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Thread: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

  1. #11
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by walt.smith1960 View Post
    Putting on my conspiracy theorist tinfoil hat here:
    ... etc....
    Hah! Tho I'd like to pretend this isn't true, it probably does happen more than not.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdalbum View Post
    Linux does plug 'n' play very well; surprisingly Windows 7 also seems to do it reasonably well. .....
    Tho Linux does PNP pretty well, I feel that the standard/generic drivers on linux aren't as good as those found in Windows. This is what I think should get some work... When I reinstalled windows on my laptop, everything was working. Maybe not at its very best, but good enough to make everything usable. Touchpad worked with both left and right click (unlike Ubuntu), and all the "Special" keys on the keyboard were mapped correctly. The standard mouse drivers worked perfectly with my Logitech mouse, while on Ubuntu the sliders for speed and acceleration made no difference at all. The list goes on... These little things make the OS feel unpolished during use.

    Quote Originally Posted by johntaylor1887 View Post
    Buy a computer with Ubuntu preinstalled. Problem solved. Or are you just going to keep buying computers made for windows, then complain Ubuntu doesn't work? Mac people buy computers with OSX preinstalled. Windows people buy computers with windows preinstalled. Why should linux users be different?
    Your point is valid, but there aren't many options on hardware with Ubuntu-preinstalled. I don't like Apple precisely because I can't put OSX on any piece of hardware I want. I'm not willing to spend a ton more just for OSX, even if Jony Ives makes beautiful hardware. In a way, hardware running Windows are the same, as they were "made for Windows X", but hey.. I can install Windows perfectly on a System 76 or ZaReason without having major troubles. There's no reason Ubuntu could be the same as Windows when it comes to being usable out-of-the-box on any computer.

    Additionally, that's just how Ubuntu spreads... Someone gets interested from browsing around or from a friend/family/etc... They try to run it on their own hardware, but it doesn't work as well as Windows... so they go back. The more adventurous would stay or try again later, but this just means that Ubuntu won't ever be an attractive option, just "something to try out". I don't think that there are many people "newly introduced to Ubuntu" who are willing to spend on new computers just so they can run Ubuntu when they don't need to.

  2. #12
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by IridiumWings View Post
    Hello, I'm brand new here, so first of all, Hi to everyone .

    I realize this might end up as not more than just a rant, but I thought I would voice my opinion on the matter.

    Today (And most of last night, in fact) I attempted to switch to using Ubuntu as my main OS for the third time. The two previous attempts were back in high school in 2006 and 2008, but back then I still didn't feel Ubuntu to be polished enough to use as my main OS. This time, however, I read through some reviews and thought "Wow.. this looks amazing! I'll give it a try." As you can probably imagine, that didn't go so well.

    I'm fairly computer savvy, but I'm not a wiz, so I'm more on the "average user" side. My plans to run Ubuntu as my main OS were partly thwarted by the computer manufacturer... I own an HP dv6-3143us with a Core i3-370M, and the switchable Intel HD + ATi HD5650 Graphics. As many others have experienced, I couldn't manage to run the ATi graphics without breaking (something that, at my level of Linux expertise, was impossible to fix without reinstalling Ubuntu). I thought there would be no problem running the Intel graphics only as long as I could still connect my external monitor and possibly dual screen. I wasn't able to even get the external monitor to run, even after googling dozens of possible solutions... this was a major turn off, so I decided to reluctantly return to using Windows 7. There were a few other little things that were annoying, such as the touchpad drivers not working at all (turning off touchpad, etc), HIDPoint (to run my VX revolution) also not working at all, and the keyboard hotkeys acting in strange, unexpected ways.

