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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Motherboard Manufacturers?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the soldering-iron-and-a-chunk-of-silicon dept.

Linux 352

dotancohen writes "I am tasked with building a few Linux machines for a small office. However, many the currently available motherboards seem to be Linux-hostile. For instance, in addition to the whole UEFI issue, my last install was a three-day affair due to the motherboard reporting a Linux-supported ethernet device (the common RTL8168) while it was actually using a GbE Ethernet device that does not work with the legacy drivers and didn't even work with a test Windows 7 install until the driver disk was installed. There are no current hardware compatibility lists for Debian or Ubuntu and I've received from Asus and Gigabyte the expected reply: No official Linux support, install Windows for best experience. I even turned to the two large local computer vendors, asking if they could provide Linux-compatible machines ready to go, but neither of them would be of any help. What globally-available motherboards or motherboard manufacturers can you recommend today?"

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Raspberry Pi (3, Funny)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#42411779)

I heard the Raspberry Pi is very Linux compatible, in fact it doesn't even run Windows.

Re:Raspberry Pi (-1, Offtopic)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year ago | (#42411813)

Get a retina Macbook or an iPad, Apple's hardware quality is superb.

Re:Raspberry Pi (5, Informative)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#42411867)

"I am tasked with building a few Linux machines for a small office." I'm not sure how much your labor is worth but you can buy a built server on the cheap ($599).

http://www.dell.com/ca/business/p/poweredge-t110-2/pd [dell.com]

Operating System

        Microsoft® Windows® Small Business Server 2011
        Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 Foundation R2 SP1
        Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 SP2, x86/x64 (x64 includes Hyper-V)
        Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 R2 SP1, x64 (includes Hyper-V v2)
        Novell® SUSE® Linux® Enterprise Server
        Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®

Re:Raspberry Pi (5, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#42411909)

"...my last install was a three-day affair due to the motherboard reporting a Linux-supported ethernet device (the common RTL8168) while it was actually using a GbE Ethernet device that does not work with the legacy drivers"

So how much money did this journey save the company? Just slap in an intel card and be done with it for f's sake! Then it will support proper VLANs, jumbo frames and probably just work smoother than some cheap onboard NIC anyways.

Re:Raspberry Pi (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42412009)

...or just buy from a Linux vendor.

Re:Raspberry Pi (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412145)

...or just install a real OS.

Re:Raspberry Pi (5, Insightful)

aergern (127031) | about a year ago | (#42412373)

Stop being a troll. You know full and well that Linux is the server of choice for most large sites. Moron.

Re:Raspberry Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412437)

We're already talking about Linux you chucklefuck.

Re:Raspberry Pi (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year ago | (#42412505)

...or just install a real OS.

I know that you're trolling, but there is definitely a push to just 'install Windows' due to the lack of a viable motherboard. If I were a weaker man, and there are plenty of weaker men, installing Windows would be the 'solution'.

Re:Raspberry Pi (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about a year ago | (#42412479)

So how much money did this journey save the company?

Submitter here. The three-day affair was my mother-in-law's machine, not a work machine. I agree that just throwing the motherboard in the trash and starting over with a known-good board would have been better, but the fact remains that there are no known-good boards anymore. Hence, this Ask Slashdot question.

Re:Raspberry Pi (3, Insightful)

tobiasly (524456) | about a year ago | (#42412309)

I'm not sure how much your labor is worth but you can buy a built server on the cheap ($599).

Plus you'll be supporting a vendor who "officially" supports Linux. It looks like Dell has their motherboards custom-made by Intel, which is another open-source-friendly company.

If Asus and Gigabyte don't want your money, then don't give it to them.

Re:Raspberry Pi (5, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#42412041)

Theyre also several times their component cost, and horribly cost-ineffective if you are throwing OSX out the window.

Intel chipsets tend to be supported very well. Generally if you want to know compatibility, dont look @ "is this motherboard supported", just look at whether:
  * The northbridge is supported
  * The southbridge is supported
  * The NICs are supported

Generally Intel stuff is VERY well supported, and GENERALLY year-old chips are supported fairly well. Try to stay away from brand new stuff unless youve done the research to make sure the kernel supports it. Googling something like "Linux support RTL8187" or "linux support P77" should give you some ideas. I wouldnt sweat it too much tho, just pilot one machine and if it goes well roll the config out.

