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Linux Supports More Devices Than Any Other OS

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-the-tree dept.

Operating Systems 272

Linux Blog recommends an interview up on the O'Reilly site with Greg Kroah-Hartman, long-time Linux kernel hacker and the current Linux kernel maintainer for the USB driver core. He updates the free Linux driver program announced almost two years ago, which has really caught traction now with more than 300 developers volunteering. The interviewer begins by asking about Kroah-Hartman's claim that the Linux kernel now supports more devices than any other operating system ever has. "[One factor is] the ease of writing drivers; Linux drivers are at normally one-third smaller than Windows drivers or other operating system drivers. We have all the examples there, so it's trivial to write a new one if you have new hardware, usually because you can copy the code and go. We maintain them... forever, so the old ones don't disappear and we run on every single processor out there. I mean Linux is 80% of the world's top 500 super computers right now and we're also the number one embedded operating system today. We've got both sides of the market because it's — yeah it's pretty amazing. I don't know why, but we're doing something right."

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God, you're good! (5, Funny)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634399)

Could you guys write a driver for my limo?

Re:God, you're good! (5, Funny)

von_rick (944421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634745)

run

# lslimo > output.txt

and post the output.txt file.

Re:God, you're good! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635009)

output.txt:

00:00.0 12v Battery
00:01.0 Chassis
00:1a.0 Engine
00:1a.1 Gear box
00:1a.2 Cam belt
00:1a.7 Drive shaft
00:1b.0 Stereo
00:1c.0 Steering wheel
00:1c.4 Steering column
00:1c.5 Horn
00:1d.0 Driver seat
00:1d.1 Front passenger seat
00:1d.2 Hot tub
00:1d.7 Back passenger seats
00:1e.0 Wheels
00:1f.0 Doors

Re:God, you're good! (5, Funny)

hdparm (575302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635313)

You will obviously have to use manufacturers non-free driver, as they haven't released the spec for a Hot tub device. The latest patch I have in git fills the tub (although there are some overflowing issues with the latest, compact tubs) but doesn't heat the water yet.

Re:God, you're good! (4, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634779)

I could, but no guarantees it wouldn't crash.

Re:God, you're good! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634807)

Just as long as the Colonel doesn't panic! Drivers should only be allowed on streets (OK, user mode) and shouldn't be able to crash so that they scare my Colonel.

Re:God, you're good! (1, Offtopic)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635055)

Have you asked roblimo [slashdot.org] ?

Re:God, you're good! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635145)

What does it matter if it runs a million obscure devices when it doesn't run common desktop hardware.

Troll rating incoming for speaking the truth in 1-2-3.

Linux is on more devices than any other OS... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634409)

...and it can't even work properly on X86. OObOOOOnTOO!

Re:Linux is on more devices than any other OS... (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635117)

OObOOOOnTOO!

There is your problem

No surprise here... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634421)

Its no surprise that Linux supports more devices. Just look at various hardware devices that require third-party drivers and sometimes even third-party software to function on Windows.

Re:No surprise here... (4, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634451)

I'll remember that when Linux fails to ID my laptop's wifi adapter and the guy in #linuxhelp tells me, "Dude, I dunno...mine works!"

Re:No surprise here... (2)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634537)

It's... very much a distro thing.

Ubuntu, despite having newer kernels and stuff, doesn't support my wifi card like Sabayon does. I 3 that distro ^-^

Re:No surprise here... (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634549)

Damn slashcode! That's supposed to be "less than" 3. Bastardized HTML my posts are not.

Re:No surprise here... (1, Offtopic)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634717)

You mean <3 ?

Re:No surprise here... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634751)

On the other hand, bastardized English they are.

Re:No surprise here... (2, Informative)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635169)

I don't know the details of your case, but in general, it is NOT a distro thing. In the case of wifi, anything using the same kernel newer than 2.6.23 should have similar wifi support except for some like Mint that automate ndiswrapper setup.

Re:No surprise here... (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635249)

Nope; it's a BCM4318. The b43 driver is solid on sabayon, flaky as shit on ubuntu.

Re:No surprise here... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634585)

I will bet you just about any amount of money that the standard kernel for Vista doesn't detect that card. Yes, Windows has third-party drivers, but Windows relies on third-party drivers for everything, Linux does not.

