Introducing Pharlap, our new driver manager replacement for Jockey

Previous versions of Korora have shipped with Ubuntu’s Jockey for installing drivers like NVIDIA and Catalyst but now we have Pharlap. Jockey has been deprecated upstream in favour of ubuntu-drivers-common, so we thought we’d see if we could make some use of that code base and create a version for Korora/Fedora+RPMFusion.

It seemed to work out well and so it’s included by default in the Korora 20 beta release, although Jockey is still available to install if you so desire. It’s much more lightweight and uses yum-daemon for package management. The packages are pharlap and pharlap-modaliases, both of which are available for Fedora 20 from the Korora repo (including source RPMs).

Pharlap, driver manager
Pharlap, driver manager

We need lots of testing on Pharlap so if you’re keen to help, we would appreciate any feedback. Hopefully at some point we can get it into RPMFusion.

Where did the name come from?

Phar Lap, great racehorse
Phar Lap, great racehorse

Well since we were replacing Jockey, we thought we’d go with a horse theme. Born in 1926, Phar Lap was a New Zealand foaled, Australian-trained thoroughbred racehorse, one of the greatest of all time. Although Phar Lap came last in his first ever race, towards the end of his career he won 32 of 35 races (coming second in two of the others he lost).

In 1932 Phar Lap raced in the Agua Caliente Handicap at Tijuana, Mexico, which was North America’s then richest race. It was his first time racing in America, his first race on dirt tracks and his first start from barrier stalls. He was last out of the gate and started ten lengths behind the leaders, but by the half-mile he was in front and then won the race by three lengths, setting a new track record.

Two weeks later Phar Lap was dead after someone poisoned him with arsenic.

So to honour this great horse, we’ve named the project Pharlap.

3 thoughts on “Introducing Pharlap, our new driver manager replacement for Jockey

  1. Hi folks,

    First, let me say thanks for your efforts in bringing korora to the masses. Phar Lap was indeed a great animal athlete, and a great choice as a namesake. However, you’re not the first ones in the computing arena to think of this. Here’s a quote from the wikipedia article about the Phar Lap company.

    “Phar Lap was a software company specializing in software development tools for DOS operating systems. The company was named for the race horse Phar Lap. They were most noted for their software allowing developers to access memory beyond the 640 KiB limit of DOS (DOS extenders) and were an author of the VCPI standard.”

    Another quote:

    “Phar Lap is now part of IntervalZero, formerly Ardence, which produces, among other products, the Phar Lap ETS real-time operating system,[1] used for instance on LabVIEW real-time targets.”

    So the Phar Lap trade mark is still in use by the assignees of the original owners, and is probably legally protected in the space you’re using it.

    I used the Phar Lap dos extender way back when. It was a great product that allowed us to use the vast native addressing range of the 286 processor at a time when you could put as much memory as you could afford on a PC, but could only address the first 640K with MS compilers.

  2. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the post. I’ve checked the U.S. trademark site and all the “phar lap” trademarks are no-longer active. It appears there’s also never been a trademark for “Pharlap” as one word, either, which is handy.


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