Im not super clear on why UEFI would cause a big issue for a Linux install, but I also havent paid that much attention to it. I have an ASUS UEFI mobo, and I believe it had an option to pretend to be a normal BIOS or something, though Im using Win8 and havent really messed with it.

Re:Raspberry Pi (3, Interesting)

gradinaruvasile (2438470) | about a year ago | (#42412281)

Also, look out for the audio codecs. Some dont work well with older kernels and ALSA. I have a Gigabyte F2A85X-D3H mobo with A8-5500 APU and i run Debian Testing on it. The stock 3.2 kernel gives an oops at startup and i have no sound. The 3.6 kernel however works just fine. And check the video drivers availability and stability if the board/CPU/APU has built in graphics. For example. Intel has the "best" open source driver support in theory. In practice, for the moment the latest Intel video card drivers are not good (the good stuff is in the latest dev versions and takes quite a bit of time until they trickle down in the stable kernels used by distributions).

Re:Raspberry Pi (0)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#42412103)

Except Macs have odd keyboards that are missing keys such as PgUp, PgDn, Home, End, Del/Backspace and have a special "flower power" key which does nothing on Linux.
Note: I know that you can remap the keyboard and use special keyboard key combinations for these missing keys but this does not substitute for having an actual key.

Re:Raspberry Pi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412105)

and how much support do you think apple will provide to set up and run a non macOS operating system (i.e. linux)? hmmm??? zilch. zero. nada.

get off the fucking bandwagon, will ya? and next time read the fucking post, too, eh?

Re:Raspberry Pi (5, Insightful)

tonywestonuk (261622) | about a year ago | (#42411819)

Commenting to remove crap moderation! Pfff....Slashdot, why cant I change my mind!

Re:Raspberry Pi (3, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#42412123)

Because it is a well known fact that forces recrut on /. to pilot drone. You can't change your mind after firing at something. Hence, it is part of the training.

Fuck off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411785)

Linux is nothing but an Amazon advert these days and Gnome and KDE are fighting over which buttons to remove than to write hardqware drivers. Join Windows 8 like the FP trolls use.

Re:Fuck off (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42411997)

So you're saying that Windows 8 is fast enough to get the First Post every time? Are you sure you don't work for Microsoft marketing?

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412451)

Wow. Looks like 2011 was the year of the Linux desktop.


Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411787)

I want FREE mobos !! None of this commercial, capitalist, boozewhaheez shit !! FREE, as in beer !!


Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411875)

I hope you meant bourgeoisie [wikipedia.org] !

Intel? (5, Informative)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about a year ago | (#42411793)

Aren't just plain Intel boards, with Intel NICs and Intel HD graphics supposed to be 'out of the box' open source friendly?

Re:Intel? (4, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42411853)

Or just search Google. The reviews on sites like Newegg or Amazon might also indicate Linux friendliness or just the general level of quality. Then there are sites like Phoronix.

In other words: Just search Google. It's not 1996.

Someone mentioned System76. There's also Zareason.

Once again: Just search Google. It's not 1996.

Re:Intel? (2)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | about a year ago | (#42411881)

Agreed. I normally end up with an Asus workstation board with an Intel NIC chipset and it's always worked out fine.. and your point is well taken. I vetted it through Google (and Newegg's customer feedback) before pulling the trigger.

Re:Intel? (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#42411955)

Actually, in 1996 you would have gotten good results for this question from Google. Sure it was an infant, but guess who used it and what they ran it on? Linux was there too.

Re:Intel? (5, Interesting)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42411971)

Back in 1996 it was extremely simple to search for motherboard reviews and compatability. It's now 2012 and the web is overrun with crappy sites and crappy reviews. Smart people would rather get direct answers from 'qualified' people then wade through piles of garbage, it's not like it's 1996!

Re:Intel? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412359)

Smart people would rather get direct answers from 'qualified' people then wade through piles of garbage
So they asked Slashdot? LOLZZZZzz!!!!oneoneone!!!

Re:Intel? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412423)

Smart people would also know how to spell "than".

Re: Search Google? (1)

GrantRobertson (973370) | about a year ago | (#42412247)

Pardon me, but you do not "search" Google. You use Google to do a search.

It's like saying, "I need some groceries, so I am going to drive to my car."

And the other responses are correct. SEO and fraudulent reviews didn't exist in 1996. I can no longer count all the times all the reviews for a product said it was good, until just about the time the one I bought started F'ing up. Then suddenly all the reviews are bad. In some ways the internet is worse than the wild west because in the wild west you didn't have ten-thousand people lying to you and trying to steal your money, all at the same time.

