AI wrote:you know after your third and final warning you will be banned
Was that targgeted to me?
Yes, you have exposed one of the main reasons for people NOT
to use Linux and (IMO) the biggest of its problems: Hardware support
. This is a complex and passionate issue on its own, which I won't go into much detail here. Suffice to say that HW manufacturers have to start to realize there are other operating systems than Microsoft's (it's even hard enough to find Mac-friendly mainstream consumer hardware that will work for both mainstream OSs, happily the compatibility list is increasing towards Mac). Anyway, the way I see it, is that manufacturers (core component developers) should take into account Linux when they release whitepapers and specs to their contractors (the final product assemblers) so they could [also] provide Linux drivers.
However in this approach there's still another downside: Distribution/Kernel-specific compatibility
. Let us face it, while mainstream Linux distributions are just a handful, they don't even remotely represent the totality of distributions, kernel versions and flavors of Linux there are... It is just a too chaotic and wild environment out there!! However, they can resort to use a mechanism similar to the nVidia Linux driver installer, so they wouldn't be tied to any particular distro/kernel (even though they may supply prepacakged-prebuilt-binaries and only build the drivers if your kenrel is not supported). I think that what still scares too many of the hardware manufacturers is the fact that they will be operating in an open
environment, and their products will be using proprietary
algorithms, API's and techniques to get the products to work right, which usually means, they are closed, they are protecting their IP.
Against Linux is an aura of myths that many have perpetuated, amongst them is the widely spread one that every
Linux user is an experienced computer hacker (I use term here as it should, as synonim for tweaking
programmer) that could easily do reverse engineering to a driver/software component to then either incorporate it or use it as a base for another software project/product... The truth is that in the growing community of Linux users those kinds of users are an endagered species, actually. As more people use the system, it is far more common to find equivalent users to Windows' power users
or hardcore users
; who know a lot of tricks and secrets
of the OS, but are not necesarily programmers or hackers
(in this case I use the term lightly, reffering to the [wrong] term of cracker
, or a person that uses a computer to gain access to other computers on the Internet, to potentially do harm). Obviously companies don't want that... However that has more to do with comercial software solutions than hardware components, though companies may feel this market to be risky and that it also means more money invested in a product than what they may have originally expected, since they should (at least at first) train their personnel or hire trained personnel, plus they might not consider the Linux user as a viable (or rentable) market [ATi, anyone?]. To add yet another level of complexity to this mixture, is the common misunderstanding
of the phrase Open Source
... especially towards Linux.
Far too many people think that in order to have any
product, it has
to be Open Sourced or have at least a GPL'ed license. That's plain untrue. You can have as much comercial software (device drivers or otherwise) as you want in a Linux system and you will not violate any license, as long as you as a developer know what would be considered exclusive in the GPL, for instance (like you can't have any GPL'ed program that links to any non-GPL library, otherwise you will be requiring a proprietary library to run your program. Of course restrictions apply even in this scenario). The fear is to have the source open and viewable for anyone. This should not necesarily be the case, since there is no such restriction that you cannot use comercial, proprietary software under Linux. In any case, the responsibility for better and improved hardware support should not only rely on the Kernel developers or a bunch of Open Source developers who try their best to get A or B device working under Linux. The companies that produce such hardware should be the ones that in the end either supply enough documentation for their products (so the community could develop drivers) or directly develop their own drivers (ATi, nVidia, Linuxant, etc)... I told you this was a complex issue, dressed with all sorts of economic and legal aspects, plus the cost/profit ratio, etc.
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