Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 28th Oct 2007 03:48 UTC
Linux "I recently read this article about how the Linux device driver project needs more work to do. I pondered this for awhile, and came to a realization. While Linux still does indeed lack drivers for some hardware, I believe that the lack of drivers is no longer the largest technological obstacle to Linux adoption. The thing Linux needs to focus mostly on now is completeness, not quantity, of hardware support." Read on.
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RE[6]: Vista needs drivers
by TemporalBeing on Mon 29th Oct 2007 20:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Vista needs drivers"
TemporalBeing
Member since:
2007-08-22

Fact is, MS in conjunction with the hardware companies put a lot of work into already including drivers for old devices, and where they didn't get around to it, most of the hardware companies themselves did (unless you bought some no-name cheapo piece of junk in which case what did you expect for product support).

Microsoft may do that with some, but not all. For example, my nVidia Lightspeed 128 (Riva128 chipset) has current Linux 2.6 kernel support, but has not had good support for Windows since Windows '95/98 when the manufacturer provided drivers; even Microsoft's WinME implementation didn't provide what I had under Win95. Forget about trying to put it in Win2k or WinXP, let along Vista.

Fact is, the F/OSS communities drivers are there and for the most part stay around and remain updated. Where as in the Microsoft world - as with any proprietary OS - the drivers fade away as soon as the manufacturer thinks they can get away with it - usually 2 to 3 years after release, or one or two supported OS releases away. (E.g. Released for Win2k, Supported in WinXP, no longer supported in Vista.) That is a pretty typical thing in the Windows world - hardware and software.


The reason that you are (thankfully) wrong is that the hardware companies know that they will have millions of complaining angry customers if their products don't work on the latest version of Windows.

As I said above, the hardware companies only care about it long enough to get the people onto the next version. Instead of indefinately supporting the drivers until the hardware is no longer in use - they drop support after they are a product or two generation a long, or a generation or two of Microsoft's OS has gone by.

So all that hardware that was initially released for Windows 2000, which saw driver support in WinXP, but has since become obsolete in the manufacturer's mind won't see support in Vista. Instead, the manufacturer will say "please upgrade to our new product".

In the Linux world, the driver typically get maintained until there are so few people using them any where that they drop them, and even then it goes through a deprecation cycle first: unsupported -> testing -> supported -> supported but deprecated -> no one complains about lack of functionality b/c of being deprecated -> removed, but easily brought back through a patch

Once support in Windows is dropped - it is dropped. You're left running an old version of Windows (that may no longer be supported itself) to keep using the hardware. This is why a lot of companies are still using NT4, and even Windows 2000.

Thankfully, the parent is right and Linux doesn't do it the Windows way for most drivers.

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