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!


Jean Pol said...

numa sa-ti mearga BROOD WAR .. in rest poti instala si FreeBSD de vrei :))

Mihai Campean said...

Am incercat sa il rulez cu Wine da inca nu m-am prins cum sa fac sa imi mearga de pe cd-ul original. De pornit, porneste da imi cere CD-ul si nu am prea avut chef si vreme sa invesighez...

semanticfocus said...

About 6 months ago (maybe more) my XP installation crapped out and I just didn't feel like reinstalling so I found a really old Ubuntu disc and installed the old version. After I had it up and running I used it to download the new version of Ubuntu. I have been very pleased by it, and I run it full time at home. I don't think I'd ever switch back. This is also my first time using Linux for more than 20 minutes. I haven't tried a lot of hardware with Ubuntu but I hear that their goal is to make it as hardware compatable as possible. Good luck!

Mihai Campean said...

Yes, Ubuntu is my favorite distribution also, I have been using it for more than 2 years along with Windows on a dual boot system. The Ubuntu team did a great job with the OS and it had a great evolution. I am sure they will do their best to be compatible with every piece of hardware. I wrote this article because I have some issues with my Audigy SE soundboard which doesn't have very good support from the alsa drivers, and also my multi-functional HP printer which doesn't have the multi-functions :).

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