Is Linux planning on supporting all hardware that is now availbale for the
Windows 95+ operating systems? Trying to convince a customer to switch to
linux when their hardware doesn't work with it, is a hard sell. Most equipment
made these days is Plug and Play, and I have found it a fight to install
some equipment I have. I would be more then willing to start programming
in Linux if I were sure that it wasn't going to be a fight to get it to work
on a buggy Plug and Play card.
06-27-2000, 10:55 PM
Re: Plug and Play
I'm pretty new to Linux, so take these comments for what they're worth :-)
> Trying to convince a customer to switch to
>linux when their hardware doesn't work with it, is a hard sell.
My feeling is that Linux will not make significant in-roads in established
Windows environments. Linux is harder to set up and use, and less polished
as a desktop. You won't see a Windows shop throw out their NT servers and
WinX desktops to make way for Linux.
That said, I think there may be opportunities for it to gain footholds in
the following ways. I'll generalize based on what I foresee happening in
First, as in my case, (semi) technically-oriented people will become curious
about the OS, set up a test installation, and play around with it. It might
end up serving as a low-profile web server, and from that base slowly grow
into an integral part of the enterprise.
On the desktop side, the geeks will dual-boot Linux with WinX, and over time
Linux may become their preferred OS. Despite the manual labor required to
maintain/upgrade/extend it, it does have an endearing quality about it.
> Most equipment
>made these days is Plug and Play, and I have found it a fight to install
>some equipment I have. I would be more then willing to start programming
>in Linux if I were sure that it wasn't going to be a fight to get it to
>on a buggy Plug and Play card.
PnP under Linux has worked perfectly for me.
I think the big problem in this regard is "windows-specfic" hardware. For
example, "WinModems" that off-load some of their functionality to the operating
system. I think this is just a hardware thing, though - if the vendors open
up their specifications, I would guess Linux drivers could be written that
provide the services these devices would normally get from Windows.
On the consumer side - I think that a Linux "game box" might have some promise.
Many games that have been ported to Linux have actually performed *better*
than they do under Windows (QuakeArena, Heavy Gear II, etc). There could
be a market for a low-cost, high-performance game box pre-loaded with a lot
of cheap Linux ports of popular games, or perhaps with a set of games selected
by the buyer (assuming the game vendors liekd the idea). Presumably, the
buyers will be kids who may become curious about their platform beyond the
games. And Linux may appeal to their "counter-culture" tendencies :-)
06-28-2000, 03:13 AM
Neil Matthew & Rick Stones
Re: Plug and Play
Dean Melanson <email@example.com> wrote in message
> Is Linux planning on supporting all hardware that is now availbale for the
> Windows 95+ operating systems? Trying to convince a customer to switch to
> linux when their hardware doesn't work with it, is a hard sell. Most
> made these days is Plug and Play, and I have found it a fight to install
> some equipment I have. I would be more then willing to start programming
> in Linux if I were sure that it wasn't going to be a fight to get it to
> on a buggy Plug and Play card.
> Thank you.
You have to remeber that there is no one "Linux" that has plans at all.
The bulk of the work on Linux is undertaken by volunteers, although these
days companies such as Red Hat do employ programmers to help with the
It is in everyone's interest to support the widest variety of hardware
under Linux, and it has been our experience that whenever a cool new
piece of kit appears on the market it's not too long before some
hacker produces an initial device driver.
Some things are harder to support than others though. USB and Firewire have
been a long time coming. Plug and Play is still tricky with a few cards.
Winmodems have a way to go yet, though frankly we'd steer clear of these
for other reasons :)
The major hurdle to Linux hardware support in the past has been the fact
manufacturers had not appreciated the potential market. Many would not
release programming details to allow Linux hackers to make their own
A principal example here is Diamond Multimedia kept their video card
interfaces secret, or insisted on non-disclosure agreements. Today however,
not only have Diamond relented, but other card makers, such as Creative
for their sound cards, and some Ethernet card manufacturers bundle Linux
in the box, or provide them on their websites. This is a very promising
Having said that, some personal experience suggests that some PnP support in
the latest distributions has taken a step backwards. We have seen machines
with pretty standard sound and network cards not work "out of the box" with
the latest distribution where they did with earlier ones.
We always check hardware compatibility lists before buying new hardware.
If we all make of point of telling manufacturers we want Linux support for
their hardware, we can get Linux support by default, not as an afterthought!
Bear in mind, Windows NT4 doesn't even do PnP! Or USB. Or FireWire. ... :)
Neil and Rick
06-30-2000, 07:10 PM
Re: Plug and Play
"Flacco" <Flacco001_REEMOOVE_@twilight-systems.com> wrote:
>I think the big problem in this regard is "windows-specfic" hardware. For
The bigger problem is that the trend, caused by "I wanna under $500 computer"
thinking, is to go to highly integrated motherboards. One of the ways to
make these things even cheaper is to make the CPU do more of the tasks of
otherwise separate hardware, the "WinModems" being just one such example.
Audio hardware is another.