Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Linux Drivers Rant

I have been using both Ubuntu and Windows for about 2 years now and it's been a combination that has worked for me just fine, but now I am thinking of completely switching to Ubuntu.

Now don't get me wrong, Ubuntu is a very nice Linux distribution, it installs quickly without too much fuss and is very user friendly but it still isn't perfect. The things that bother me the most are the lack of support from most hardware vendors and, for the 64 bit version, the missing flash player and Java web start plugins. However, today I am going to rant a bit about the lack of Linux support from most hardware vendors, including even some big names in the hardware industry that do not support all their products on Linux.

As our friend Lord Vader would say: "I find their lack of hardware support on Linux disturbing", and then would breath heavily :). Indeed it is a bit disturbing to see that great hardware producers like Creative and HP have very little support for their soundboards and multi functional printers, respectively. I believe that lately Linux has been a glowing point on the OS map and it's popularity among the desktop users is ever increasing so I don't see many reasons why the hardware vendors shouldn't support Linux for their products. Sure they can invoke reasons that it is costly to develop drivers for Linux, and that is true, but probably if they would study the feasibility of investing in Linux support they would reach a conclusion that the market is now in a point where it is worth doing it.

While Ubuntu and other Linux distributions do their best to support a large variety of hardware it is impossible for them to cover everything and for all their drivers to work seamlessly, so I would prefer the support of the hardware vendors for their products.

Fortunately not everyone is blind or indifferent of what's going on on the Linux desktop market and there are some big vendors who already started supporting this operating system. Kudos to nVidia for their great support on the GeForce video adapter series and to DELL for beginning to deliver PC and Laptops with Linux distributions. Also kudos to Ubuntu for making possible the use of the restricted drivers that are available.

I do hope that everyone else will fill the vibrations resonating within the Linux Force and start delivering Linux drivers for their hardware. Meanwhile I will orient myself to those who already support it before buying anything and I would advise everyone who wants to use Linux as a desktop OS to do the same.

Until next time, take care and May the Linux Force be with you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Looks like someone's been reading my entries

This June I wrote an article titled "First Things I Would do as Microsoft's CEO" in which I said that I would pretty much Open Source all of Microsoft's products as soon as I would get accommodated :). Why am I bringing this up now? Because yesterday while I was quietly looking on dzone's new links I found a link to an article with the title "Why Microsoft is Going Open Source" on the Linux Journal site, so I followed the link curious to see what was all the fuss about.

The subject of the article is about Microsoft's new site on Open Source supported by Bill Hilf and his OSLab and about the submissions of some of Microsoft's Shared Source licenses to the OSI for approval as official Open Source licenses. The article also wonders about Microsoft's real reasons for doing this and I must say that even though their initiative is commendable, I am quite skeptical about their reasons also.

As Linus Torvalds so elegantly explains it in his interview published at linux.com, Open Source is not motivated by altruist reasons, but by the constant struggle of an individual to improve his/her own standing. In doing so, and contributing their work back to the community, they manage the bring the whole community a step forward, so even though its motivation comes form selfishness, in the end it manages to help everybody else too, and that is the beauty of the whole concept.

This being said, I intend to keep an eye out to see how Microsoft's initiative will play out and if their actions will indeed be made to also help the community or they will just be a completely selfish act. I hope it all plays out for the best.

Playing for Change