Re:No surprise here... (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634633)

I'm just sayin'...I love Linux, Man. I'm with ya. But I haven't run it in quite some time due to the hoops I have to go through to get my wifi working only to have an update break it...using the same module. :(

Re:No surprise here... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634983)

'Quite some time' is significant. It might work very easily with the latest versions of Linux.

Re:No surprise here... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635227)

That's why there's OpenBSD - nothing compares, really. I still use Linux for some things, but wireless, security, innovation, documentation, etc. Linux just doesn't come anywhere near as close to OpenBSD.

Re:No surprise here... (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635447)

What's your wifi device?

Re:No surprise here... (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634741)

Vista ships with drivers for a lot of things on the disc, all the way back to RTM.

My BCM94311 works out of the box on Vista because Vista was released after that chip became common, hence MS probably demanded they be allowed to put the driver on the install disc.

Re:No surprise here... (5, Insightful)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635125)

This may be true, but which OS is handicapped by it?

The only advantage to Linux is the more frequent release schedule which allows it to stay current with drivers.

Every windows release has come with a fairly current and comprehensive driver list. Every device you can buy has a windows driver included with it.

Also of note is the influx of what you might call "Basic functionality" drivers for devices such as scanners and multifunction printers - often full feature drivers are not available for these devices even though they technically work on Linux.

Re:No surprise here... (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635157)

That's a really undersold benefit of Linux-as-we-know-it. Everything is built in, or can be found on the repositories in a way that makes Windows Update look amateurish.

Re:No surprise here... (2, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635439)

Do I still have to recompile the kernel to get that 3rd party driver to work in linux, or is that one solved?

Re:No surprise here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634617)

FWIW, cheap'n'cheerful wifi adapters are particularly notorious for using the same outward packaging and even model number yet having different parts inside. e.g. the extremely commonplace D-Link USB "DWL-G122" shipped with at least three different (though related, all ralink IIRC) actual wifi chipsets. Case looks the same (like a chunky USB-key), but you need to use somewhat different drivers with different revisions (A,B,C1,probably more).

You really need different drivers on windows too, it's just hidden because the adapter comes with the relevant windows drivers...

Re:No surprise here... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634903)

I saw this packaging problem completely stop what would have been a large enterprise rollout of Linux desktops. It caused a couple of jobs to be eliminated as well. Say what you want, but if a datacenter manager cannot specify a component by some sort of product ID and acquire a compatible component reliably, it won't happen.

I've reported this story many times, and have had people tell me that desktops "shouldn't" need wireless adapters. But the problem persists: What PCI wireless adapter do you specify, if your job depends on it?

Re:No surprise here... (1)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634701)

I'll remember that when Linux fails to ID my laptop's wifi adapter and the guy in #linuxhelp tells me, "Dude, I dunno...mine works!"

I'll remeber that when do the same for my windows box and get told same thing. My linksys WPC54G card comes to mind. It worked fine in linux but never ever was able to connect to encrypted or unencrypted networks in windows

Its called every system is different and that means its can really just be specific to you

Re:No surprise here... (0, Flamebait)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634931)

> I'll remember that when Linux fails to ID my laptop's wifi adapter and the guy in #linuxhelp tells me, "Dude, I dunno...mine works!"

That is rather amusing. I have the same response when I try to get my named-brand printer working ("sorry, text only"), or my midi keyboard, or my phone, or my iPod (classic, before you say `you can`), or my usb/psx joypad convertor...

Re:No surprise here... (2, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635319)

So the moral of the story is:

Don't buy shitty hardware.

Re:No surprise here... (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635491)

Is it an inkjet printer? Did it cost less than $150?
If so, it's likely crap. ;)

Re:No surprise here... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635239)

Flash.

Hardly anyone uses Flash, do they?

Re:No surprise here... (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635475)

Meh. The Adobe-supplied Firefox Flash plugin works almost all of the time, but is randomly crashy. /me weeps in frustration.

Re:No surprise here... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634579)

No Shit that is because windows supports third party software and drivers.

My wish: the Touchsmart system from HP (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635457)

Reading the article, I find a lot of enthusiasm from Greg Kroah-Hartman about how well the program has worked, saying that most hardware manufacturers come to his project to make sure that their hardware works with Linux: "Everything is supported by Linux. If you have a device that isn't supported by Linux that's being shipped today, let me know."

I'd like the touchscreen device (Touchsmart PC by HP) to be supported by Linux. That would be cool. The idea of Compiz Fusion on a touchscreen makes me drool.

