Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Apr 2010 13:10 UTC
Linux We all know Synaptics, the company that seems to produce just about every touchpad you can get your hands fingers on. Their touchpads also do a lot of multitouch and gesture stuff, but up until now, their set of gestures, the Synaptics Gesture Suite, was only available on Windows. Luckily, they've ported it over to Linux, and made it available for OEMs building Linux laptops.
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Comment by spinnekopje
by spinnekopje on Tue 20th Apr 2010 10:59 UTC
spinnekopje
Member since:
2008-11-29

Linux can only gain a lot of market share when hardware just works, just like it does on windows.
The easiest way to achieve that is by drivers from the manufacturers themselves. I do understand those when they create closed source drivers, they want to protect their product.
I also do understand the people who want open source drivers, because I do see the advantage of that.

But if a company creates a closed source driver that actually works pretty good, why not help to improve it instead of complaining that it is not open source?
If the company gets a lot of support to improve the driver, they might also create drivers for future products and who knows, maybe open the source up in a nearby future.
If they only get complaints that have nothing to do with the driver quality at all what reason do they have to invest more money?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by spinnekopje
by spiderman on Tue 20th Apr 2010 12:22 in reply to "Comment by spinnekopje"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Linux can only gain a lot of market share when hardware just works, just like it does on windows.

Well, it doesn't. Have you tried Windows recently? Most hardware does not work out of the box. You've got to hunt the internet, download the driver for your hardware and hope you didn't download a virus instead. When you install Mandriva, Ubuntu or any recent distro, it all works out of the box. That is one of the advantages of the drivers being free (as in freedom): it works out of the box, no need to download anything, no need to give your email address to get the damn driver, no need to download malware. It just works. And linux supports more hardware than Windows anyway. You get the feeling that Windows works out of the box because the OEM did all the work of integrating the right driver and selecting the components to sell the computer with Windows. It just doesn't and sometimes it is a big mess.

The easiest way to achieve that is by drivers from the manufacturers themselves. I do understand those when they create closed source drivers, they want to protect their product.
I also do understand the people who want open source drivers, because I do see the advantage of that.
I also do understand your point. Free driver is better than closed driver and closed driver is better than nothing. My expectations are a free driver though. Actually I would say closed driver is less bad than nothing rather than better.

But if a company creates a closed source driver that actually works pretty good, why not help to improve it instead of complaining that it is not open source?

Because we just can't. A closed driver can not be improved but by the company that did it.

If the company gets a lot of support to improve the driver, they might also create drivers for future products and who knows, maybe open the source up in a nearby future.

That's the other way around. Maybe if the open their source they can get a lot of support to improve their driver. They just can't get support if it is closed.

If they only get complaints that have nothing to do with the driver quality at all what reason do they have to invest more money?

To sell their hardware maybe? There is one thing you should never forget: You are the customer. They are supposed to work for you. You are paying them for that. The money they invest is yours. You decide where they should spend the money when you buy their products. Synaptics didn't wake up one morning and decided they would do the world a favor by releasing a driver for linux. They are not into charity. They saw they are loosing market and money by not releasing their driver for linux and they fixed that. Unfortunately, the fix is not optimal.

Edited 2010-04-20 12:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by spinnekopje
by spinnekopje on Tue 20th Apr 2010 13:27 in reply to "RE: Comment by spinnekopje"
spinnekopje Member since:
2008-11-29

Well, it doesn't. Have you tried Windows recently? Most hardware does not work out of the box. You've got to hunt the internet, download the driver for your hardware and hope you didn't download a virus instead. When you install Mandriva, Ubuntu or any recent distro, it all works out of the box.


For windows I can browse the website of the vendor and download all drivers from there.
My wireless atheros card does _not_ work correctly on linux. Some of my card readers don't work like they should (not hot pluggable without tweaking).
A much larger group of users will be able to install a driver from the vendors website, but won't manage to tweak settings to make a card reader work (and after an update that might not even work at all).

About helping on drivers:

Because we just can't. A closed driver can not be improved but by the company that did it.


I can send bug reports for closed source software, so I don't see why the community shouldn't be able to help.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Have you tried Windows recently? Most hardware does not work out of the box. You've got to hunt the internet, download the driver for your hardware and hope you didn't download a virus instead.