    Now that the back story is over, my point is to say that Ubuntu looks very polished in the exterior, but is still very unpolished when it comes to hardware compatibility. You can't simply plug the USB or CD and install it (even after trying, as everything appeared to work nicely while trying it), and have at least the basics set up for you, as is the case of Windows 7. Things like this are what keep Ubuntu from reaching a wider audience.. as an example: I was hyped about switching to Ubuntu and had my girlfriend convinced on trying it too. She's not computer savvy at all, but was very willing to try it with my guidance. After my unsuccessful attempt, she feels less confident about trying Ubuntu herself. She's actually disappointed as she thought Ubuntu (particularly 11.04) looked awesome.

    I'm not very aware of what the situation with Ubuntu's future is (although I do plan to immerse myself even more in the world of Linux, even if it's through Virtualbox), and these are mainly my own opinions and thoughts as somewhat of an "outsider". It is my opinion however, that Ubuntu developers and contributors should focus more on the "Gears" aspect of the OS. Maybe not immediately, but sometime in the near future (say after 11.04 and towards 11.10). Call developers and major hardware companies to more actively participate into focusing in the core compatibility of Ubuntu with hardware components. Yes, I realize that big companies might not feel as eager to participate in Open source development if they don't see any profit from it now, but if enough work is put in to make Ubuntu a major player, then there will certainly be.

    I root for Ubuntu, and I personally hope for the day when I can grab any computer with any kind of major hardware and just install Ubuntu without much worry. I also look into a future when my kids will be growing running Linux, mainly Ubuntu. Make it happen!

    Thanks for hearing me out! And feel free to enlighten me as much as possible .
    I had this same problem and it made me stick with Windows for years. I didn't change operating systems until I tried Gentoo Linux, which was much better in this regard by virtue of improvements having been made upstream and Gentoo being far more up to date. You should try Gentoo; it has the best hardware compatibility of any distribution I have seen so far:

    http://www.gentoo.org/

    P.S. Gentoo hardware compatibility mostly comes from requiring that users compile their own kernels. The following site has generic guidance on how to do this:

    http://www.kernel-seeds.org/

    Alternatively, you could do this with Ubuntu too, but it is unsupported and because Canonical designed Ubuntu with the expectation that the package manager will be handling this, things will likely break on you when you try upgrading Ubuntu to a new version:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Kernel/Compile
    Last edited by Shining Arcanine; March 23rd, 2011 at 06:17 AM.

  3. #13
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    I did a little reading about Linux Distros. Right now, I am getting comfortable with Ubuntu, as I'm not entirely familiar with the system (moving from Windows, obviously). I know there are tons of versions out there, more than my wife has shoes, but Gentoo did peak my interest as it appears to be more hardware compatible as you said. However, is setting up and installing Gentoo right for me? I don't want to botch up an install when for the most part, I have a working system. I do have a spare PC I could throw it on I suppose for practice.

  4. #14
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by qkzoo View Post
    I did a little reading about Linux Distros. Right now, I am getting comfortable with Ubuntu, as I'm not entirely familiar with the system (moving from Windows, obviously). I know there are tons of versions out there, more than my wife has shoes, but Gentoo did peak my interest as it appears to be more hardware compatible as you said. However, is setting up and installing Gentoo right for me? I don't want to botch up an install when for the most part, I have a working system. I do have a spare PC I could throw it on I suppose for practice.
    If you have the time, just download and try a bunch of distros. None of my installs are meant to last forever, so reinstalling from time to time is the fun part of being a linux fan.

    My ubuntu install runs so flawlessly that I have to force myself to explore other options, or become stale and complacent.

  5. #15
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    One reason hardware support might be lacking is Linux's kernel space driver framework. If release cycles slowed down enough to allow manufacturers to make decent proprietary drivers for the major distribution(s), it might be a different story.

    But there's always a new release on the horizon, which may or may not fix any problems or introduce new incompatibility.

    If Ubuntu actually focused on a genuinely stable long-term base instead of biannual experiments, and instead worked with major hardware manufacturers to provide drivers for that version (that wouldn't be obsolete in the next few months), it would be a different story.