Are you reading this, Greg? And if not, how do we get in touch with you, anyway? I can't find an email address in my (admittedly cursory) search of your web pages.

I don't know why, but we're doing something right. (2, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634437)

Has anyone here tried to get Windows or Mac or anything else running in a custom embedded environment?

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634511)

Like on an ARM processor? No one here, but Microsoft and Apple have done it many times over.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634517)

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634735)

Yes, I imagine you would have to have some source code to attempt such a feat for your own custom embedded system though right?

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (2, Informative)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634627)

The world of proprietary OS makes a strict division between desktop and embedded. For MS there's the CE packages. There is "embedded hardware" with XP and 98, but they're really miniaturised desktop motherboards.

I've seen CE in robotics and lab equipment (oscilloscopes, vector analysers, EMC measurement, ...). I've yet to encounter Linux in this world. I once asked the person responsible at my previous job about this and the answer was pretty simple: You pay a license, you get a service. With Linux you can't sue anyone if they fuck up. The Foss community sees this as a plus, but for these kind of applications the industry needs a lever in case things go bleep.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634671)

On the other hand, I work in medical research and you don't see any embedded Windows, or straight-out-of-the-box Linux. The reason? You need someone to take responsibility for the system. MS specifically says that Windows is not appropriate for use in critical systems.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634865)

I previously worked at a medical company that used windows 2000 on its surgery machines.

It controlled most of the UI, and the "important code" was done on embedded CAN, but there *was* a windows component.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635299)

Sure, you can use it for non-critical tasks. Most hospitals use it for viewing radiological images too. The difference is, that GUI had embedded code sitting there making sure nothing stupid happened. Some engineer had to sign off on that code certifying that it was safe, no matter what hijinks the Windows bit got up to.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (5, Interesting)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635019)

The equipment you're working with probably comes from companies like Barco, Agfa, Siemens, ... am I right ? The ones I saw in that field all ran proprietary software directly on the hardware or on a very thin proprietary OS. Which is why this equipment is so $-intensive (that, and medical research generally pays whatever bill you present them with).

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635335)

Among others.

One of the reasons it's so expensive is that some engineer has to sign to certify that it's safe. He's not going to do that unless it's tested. Well. For the lowest levels that can mean code that's proven correct. That takes a huge amount of time.

But when something goes wrong with those systems it often means a bit more than your usual Windows blue screen. Like that gamma knife that cooked a patient.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635463)

... or a beam of photons that overdosed a region of tissue.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634967)

>With Linux you can't sue anyone if they fuck up.

If that opinion is from your attorney, with the implication that Microsoft doesn't guarantee themselves total indemnity in their license to you, I strongly urge you to get another opinion, unless the false sense of security is what you're after.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (0)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635161)

I'm talking about leverage. Apart from a bug-report, posting on an ill-designed forum or wading through incomplete documentation you don't have much options with linux.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635441)

Wait, are you talking about MSDN?

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635133)

Its called buying support from the numerous companies that sell support

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (2, Interesting)

juiceboxfan (990017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635185)

I've seen CE in robotics and lab equipment (oscilloscopes, vector analysers, EMC measurement, ...). I've yet to encounter Linux in this world.

It has always amazed me how much test equipment manufactures have embraced windows. Even HP(Agilent) switched their logic analyzers from HP/UX to windows some time ago.

SONET testers are about the only [jdsu.com] exceptions [ixiacom.com] that I am aware of.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635429)

Not really that amazing. CE works pretty well, is Extremely cheap when compared to the cost of the device and comes with support contracts for getting things fixed and hence lowers their own support and development costs. People massively underestimate the costs in maintaining and supporting an OS for embedded devices, unless you have a crtical mass of devices to make it cost effective (that is usually a VERY large number considering costs of staff), those costs are usually better spent elsewhere and letting someone like microsoft have their piddly few dollars per device.

Re:I don't know why, but we're doing something rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635075)

"...or anything else running in a custom embedded environment?"

Piece of cake. I put OpenBSD on a 32MB Compact Flash on a Soekris box [soekris.com] frequently. And have even built a machine with a serial stepper motor controller and serial LCD screen to agitate BW film using this mobo and OpenBSD. OpenBSD had out-of-the-box support for the gpio header on the board that made it easy to make a Python module from the C source to read buttons and switches.

LEARN TO SPELL IF YOU TAG! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634443)

Could someone please tell me what retard keeps tagging with misspelled words? "!suprise", indeed!