I hate this lame cliché, but uhm, 2002 called, they want their criticism back. Windows 7 downloads most drivers from WU automatically during and right after installation. Same goes for peripherals - plug them in, and they get pulled from WU.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by spinnekopje
by jokkel on Wed 21st Apr 2010 18:06 in reply to "RE: Comment by spinnekopje"
jokkel Member since:
2008-07-07

Have you tried Windows recently? Most hardware does not work out of the box. You've got to hunt the internet, download the driver for your hardware and hope you didn't download a virus instead. When you install Mandriva, Ubuntu or any recent distro, it all works out of the box.

It seems you havn't tried neither Windows nor Mandriva nor Ubuntu recently. I just tried to install Mandriva 2010 and Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04 on my trusty Dell Latitude D800 Laptop. It's often problematic, because it has a screen resolution of 1680x1200 and a Broadcom wifi chip.

Ubuntu failed to run X, both with the free and the closed driver. X worked on Mandriva flawlessly until I installed the firmware for my wifi chip b43. After that the binary nvidia driver didn't work anymore and I didn't get the full resolution for my display. Also the trackpad stopped working.
Eventually I downgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 which worked after installing the wifi firmware.

Installing Windows is actually a breeze. Put in the CD that came with the computer. Auto-update Windows. And that's it. If I want to get up to date driver versions, I just go to the official Dell website and search for my laptop model. Virus free, thank you very much.
Windows 7 actually includes a lot of drivers for popular hardware.

Windows never broke my drivers with a system upgrade. Linux does this regularly.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by spinnekopje
by Laurence on Tue 20th Apr 2010 12:34 in reply to "Comment by spinnekopje"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Linux can only gain a lot of market share when hardware just works, just like it does on windows.


The ironic thing is most hardware does "just work" in Linux. In fact, setting my ASUS laptop up, even using the OEM Win7 DVD, I spent over an hour (possible 2 - wasn't really paying much attention to time) installing the drivers.

On the same system, Linux picked them all up during the install and everything "just worked" after the installer rebooted. This would never happen - not even on Win7 (as demonstrated above).

The problem with Linux is when hardware isn't supported. In Windows it would take around an hour to find the website, drivers download page and then download and install and reboot. In Linux it can take hours to trawl through wikis and messageboards to find work arounds.

So Linux does "just work" with hardware far more often than Windows. Where it falls down on is hardware that doesn't have open source / reverse engineered drivers and there's no properly supported proprietary ones. Thankfully hardware like this is the exception rather than the norm. However you only need one device like that every so often to bring the overall experience down. After all, it's easier to remember the times you've spent hours configuring something that would have worked in Windows than the times you've not needed to do anything as everything "just worked".



As for your other point about Linux gaining market share; I think there are bigger issues holding it back:
* Microsoft's monopoly (everyone has Windows so that's all most people know and all most people want)

* It's neither "cool" nor considered easy to use like Apple (partly down to the FUD machine from Microsoft and partly down to people recounting 20th Century Linux which, on the whole, wasn't novice friendly)

* Lack of unified image (personally I love the variety within Linux, but it's much much easier to sell a single brand than it is a disjointed community)

* and lastly (at least off the top of my head), most people don't really care what they use enough to investigate into alternatives. Particularly when, for them, Windows is "good enough" (a phrase I've often heard when suggesting new software from web browsers to OSs)

Edited 2010-04-20 12:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by spinnekopje
by siride on Tue 20th Apr 2010 13:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by spinnekopje"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

Having to spend a little bit of time downloading a few drivers is considerably different from having non-working or partially-working drivers that you have to tweak and play with to (hopefully) get your device to function at some percent of its Windows capacity. That process will take quite a bit longer than on Windows and you still may not get it working in the end.

And by the way, I don't know about other vendors, but Lenovo has all the drivers available on a single page on their site. You download them all, run each one and your done. That's pretty easy.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by spinnekopje
by siride on Tue 20th Apr 2010 13:51 in reply to "RE: Comment by spinnekopje"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

You also forgot the fact that Linux doesn't run software people use, it's a joke on the desktop (especially if you are doing serious work) and still has hardware support problems. And then there's the fact that the bazaar model doesn't work for producing unified, well-testing and well-architected software. That means Linux will never have as clean and cohesive a desktop stack as Windows and Mac OS do and it will always be behind. The OSS desktop world simply cannot get its act together and never will.

Reply Parent Score: 2