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View Full Version : [all variants] Learning about Linux & drivers (& community?)



smileyguy
April 24th, 2009, 12:35 PM
OK - how can my Ubunto distro (or any other) come with so many drivers? Who puts them all on? Is it that wierd world off computer geek communities who contribute to linux for FREE?!

and theoretically, what would I do if an install failed because of a suspected driver not being there? no need for a lenghty technical response. would just like to understand the "gist" of it . . .
:)

JoshuaRL
April 24th, 2009, 12:47 PM
OK - how can my Ubunto distro (or any other) come with so many drivers? Who puts them all on? Is it that wierd world off computer geek communities who contribute to linux for FREE?!

and theoretically, what would I do if an install failed because of a suspected driver not being there? no need for a lenghty technical response. would just like to understand the "gist" of it . . .
:)

For the first part, yeah pretty much. Of course, some companies like Intel open-source their drivers and give employees to FOSS development. That means they get paid by Intel to work on making Linux better. Pretty cool, but it does benefit Intel too, so everyone's happy. Other than that kind of thing, its the developer community working on either writing drivers from released specs, or reverse-engineering them.

But you hit on one of the weak points of Linux. Sometimes no one has gotten the driver working right on a specific piece of hardware. Mostly this is because the manufacturer wont release either the driver source or the specs to the community. There are hacks and workarounds sometimes, but as you can see, if they helped even a little it wouldn't be an issue. And it doesn't really make much difference because no one makes money on selling drivers. They all sell hardware. Some companies claim that it would give unfair information to competitors, but that has largely been disproven. No one is making Intel clone graphics. So hopefully they get their act together soon. They're dropping a vocal and active minority here. (And we're growing)

smileyguy
April 24th, 2009, 01:10 PM
I've done a hell of a lot of Windows installs and it would be heaps easier if that many drivers were bundled with Windows!!! It seems even more obvious since we pay for Windows!

I guess with Windows not having a "community" as such contributing to its development then it's sort of impossible - which is why the vendors of hardware put drivers out.

Failed or no drivers is what put me off Linux installations in the past.