Re:LEARN TO SPELL IF YOU TAG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634561)

Could someone please tell me what retard keeps tagging with misspelled words? "!suprise", indeed!

This spelling mistake is not surprising.

Re:LEARN TO SPELL IF YOU TAG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634907)

His name is George W Bush

New level of illiteracy? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634447)

How do you get a tag misspelled on a /. story??

More devices but... (2, Funny)

lxs (131946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634449)

Re:More devices but... (2, Funny)

thekm (622569) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634695)

the best path of success is to find the device that works best with linux at point of purchase. With that in mind, you clearly need one of these vibrators [ripnroll.com] ...

CTRON (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634491)

I know TRON was used in many japanese devices and still is used even today. The big difference between TRON and TRON and RtLinux is microseconds over milliseconds. About 5 years ago they finally "joined forces" [linuxdevices.com] .

I wonder what the suggested number of used OSs is when comparing the 2..

Re:CTRON (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634665)

The big difference between TRON and TRON and RtLinux is

yes, I did make some typo mistakes. Flame away!

Which OS is Any Other OS ? (1)

flak89 (809703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634501)

And NetBSD ?

Re:Which OS is Any Other OS ? (2, Insightful)

runlevelfour (1329235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634637)

There are a lot of "other" OS's out there. BSD (and all its derivatives) NIX (and its flavors as well) MAC Windows ...and a ton more that are either obscure or I simply have never heard of them. IMO Linux has come a LONG way in its driver support. Pretty impressive given the pedigrees of the established OSs listed above, props to the Kernel team and GNU/FSF project.

Re:Which OS is Any Other OS ? (0)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635343)

Weird, I've never heard of MAC - when did Media Access Controllers start running their own OS? Will wonders never cease!

Re:Which OS is Any Other OS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634711)

"Which OS is Any Other OS?"

Do you need help finding the "Any" key?

Functionality.. (-1, Troll)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634515)

"[One factor is] the ease of writing drivers; Linux drivers are at normally one-third smaller than Windows drivers "

Yeah because they have nowhere near the same level of functionality as the Windows ones.

Proper Linking Please (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634601)

Can we get proper links in the summaries. I expected the link in "He updates the free Linux driver program announced almost two years ago" (which I've bolded because underlining is filtered out) to point to the program's website [linuxdriverproject.org] rather than back to Slashdot.

If you want to link to Slashdot, then do it this way: "He updates the free Linux driver program announced almost two years ago [slashdot.org] "

Re:Proper Linking Please (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634737)

Yet another example of the irritating blog phenomenon of "reporting" on something without bothering to link back to the source.

A couple of weeks ago I found a project to control a remote control car with an iPhone. Last week someone was interested in doing something similar, so I did a quick Google search for it. In the intervening week dozens of blogs had parroted a description of the project and NOT ONE OF THEM had a link back to it.

I finally found the original, buried a couple of pages down.

Linux Story (2, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634631)

Upgraded my Ubuntu server from Feisty (7.04) to Hardy (8.04). The path to Hardy includes Gutsy (7.10). The series of apt-get dist-upgrades went well...then I tried to run apache2. Error:

symbol lookup error: /usr/lib/libxml2.so.2: undefined symbol: gzopen64

I googled...turns out it doesn't remove an old libz file...certain things still refer to it. /usr/local/libz.so.1.2.3.3 is the right one, while the links in /usr/local/lib/ point to /usr/local/lib/libz.so.1.2.3 which is the wrong one. Copy the former into the latter, redo the links, everything's hunky dory.

I think the difference here between Windows and Linux is that I wouldn't have upgraded Windows...I would have reinstalled (going from 2000 to 2003, for example).

Re:Linux Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635029)

Why is this modded interesting? Why not just reinstall linux then, if that's what you'd do for windows?

Re:Linux Story (2, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635067)

Nothing to do with drivers. :P

No clue about Ubuntu but Gentoo not only detects breakages such as that but can also prevent anything bad from happening until its fixed.
Not sure why Ubuntu left the old version.

Posted from a 4 or 5 year old Gentoo install.
Updates are smooth. :)

Re:Linux Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635281)

Gentoo, although maybe not significantly faster, is the only system I found that does not collect clutter and still doesn't feel old after a few years in use (while being up to date). Packaging is really clean (uninstall, a-la-carte select the features you want in your app), and the compiling isn't that bad after the initial install. Most important thing for a system isn't that it can scale up, but down too.
Enough distro-bashing for today ... for me at least.