Re: Search Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412413)

That would be the case for the phrase "search for Google". Saying "search Google" would mean that Google is what you're searching through, not what you're searching for.

Re:Intel? (3, Informative)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#42411919)

My office exclusively uses Intel motherboards (for SecureBIOS) and I have yet to have any compatibility issues with Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, RHEL5, and CentOS.

Re:Intel? (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about a year ago | (#42412495)

Agreed. I have yet to see an Intel board cause any real problems beyond "this driver has issues" sort of stuff that you might get with anything. I think once I had to install a kernel with NOAPIC set for some obscure reason, years ago.

Re:Intel? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412011)

>Aren't just plain Intel boards, with Intel NICs and Intel HD graphics supposed to be 'out of the box' open source friendly?

Given that we always first bring up new boards and silicon with an in-house linux build, yes.

Re:Intel? (1)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about a year ago | (#42412471)

I agree! Having worked at Intel for a few years, I can tell you that all Intel *server* mobos are thoroughly tested with Linux. Can;t swear to the same thing for desktop mobos, but any Intel server mobo should work perfectly.

system 76 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411809)

I have heard good things about system 76

Hardware to support software? (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#42411823)

Isn't the software suppose to support the hardware?

Re:Hardware to support software? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42411935)

When vendors don't publish drivers or specs how is that supposed to happen?

Hardware is dime a dozen these days. If I can't run the OS I want on it, I will not buy it.

Re:Hardware to support software? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42412021)

Yes, but more often than not the best (or only) way to get the drivers that allows software to support hardware is from the hardware vendor itself.

I hate jews (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411827)

ashkenazi jews are the scum of the earth and need to be brutally exterminated. I would personally like to also be involved in their extermination.

MS controls the purse strings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411837)

If Microsoft demands it, motherboard makers will fall in line in order to stay in business.

This probably also signals the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

Mighty empires always fall.

Re:MS controls the purse strings (3, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#42412135)

If Microsoft demands it, motherboard makers will fall in line in order to stay in business.

This probably also signals the beginning of the end of Microsoft.

Mighty empires always fall.

There's wholesale motherboards and retail motherboards. Wholesale motherboards are mostly destined for name-brand computers where MS-Windows will be pre-bundled.

However, when you buy retail, I'd venture that a lot of those motherboards have to be Linux-friendly, because Windows doesn't come "free" with them the way it does with mass-market computers and therefore I'd expect a much higher percentage of such motherboards to be destined for non-Windows machines, and since I have grave doubts about them becoming Apple machines, that leaves Linux as pretty much the largest market left.

In any event, so far Asus, Shuttle, MSI and BioStar have all worked fairly well for me. Occasionally an integrated peripheral will be problematic, but as far as it goes, I really wouldn't expect top-of-the-line integrated peripheral support from a retail mobo even on Windows. Especially considering what the Windows device driver development process has become.

Easy (5, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#42411841)

I have yet to try a motherboard which is not Linux-friendly in recent years. Every single server board I have ever tried has worked flawlessly. Every true hardware RAID controller (be it integrated or PCI-X, PCI-E, or PCI) has been supported natively, and software/hybrid/fakeraid controllers have always been supported in JBOD mode. Integrated Intel or Matrox video works fine.

Workstation/desktop boards? Aside from bluetooth, wifi, or weird video chipsets, they are supported fine. Ethernet ports used to require some tweaking (especially for Marvell controllers) but even those enjoy good support. If you want a good, fast board check out the GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB

As far as UEFI is concerned - if you run 32-bit RHEL/CentOS/Scientific Linux, you won't be able to boot the 32-bit disc with UEFI enabled, but why would you forgo the flat memory space of a 64-bit board now that RAM is dirt cheap? Boot 64-bit disc and it works just fine. I have UEFI enabed on my GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB and it is fully supported out of the box by OpenSUSE and both Centos and RHEL 6.3. It's more work to get full support in Linux, actually, because the Linux install Just Works(TM). To boot Windows 7, I had to make a Windows 7 USB key. It booted 64-bit Linux just fine.

If you have to ask... (2, Funny)

MrSavage (2127458) | about a year ago | (#42411851)

...whether a motherboard is Linux friendly on Slashdot, I would put down your hammer and step away from the computer you are trying to build.

