Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 1st Mar 2009 17:26 UTC, submitted by kaiwai
Hardware, Embedded Systems Long-time OSNews reader Kaiwai has written down his experiences with his Acer Aspire One, Linux, and Windows. He concludes: "After a hectic few weeks trying to get Linux to work, I am back to square one again - a netbook running Windows XP SP3 as it was provided by Acer when I purchased it. I gave three different distributions a chance to prove themselves. I expected all three distributions to wipe the floor with Windows XP - after all, these are the latest and greatest distributions the Linux world have to offer. There has been at least 7 years since the release of Windows XP for Linux to catch up to Windows XP and from my experience with Linux on this said device - it has failed to step up to the plate when it was needed."
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RE[3]: Clueless
by broken_symlink on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 16:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Clueless"
broken_symlink
Member since:
2005-07-06


I'll tell you what I make of it. Linux distributions are still piss-poor at adding support for hardware to a distribution after release, other than making yet another new bloody ISO, and piss-poor at providing a sane way of developing, adding and installing third-party software. If that was actually possible in a sane way then you might have got a nice front-end written and helped by Acer such as HP's one for the Mininote and a wealth of help and support from Acer. You don't. Guess why?


Well, in a perfect linux world, they wouldn't have to worry about adding support, because everything would be in mainline and if something isn't supported in one release you just upgrade the kernel package and there it is you hardware is supported!

The problem is that linux is a second class citizen to most hardware companies. All resources are poured into making windows drivers and linux drivers are put on the back burner. Just look at companies like nvidia. However, even then its not good enough, because unless they get those drivers into the mainline linux kernel things will never become as easy as windows.

Things are improving, but it will take time. According to a lot of people here, his hardware will be supported out of the box in the next ubuntu release.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Clueless
by dagw on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 16:15 in reply to "RE[3]: Clueless"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

According to a lot of people here, his hardware will be supported out of the box in the next ubuntu release.

That to me is on of the fundamental problems with Linux (or Linux distributions). One shouldn't have to wait for the next release and hope it's fixed then. I should be able to download a set of debs or rpms specifically for my laptop, install it and then just have all the drivers and hardware specific settings taken care. Much like it works in Windows

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Clueless
by lemur2 on Tue 3rd Mar 2009 22:51 in reply to "RE[4]: Clueless"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"According to a lot of people here, his hardware will be supported out of the box in the next ubuntu release.
That to me is on of the fundamental problems with Linux (or Linux distributions). One shouldn't have to wait for the next release and hope it's fixed then. I should be able to download a set of debs or rpms specifically for my laptop, install it and then just have all the drivers and hardware specific settings taken care. Much like it works in Windows "

You can download drivers as .deb files. What made you think that you couldn't?

The only caveat is this: the driver must be compiled for the specific kernel version you are running. If you change the kernel and you have some drivers which were installed as .deb files, they are likely to no longer be loadable. You will have to get a new .deb file of the driver, compiled against your new kernel version.

Having the driver included along with the kernel makes this un-necessary.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Clueless
by segedunum on Wed 4th Mar 2009 13:02 in reply to "RE[3]: Clueless"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, in a perfect linux world, they wouldn't have to worry about adding support, because everything would be in mainline...

But not everything can be in mainline because people write software and build hardware after it has been released. This simply results in people reformatting and reinstalling their distributions every six months just to get updated software. No one but enthusiasts are going to keep doing that and it's not good enough for the wider world.

...and if something isn't supported in one release you just upgrade the kernel package and there it is you hardware is supported!

Distributors cannot just offer a kernel upgrade willy-nilly to an already released distribution. It has support implications. Hardware support has to be added to an existing kernel. No one should have to wait for a kernel upgrade to get hardware support either. It just isn't as simple as you think it is.

The problem is that linux is a second class citizen to most hardware companies.

This hasn't really got a lot to do with this, and it's the usual excuse you get from the crowd. Linux distributors simply do not make it in any way easy to add hardware and software support after a distribution has been released. As such, those who might be interested just don't bother. This is killing any success Linux might have on Netbooks.

All resources are poured into making windows drivers and linux drivers are put on the back burner.

Linux drivers are just not easy to write and certainly not easy to get available to your users. There is no distribution that is giving people documentation on how to do it, make it easier and get people involved.

Things are improving, but it will take time. According to a lot of people here, his hardware will be supported out of the box in the next ubuntu release.

So he has to reformat and reinstall again as he waits for full support to become available? Pffffffffffffff.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Clueless
by broken_symlink on Wed 4th Mar 2009 14:40 in reply to "RE[4]: Clueless"
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06


But not everything can be in mainline because people write software and build hardware after it has been released. This simply results in people reformatting and reinstalling their distributions every six months just to get updated software. No one but enthusiasts are going to keep doing that and it's not good enough for the wider world.


No one said you have to reinstall your entire system because the kernel was updated. The great thing about linux is that kernel and userland are separate.


Distributors cannot just offer a kernel upgrade willy-nilly to an already released distribution. It has support implications. Hardware support has to be added to an existing kernel. No one should have to wait for a kernel upgrade to get hardware support either. It just isn't as simple as you think it is.


Why can't they just offer a kernel upgrade? Most distributions do already, like Fedora, Ubuntu, ... And people have already mentioned how to add hardware support to an existing kernel. You just get a .deb or .rpm or whatever for the specific kernel version you are using and install it.


This hasn't really got a lot to do with this, and it's the usual excuse you get from the crowd. Linux distributors simply do not make it in any way easy to add hardware and software support after a distribution has been released. As such, those who might be interested just don't bother. This is killing any success Linux might have on Netbooks.


Again see above.


Linux drivers are just not easy to write and certainly not easy to get available to your users. There is no distribution that is giving people documentation on how to do it, make it easier and get people involved.


I personally don't think its a distribution's job to give support with writing drivers. The actual distribution of the driver yes, but again if the driver were in mainline, they wouldn't even need to do this.


So he has to reformat and reinstall again as he waits for full support to become available? Pffffffffffffff.


Again no one said he had to reinstall.

I think the only person who has the power to make what you want to happen a reality is Linus, who probably just doesn't care. He is not in this to take on Microsoft, which is what it seems like people like you want. This is just a hobby for him, and he happens to make money doing it.

Reply Parent Score: 2