Re:Linux Story (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635479)

Except when it doesn't. That 'secret sauce' is powerful stuff, but Debian has a rather different approach to package management.

Now try getting the same set of libraries twice running on a gentoo box, as the compiler changes behind your back.

Re:Linux Story (4, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635091)

Any files in /usr/local were provided by you, not Ubuntu. I have apache2 installed here on my Ubuntu box, and my /usr/local/lib directory is empty. Debian policy (which Ubuntu is based on) reserves /usr/local 100% for the local admin, and forbids packages from putting anything in that hierarchy except empty directories. (See section 9.1.2 [debian.org] .)

Or to put it another way, no, /usr/local/libz.so.1.2.3.3 is not the "right" one. It's another wrong one that happens to be working for you. For now. The right one is /usr/lib/libz.so.1.2.3.3. Next time you upgrade, that /usr/local version is going to bite you in the ass again.

Ubuntu can do a fine job of updating itself, but it's hardly going to be able to upgrade 3rd-party software you installed manually, now, is it?

(Windows is a different case, of course, since Windows doesn't come with any useful software in the first place.) :)

Re:Linux Story (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635105)

This was always a concern of mine with binary distros. "DLL Hell" - Linux-style. It's never been as bad for me with RH or SuSE as it ever was for Windows, but my paranoia showed through, and I eventually made my switch to Gentoo. Funny thing is, I get mismatched libraries far more often, but I also upgrade software far more often. However, there is a simple fix: revdep-rebuild. Look for libraries and executables that are missing their libraries and rebuild, which should get them linked against the new library.

Knowing there is a way out was a significant comfort in going to Gentoo. I was never convinced that RH would catch it all. Apparently, neither can Ubuntu. Granted, it's a *hard* problem that isn't easily solvable in a binary distribution.

What about inbetween? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634635)

So there's drivers for the tiniest of machines and largest of machines. What about the stuff in the middle?

I'm still waiting for some proper ATi/AMD graphics drivers.

Re:What about inbetween? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635379)

Well, if you have complaints about ATI support than you get to
lay that at the feet of the hardware vendor since they are
responsible for the rather dismal drivers in Linux.

It's not like ATI's name hasn't bene MUD in the Linux community
since pretty much the dawn of time...

He lies! (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634649)

Drivers do not get maintained for ever. I've been around long enough to see several drivers unmaintained and eventually dropped. And saying there's a new driver that supports the newer X and is supposed to be backwards compat with the older X, is all too often not entirely true -- sure, there's the qla driver from Qlogic, and it's supposed to support 2100's, but every 2100 I've ever tried (and that's dozens) has locked up using qla2100 while the old -- dropped several years ago -- qlogicfc driver works perfectly. (and based on conversations with qlogic engineers looking into the issue... they haven't had any 2100's for years.)

Re:He lies! (4, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634755)

Drivers do get dropped, usually when they're old enough that no kernel developer actually has access to the hardware, and nobody has submitted patches for years.

Drivers can also be added back in if someone feels like cleaning it up and making it work with a new kernel.

About as original as celebrity baby names (-1, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634677)

I feel like this patent is talking down to me, treating me like a 5 year old...

Now children, let's see what we're learning about today...

- Sunday Roast I mean err Sunday Rose is a girl, with a celebrity twit for a mum. So is Apple.

- Sidney is a boy, but Sydney is a girl (and Australia's busiest city, with a poor public transport system)

Since names are already associated with a gender, and the avatar's look is associated with a gender, what exactly is original here? Connecting the two? IP has gone insane!!!

Re:About as original as celebrity baby names (3, Funny)

styrotech (136124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634987)

You look lost - don't be afraid to ask for directions. I think the patent story is two blocks that way...

Re:About as original as celebrity baby names (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635101)

I'm sorry I've looked two blocks that way and all I found was saracasm.

Re:About as original as celebrity baby names (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635399)

Sorry, this is 13A, Abuse. You want Spelling Corrections down the hall to the right.

Stupid git.

YMMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634789)

If you have any:

ATI mobile graphics
Broadcom (tons of laptops)
Linksys USB network adapters

Vista will work and Linux (including Ubuntu 8.10) will not or will not work fully/properly. However I found that most distros support more hardware by default than Windows does so this article really doesn't surprise me

Re:YMMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634929)

ATI: if it doesn't work out of box, there is binary driver (also in repos), or even radeonhd for 2D.