Just do a little research. (3, Insightful)

dills (102733) | about a year ago | (#42411855)

It's all about chipsets. Figure out what chipset a given motherboard has, do a few googles, and you'll likely have your answers.

I have no problem with either of the manufacturers that you mentioned. Were you perhaps trying to do an AMD solution? I'd just stick with Intel chips and chipsets at this point in the game.

Re:Just do a little research. (1)

ruir (2709173) | about a year ago | (#42412065)

I second this. If you want to use vmware, XEN, KVM, or god forbids, Hyper-V, youd better choose Intel rather than AMD.

Re:Just do a little research. (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year ago | (#42412157)

I've bought about 2 dozen Asus AMD motherboards, and they all work fine in Linux.

dotancohen is just too lazy to do a little research, so instead he's looking for the impossible: a hardware manufacturer that needs to sell millions of units, but no matter how in demand a chipset or feature is, will refuse to release the product without Linux drivers.. a manufacturer who would turn away 95% of his customers (by not releasing a product) because 2% of them won't be able to use it.

Here's an Idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411861)

...build your machines using a real OS, like Windows 7.

I'd say whatever type of pussy Apple is calling their OS these days, but they'd sue you into the ground.

Pick motherboard candidates (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411863)

Find a few candidates based on your desired CPU, reviews, and other features. Then check their reviews on Newegg.

dont (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411871)

Buy per built workstations from eBay. Dell precision usually works out well

Supermicro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411873)

Supermicro is a good option.

Get your head out of your ass! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411891)

Just buy Windows and get over it!

use a system vendor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411903)

System76.com have already done the research for you.

Or, more general vendors such as Dell, super micro, IBM, etc. all sell Linux specific models.

This MB worked (4, Informative)

future assassin (639396) | about a year ago | (#42411915)

I just built an HTPC and this is what I used for my mb/cpu

MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 mATX FM2 A75 DDR3 1PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 1PCI SATA3 HDMI DVI USB3.0 Motherboard
AMD A8-5600K APU Quad Core Processor Socket FM2 3.2GHZ 4MB 100W Retail Box

works fine here right out of the box with no BIOS settings. I have Linux Mint 14 Mate running on it. The only issue I had was getting audio over HDMI but for some reason downloading and installing the AMD propitiatory drivers wouldn't install Catalyst. I had to go and install the CCC through the package manager. Reboot and audio over HDMI worked.

If you want to stick to the open source drivers and want to have sound over HDMI (if it doesn't work) try this

Edit to /etc/default/grub and add




To make it look like this
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash radeon.audio=1"

Haven't tried it with my HTPC but did it with my sons laptop. Also with the laptop I had to disable two settings in the BIOS and create an EFI partition but the install of Linux Mint 14 KDE went smoothly an games seem to be running good with the open source drivers.

Canonical does have a compatible/certified list (3, Informative)

agoliveira (188870) | about a year ago | (#42411921)

http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/ [ubuntu.com] shows desktops and servers classified by vendor, distro, etc

Re:Canonical does have a compatible/certified list (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412093)

Mod up. Ubuntu is at the sufficiently dumbed-down level needed for the idiot asker. Slashdot has really gone downhill that the modern-day Linux user is now dumber than the average Windoze granny.

What? (3, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#42411923)

due to the motherboard reporting a Linux-supported ethernet device (the common RTL8168) while it was actually using a GbE Ethernet device that does not work with the legacy drivers and didn't even work with a test Windows 7 install until the driver disk was installed.

Model and manufacturer, please! Sounds like bullshit to me.

Re:What? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42412005)

Sounds like Dell to me... unless you're talking about not working without drivers under windows 7, then it sounds like every motherboard I've had experience with :)

It's about components on the board (1)

DrHappyAngry (1373205) | about a year ago | (#42411941)

You really need to look past the motherboard as a whole and more at the components that make it up. Going all Intel should give you a really compatible set up. You do have to really read the specs to find out which NIC(s) the board uses, but an intel one should work great. I have had a bit of a caveat with some distros like centos on the newer intel NICs. There's an alternate driver called e1000e that will work stably with those. Distros that use newer kernels, like ubuntu should default to the e1000e driver on those, though. The problem I had with the older 1000e driver was the interface would lock up after a few days, but it was certainly good enough to get online and do initial setup and add the repo where I could get the e1000e driver.