    But currently Ubuntu is content being just an experiment in interfaces and try-it-leave-it user feedback. And don't even start on the "LTS" release and how you aren't "forced" to upgrade. None of that makes a lick of difference if the release is so poorly maintained you're stuck using stone age software while even windows XP users have moved on and updated their software back into relevancy. I'm talking about the OpenOffice, GIMP, and thousands of other pieces of installable software. Of course the hardware situation never changes because backports aren't ever made noticeable to the mainstream (and are also ill-maintained even then), with developers essentially saying they want no part in the "old one" and everyone should just move to the "new one" for hardware compatibility -- even if the reality is it ends up breaking what little compatibility you started with sometimes.

    None of my installs are meant to last forever, so reinstalling from time to time is the fun part
    Beautifully said my friend. A succinct yet poignant synopsis of the mainstream's plight concerning the free desktop.
    Last edited by LifeTheHound; March 24th, 2011 at 11:30 AM.

  6. #16
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    If you have the time, just download and try a bunch of distros. None of my installs are meant to last forever, so reinstalling from time to time is the fun part of being a linux fan.
    I think I will download a bunch and experiment with different versions. I just need to drive down to my cousins house, because it would take a really long time to download them on my dial-up. However, on our family pc, I need a stable version that can be left alone for the most part.


    But there's always a new release on the horizon, which may or may not fix any problems or introduce new incompatibility.
    As long as updated versions come along, I'm happy! Problem with MS is when a new version comes out, you generally need to change hardware. If you stick with Linux, not much of a concern it, would seem.

    Of course the hardware situation never changes because backports aren't ever made noticeable to the mainstream (and are also ill-maintained even then), with developers essentially saying they want no part in the "old one" and everyone should just move to the "new one" for hardware compatibility -- even if the reality is it ends up breaking what little compatibility you started with sometimes.
    Hopefully this can change. Most folks probably buy pre-built PC's with pretty major manufacturers, it's easy for them that way, instead of building it themselves. If more manufacturers of bundled pc's used Linux instead of Windows, well, that would be a game changer.

    With all this said, would you recommend any specific Linux bundled pre-built PC's? I can't tell the difference between a graphics card and a hard drive anymore, I've been out of the hardware loop too long!
    Last edited by qkzoo; March 25th, 2011 at 08:43 PM. Reason: Fixed a boo boo.

  7. #17
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    It's kind of ironic that the title of the thread is "Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem". Over the last few years it's been linux that has impressed me as far as "out of the box experience". It's pretty rare I run into a driver problem with ubuntu. And when I do, it's easily fixed. I think some people just like to overstate the fact that linux won't run on every piece of hardware in the world, 1)get on a pedestal, and 2)throw it in our faces. That's not a very constructive attitude.

  8. #18
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by qkzoo View Post
    With all this said, would you recommend any specific Linux bundled pre-built PC's? I can't tell the difference between a graphics card and a hard drive anymore, I've been out of the hardware loop too long!
    System76 and Zareason are 2 companies that do only linux pc's and laptops. But I hear they are a bit pricy. I think distrowatch has a link to many vendors who preinstall linux.

  9. #19
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    Re: Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by johntaylor1887 View Post
    It's kind of ironic that the title of the thread is "Ubuntu and the Hardware Incompatibility Problem". Over the last few years it's been linux that has impressed me as far as "out of the box experience". It's pretty rare I run into a driver problem with ubuntu. And when I do, it's easily fixed. I think some people just like to overstate the fact that linux won't run on every piece of hardware in the world, 1)get on a pedestal, and 2)throw it in our faces. That's not a very constructive attitude.
    Remember, what you experience is not what others experience. I am having trouble with drivers, and no, it's not easily fixable, mainly because I don't have enough programming or linux knowledge to fix it myself. I think some people just like to overstate the fact that they have no trouble doing something, 1) boast their accomplishments, and 2) throw it on the faces of those who are unable to do so. That's not a very constructive attitude, and not a welcome one for newcomers to area.

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