Broadcom: just download the firmware with b43-fwcutter (or ndiswrapper if this fails)

Linksys: probably ndiswrapper, but don't know more

So, although not out-of-box, it can be made to work with Linux. And then there are commercial drivers from linuxant for some hardware.

Re:YMMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635173)

But all of those things work right away after installing Vista, no configuration needed. And if you have a mobile ATI chipset, forget about compositing under Linux (either doesn't work, or works far too slow/buggy to be usable). ATI x1100 for example works fine with Aero but not Compiz.

Re:YMMV (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635255)

Now try to put that wireless in monitor mode or host mode on a Windows box to make a wireless access point, layer 2 radio to copper bridge or wireless sniffer.

Drivers/embedded (3, Informative)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634819)

There are more drivers because embedded hardware needs drivers to run hardware. You need a driver for your i2c bus. You need a driver to control that LCD panel on your linux-based PDA device. It's like comparing apples with oranges. Windows simply hasn't penetrated into the embedded market like Linux has.

I still don't have Linux support for my creative express card sound device and it is supported on windows.

Re:Drivers/embedded (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635195)

I seem to have I2C drivers up and running on both my old P4 desktop and my new laptop.

lm_sensors uses it.
All the temp readings and voltages are over I2C.
Uses the same code as the embedded devices.

Having done this analysis before... (2, Interesting)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25634829)

I know the data can be very misleading. The average Windows Machine has about 87 devices on it, the majority of which are supported by class drivers (hard drives, chipsets, processors, etc).

In the Windows world, almost all display devices are covered by VGA.sys - so the device has a driver, but is the user experience good?

Also, what is considered a unique device? Most hard drives have a unique identification string, but they are all supported by a null driver. By just supporting a generic hard drive, you have covered close to 40% of the unique devices on the market. If you bias this towards market presence, this gets even more ambiguous. An extremely high percentage of the popular devices on the market are chipset devices - boring things that you just expect to work.

The information about device support metrics only becomes interesting when it applies to less popular devices. Peripherals like printers, scanners, networking, display devices running on full functionality are really the only thing worth measuring - and this is very difficult to do.

partial functionallity doesn't count. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25634965)

sure the hardware may work, but only partially.

eg. i can't get my hp dc5800 (2007 desktop) with a nvidia quadro nv290 (2006 video card) working in dual-head mode with 1 portrait mode monitor in ubuntu 8.10, while i can in windows 2008 "workstation".

Doing What Right? (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635253)

"I mean Linux is 80% of the world's top 500 super computers right now and we're also the number one embedded operating system today. We've got both sides of the market because it's -- yeah it's pretty amazing. I don't know why, but we're doing something right."

Sure they've got a huge percentage of the smallest markets out there. For all that they are missing 99% of the desktop market primarily because noone has matured the desktop Linux OS to anywhere near the point where Windows is, let alone MacOS. Windows has matured to the point it is largely because of the architecture of being the base for further development and applications. Linux has tried to be the one stop shop by including everything you need. I don't think it will succeed on the desktop until they stop trying to make everything part of the OS. Mac only succeeds with this business model because of good marketing and a limited hardware selection to write for and support.

XvMC ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25635295)

Yo, penguins, where is the XvMC ?

Just because a "driver" exists, doesn't mean
it works properly, or has the features you need.

Just a dumb user . . . (5, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635297)

but I moved to Ubuntu anyway a few years back when M$ started turning off purchased, but unregistered, copies of Office. So I had my share of issues back in the day.

A while ago I was helping somebody get some software running and printing under Windows, and . . . gawd! . . . they had to install a driver. It's been a couple of years since I had to do anything so primitive. Everything just works.

That's when it finally dawned on me that the times they are a'changin.

too much back patting (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635347)

all this back patting linux people give themselfs blinds them to the obvious failings it has. Does anyone really believe linux has better device support than windows? linux failed on 2 of my laptops and i know plenty of people who have given up on wifi. cry all you want about "bad" hardware and vendors who don't release specs, it doesn't make linux anymore attractive.

Drivers (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25635445)

Yes, but a lot of mainstream hardware still doesn't have drivers. IE, the MinTV Digital Tuner Card I bought yesterday which the salesman *assured* me ran Linux, but actually didn't.

Returning that today, and yes they will know why...

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