Re:It's about components on the board (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42411989)

You should really be getting intel NICs pretty much no matter what. Dell sells them as an additional cost for a reason. The reason being broadcom sucks.

Try MSI's Mainboards... (1)

Eyeballs (64172) | about a year ago | (#42411945)

They _come_ with a Linux distro called 'Winki 3'.
For an example, see: http://us.msi.com/product/mb/Z77A-G45-Thunderbolt.html

I switched to Intel boards (2)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#42411953)

I've used Tyan (although my last one was a dual P3), Gigabyte and Asus and I finally just switched to Intel boards, primarily to not have to ever use a Realtek (aka Realdreck) ethernet chipset again.

My Gigabyte and Asus boards used Realtek ethernet chipsets and they were total shit, both at the hardware level and at the software level. I ended up buying Intel cards and disabling/uninstalling the Realtek shit as much as possible.

Now I just buy Intel boards and get a decent Intel NIC, although Intel can be a PITA about releasing server OS drivers for what they call "consumer" NICs. The side benefit has been less weird shit and documentation in better English.

Intel boards may not be great "values" (relative to maximum features or overclockability) but they have always been super stable and worked right.

Save yourself some trouble... (3, Insightful)

dclozier (1002772) | about a year ago | (#42411965)

I have found that building such systems myself will end up costing a bit more because I cherry pick better components all around when less powerful options would have sufficed. If this is for an office setup and you're the one that's going to end up doing support for them then you'll want to know what's inside. If you can afford it though it would be better to pass this support issue over to someone else that's already doing desktop linux like System76 - Desktops [system76.com] .

how? (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | about a year ago | (#42411967)

How did you succeed in finding incompatible hardware?
I recently built an FM2 system around an Abit F2A85X-UP4 without any issues.
Flawless migration from my previous box (ga-ma770-ds3 & AMD 9550).
Open source radeon video driver w/ 3D accelleration.
No chips that are not working.

Re:how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412073)

Abit? Lol dead for years. You meant Gigabyte.

Re:how? (1)

Lluc (703772) | about a year ago | (#42412165)

Abit still exists??? I remember them from back in the 440BX days with the original P3 CPUs, but I haven't heard that name in ages!

Asus works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42411983)

I have built several Linux boxes over the years and had no problem with ASUS. Raspberry Pi is cheap but sloooow.

Buy pre-installed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412013)

Why not buy Linux pre-installed on a machine? Dell, HP, System76 and a number of other places sell Linux pre-installed. Sometimes the cost is slightly higher, but i think it is probably worth it considering all the time you are apparently spending trying to get generic solutions working.

try google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412043)

'linux friendly motherboards'

Op is just being lazy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412045)

Here's what I found without looking too hard:

http://www.ecs.com.tw/extra/event/intel/program0508.html ..and pretty much any Intel OEM/retail board will do you fine too.

Generally speaking (and I'm sure there's exceptions to this that others will point out), when it comes to the integrated NIC if you stick to something that uses an Intel PHY you should be fine. Not only do they perform better than most Realtek PHY's but they're better supported by most distros too.

The problem isn't the systemboard. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412051)

The problem is that you're trying to run a third rate OS on it.

Result of Linus middle finger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412075)

This is what we get for being hostile to the hardware manufactures themselves. There is really no technical reason why hardware makers wouldn't write linux drivers for all their equipment. The motherboard has little to do with this problem and more the chipsets they choose. Virtually every linux install I do has problems like this many of which require bizarre setting changes...don't even get me going on audio.

This is the result of open source ideology. I don't need open source drivers for my sound card. I just need a driver. And there is no reason that a driver written for 2.2 shouldn't work with 1000000.2. If someone takes the time to write an open source version of the driver great, but why won't the zeolots let me the end user decide how I feel about open source vs closed on "my" hardware.

Can we not create a translation layer that could bind to closed source drivers? If the open source drivers have to come with a map to each function so be it. And honestly the driver just needs to work for a few years. If I was running a company with super low margins I just wouldn't want to take on the extra liability of having source code out there for people to crap on. Can we not create a Linux driver SDK like Windows has. MS for all their faults is much nicer to people spending real money making hardware. Heck if we wrote and maintained frameworks for these companies they might actually prefer Linux as most of the work had been done for them.

There is no reason why Linux should always be the last to get good support for new things like Thunderbolt etc.

