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[3]: Vista needs drivers
by elsewhere on Sun 28th Oct 2007 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vista needs drivers"
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

I cannot see any point in criticizing Linux for an area where it actually leads the pack. There is a far wider variety of supported hardware and better quality drivers for Linux that there is for either OSX or Vista.

Why should OSNews continue to post topics which hint towards the exact opposite of reality? That is, assuming no hidden agenda is at work ... which more and more one suspects to be an invalid assumption.


The article questioned the quality of linux drivers, not the quantity, and that's a valid point. I think the author did a decent job of clarifying the point with his examples.

Aside from the author's point about drivers not being able to support the full functionality of hardware, there is also the issue of drivers that become stale in the kernel because they have no maintainers and suffer regressions when other subsystems change in the kernel, in part due to the "we can change the internal API's at will" mentality of the devs. This is a point that Andrew Morton himself brought up, that many of the devs work on newer and sexier projects rather than the grunt work of maintaining the older stuff and the number of bugs and regressions is increasing because of that.

I commend the kernel devs and respect the work they have done with providing drivers, particularly when they require reverse-engineering, and I'm certainly grateful for the ability I have to run linux on most systems I install it on. That level of development support is something that is so far above my own ability to contribute towards that I won't dare judge. I also understand the challenges they have with hardware vendors not releasing specs, or not even having access to the hardware that users are requesting support for. Their challenges are going to become even more apparent as development efforts move towards things like power efficiency, which is difficult to implement without vendor support. So don't take this as condemnation of the effort and work the devs have done to this point, that's not my intent.

But pretending the problem doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. Yes, linux may support more hardware than Windows does, but Windows (and OSX) generally has better support for hardware than linux does. There is a difference. It's not criticism of linux or praise of Microsoft/Apple, just a reality that we need to figure out how to best address.

Reply Parent Score: 33

RE[4]: Vista needs drivers
by hobgoblin on Sun 28th Oct 2007 14:32 in reply to "RE[3]: Vista needs drivers"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

only place i have seen issues with lack of full feature support are in the area of video card drivers, and then its about stuff like built in tv out chips and similar.

thing is, thats mostly a Xorg issue, not a kernel issue, as its Xorg that does the desktop work.

and given that in windows and osx, the programmers of the drivers have full access to the docs of the hardware (if it exists. i have seen some horror stories that even the companies themselves use reverse engineering like techniques at times because the doc and the chip dont match at all when done) and therefor dont have do bothersome trial and error.

that linux, despite this, support as much hardware as it does, is impressive imo. and buts vista in a even worse light then before.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Vista needs drivers
by Jojotdfb on Tue 30th Oct 2007 21:34 in reply to "RE[4]: Vista needs drivers"
Jojotdfb Member since:
2005-07-08

It's not the quantity this article talks about. It's the fact the drivers that do exist in Linux are usually inferior. Take the scanner used as an example. In Vista the scanner scans quickly and every button on the scanner works. In Linux it scans slowly and none of the buttons work.

This is a kernel issue. This isnít just about video cards; itís about all hardware supported by Linux. Itís about all the laptops that boot Linux, but canít use the built in mic. Itís all the audio cards that have digital outputs but can only output on the crappy headphone outs (thatís the really big reason Linux isnít used in major audio production). Itís all the webcams that have buttons on them to take a snapshot but do nothing when you push them. I could go on but it would be easier if you just read the actual article because it actualy makes Vista look good. At least shit works in Vista.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Vista needs drivers
by WarpKat on Mon 29th Oct 2007 15:50 in reply to "RE[3]: Vista needs drivers"
WarpKat Member since:
2006-02-06

I think it's more applicable to state the following:

Linux supports a wide variety of hardware, and supports it well.

The more 'mainstream' hardware is what it has a hard time dealing with - such as full support for WiFi adapters, a multitude of web cameras, soft-printers/scanners/multi-function hardware.

Seriously - who uses EISA or VLB anymore? Linux driver development needs to get more mainstream if it's going to survive with new hardware that doesn't exist yet.

For crying out loud, my USB Missile Launcher NEEDS TO WORK FROM MY CUBICLE!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Vista needs drivers
by tomcat on Mon 29th Oct 2007 19:24 in reply to "RE[4]: Vista needs drivers"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

For crying out loud, my USB Missile Launcher NEEDS TO WORK FROM MY CUBICLE!


LMFAO! Thanks, I was drinking a soda when I read that - and now you owe me a new keyboard. ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 0