNIKSYS). That way every company got a different source code release as well. We would do separate compiles of the transmogrified code for each customer.

Then we had all the customization because those companies had fired all their own engineers and instead wanted us to produce a product that was branded "Cisco" or "Linksys". We had to take the exact same code an rebrand copyright strings to make it look like it was written by our customers.

I voted with my feet and left the industry.




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