Re:Result of Linus middle finger (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42412325)

Thunderbolt SUCKS right now. Its incredibly overpriced and there are precious few companies making the stuff. Thunderbolt is stillborn.

Make a Windows system your bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412091)

What I mean is that once you've found a decent vendor for your motherboard, you are going to have to flash the BIOS to the latest version, verify that all the pieces of the motherboard work, etc. Sometimes these processes are difficult to do on Linux.

Make 1 system a standalone Windows 7 box (don't use 8 unless you are nuts). Really, you are dedicating a hard drive to install Windows 7 onto. Load all your update files, test apps, etc. here and verify that each mobo is brought up to a consistent spec.

Checklists are your friend

Doing this will help you harmonize (or homogenize) your environment and make sure that hardware works independent from software issues.

Re:Make a Windows system your bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412257)

...or alternatively, make one system a dual-boot with a small partition for testing drivers etc. Make the default boot the Linux partition of course.

Not able to find complete systems? (1)

gQuigs (913879) | about a year ago | (#42412097)

Dell will sell you Ubuntu machines preloaded (give them a call, ignore their website). I personally like System76 and ZaReason, but there are many others..
http://linuxpreloaded.com/ [linuxpreloaded.com]

Elitist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412117)

You should know better than asking a question like this. Sadly, Slashdot has become similar to many of the Linux forums - full of elitist snobs and trolls, basically small boys hiding in their mother's basements mustering up the courage that they don't have in real life. Clearly Slashdot is only for answering big-boy, serious, industry-related questions, and nothing at all to do with gathering the opinion of experienced professionals.

Re:Elitist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412177)

My mom calls me a big boy when she comes down into the basement to give me my bi-daily handjob.

-Average Linux user

Off the shelf dell desktops? (1)

L473ncy (987793) | about a year ago | (#42412205)

My school uses off the shelf Vostro desktops with Xeon processors. They run CentOS no problem.

Suggest you find a better local shop (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | about a year ago | (#42412213)

My local shop would build me what I asked them to, and it would work.

They've got people who know what each week's new motherboards can and can't do - there's no way I could keep up with that.

Of course manually built-to-order is slightly more expensive than buying commodity-boxes-designed-for-Windows off the shelf, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Re:Suggest you find a better local shop (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year ago | (#42412303)

I second this. A local clone manufacturer has invaluable experience in this matter. I know I did when I built systems for a living. We can't all be expected to keep up with what's new, but someone who does it day in and day out is going to give you some really good information.

hmm (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#42412223)

Intel branded boards seem like a reasonably good bet to work. If this is for an office you won't care about the lack of overclocking features.

AVADirect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412227)

You might want to check out avadirect.com. I bought my last laptop from them a couple of years ago with Ubuntu installed. They have a DIY area, and I suspect they'd help you figure out what will work.

Test and/or compromise (1)

FridayBob (619244) | about a year ago | (#42412229)

For years I've been using Asus motherboards and have never had any major problems. Perhaps some of the reasons for this are that I never go for the flagship models and/or the latest chipsets, never expect everything to work and am always willing to compromise. By the latter I mean in particular that I often end up adding things like sound cards when the Linux kernel I'm using (usually not the latest version) doesn't include support for the one on the motherboard. Graphics cards? Never expect too much or buy separately.

For business solutions that I will be purchasing in bulk, always test first: you may be surprised how well it works, and if not at least you'll learn what to avoid. Just don't take too long testing, because products often disappear from the market before you know it (especially the cheaper boards).

Reviews? I usually don't bother, but I don't think that makes me lazy, since I figure there's usually not a lot to choose from anyway. If I was always to limit myself only to those motherboards that were 100% compatible, that would probably limit my choice too much. It's worth more to me to be able to select what I want based on the hardware specifications alone (the most important ones; not all the bells and whistles).

Asus P8H77 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42412263)

Built a couple of Ubuntu 10.04 systems with an Asus P8H77-I ($99), using the on-board graphics. Works great, no BS

Re:Asus P8H77 (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42412339)

I have that board and the Z77 variant. Both run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS flawlessly, save for Bluetooth. I even pulled the OS drive out of one and popped it in the other and it worked just fine.

what? (3, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#42412447)

how the hell do you make such a huge mountain out of a molehill?

AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Realtech, VIA

all have been supported in linux as system chipsets for a long fucking time, where the hell are you getting these crackhead mobos you speak of?

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