Linux Hardware...

april 12, 2007

Buying hardware for Windows systems is easy. You go, you buy, you install and you use. I wish it was that easy with Linux. When I was looking at the el cheapo notebook, I had to check that everything was supported -- else, I'll run into a situation like what JR ran into where the hardware was too new and he'll have to wait for the hardware to "age" before installing Linux on it. I can't blame the Linux developers since they don't have any info about some of the hardware. All I can blame are the hardware manufacturers for not making their hardware more transparent for developers (or better documentation for the APIs to access their hardware). The biggest offenders are WLAN chipset manufactures and 3D chipset manufacturers (mainly ATI and Nvidia). Thank goodness Intel has seen the benefits of opening up their hardware to Open Source programmers -- Intel graphics and WLAN chipsets are well supported by the community and make buying hardware easier: Buy Intel, not one of those hard to use proprietary brands. This all comes down to one question though:  Should the Open Source community embrace binary blob drivers like those that come from Nvidia and ATI?  Or should the Open Source community only support hardware that have source for their drivers?  Right now, I'm voting with my money.