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Hardware Manufacturers that Actively Support Linux? 650

Posted by Cliff
from the doing-more-than-paying-lip-service dept.
wirefarm asks: "I know there is are lot of well-supported pieces of hardware for Linux, but I was wondering, which vendors really go out of their way for the community? While tracking down drivers for a wireless PCMCIA card today, I found that the vendor boasted of having Linux support, but it was seemed that they were actually touting drivers that were community-developed, rather than written with any help of the company. So my question is this: Which companies really stand out when it comes to providing specs and developing drivers?"
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Hardware Manufacturers that Actively Support Linux?

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  • Re:Not yet! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by volsung (378) <stan@mtrr.org> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:04AM (#3401298)
    Note to people looking for USB scanners: Epson has apparently been nice to the developers. From the SANE USB scanner list:

    Epson have[sic] been very helpful with the development of the backend, to the point of providing documentation that's not yet released.

  • Zero marks for (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:05AM (#3401310)
    UMAX - probably the worst supported scanners under Linux - I've got an Astra 610P, and still have to use WINE to get it to work :-
  • Linksys (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misfit13b (572861) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:05AM (#3401312)
    They've been pretty Linux-friendly in my experience for my home networking...
  • Re:Linksys (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Asmodeus (18881) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:29AM (#3401494)
    What's more is the 4 port Cable/DSL router I bought came with a Turbo Linux install CD. I mean, it's one thing to ship drivers but including a CD of Linux is top's in my book!
  • Wacom (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:39AM (#3401564)
    Wacom does a good job of providing interface specs for its tablets.

    Roey.
  • Re:Many do.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lkaos (187507) <anthony.codemonkey@ws> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:40AM (#3401573) Homepage Journal
    I've got an ATI Radeon in my machine, my gf has an ATI Radeon in her Windows 2000 box, and I can confidently say that the Linux drivers are far better than those for Windows, probably because ATI didn't write them. ATI (unlike nVidia) have been very good about releasing specs to the community.

    This is because the special ATI hardware optimizations integrate better with X than they do with Windows. Of course, this is only possible with > X4 since that's when all the XVideo stuff was introduced.

    BTW: ATI does not provide specs to the community. They provide only a portion of their specifications to a very small number of developers who have signed an NDA. The aspects of their cards that they feel are important to their bussiness model (i.e. TV-Out, hardware iDCT) they have released nothing for.

  • Re:The general ruel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by joeface (182928) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:42AM (#3401580)
    In general I completely agree with you.

    I was very surprised recently, when I came across a Lexmark laser printer (the E210), that was quite a bit cheaper than any others (US $100.00 after a $50 rebate).

    It included a Linux driver that works perfectly with CUPS.

    It's not such a big deal to see a printer working well with Linux, but there was even a little penguin on the box -- I was thrilled :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:47AM (#3401627)
    drivers/scsi/ips.c

    Driver for the IBM ServerRaid controllers, written by IBM.

    drivers/block/cpqarray.c

    Driver for the Compaq SMART2 controllers, written by Compaq.

    drivers/audio/emu10k1/* -- Creative Labs..

    I could go on and on, but try 'grep -r -i corporation /usr/src/linux/drivers' - I got 492 lines, but that includes lots of redundancy, of course.
  • Re:Matrox? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cramer (69040) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:08PM (#3401789) Homepage
    Yes, Matrox is not as bad as some (and a lot better than they used to be.) However, they have not released specs for all their toys; they tend to run and hide when the wrong three letter acronym is used; and their specs have never gone through any QA (they are self-contradictory and in a few places, just wrong.) [I've previously working with Matrox hardware and wanted to hit them for releasing such nonsense.]

    MGA TVO ("maven") : "Sorry, MACROVISION."
    DVD Add-in: "Sorry, DVD" (we only asked what the nuts did to the address bus on the RRG card -- it's inverted (xor 7) -- and why it's invisable on a G400+)
    MGA 64VCO(?) (RR-Studio): "What?" -- basically, they don't want to go look for (or write) a spec for the thing.

    And, of course, they refuse to say anything about WARP. However, they did provide stuff to the opengl development ("here, send this to the chip and stand back.")
  • Re:I second this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zathrus (232140) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:25PM (#3401889) Homepage
    I think making the specs public is all we ever really asked for.

    Which is akin, in some cases, to saying "come on in and take the kitchen sink while you're at it" for hardware manufacturers.

    The Linux community (and the OSS community at large) needs to get over this. Open Source is fine and grand, but it's not always viable. With that in mind, a company should either make the interface available, or make reliable, fast, and solid drivers available on a regular basis.

    Those that choose neither may very well be reviled. Those that choose one or the other should be praised. And those that choose to reveal the interface AND help in writing the drivers should be revered.

    But bitching about a company that chooses to keep trade secrets secret is really f'ing stupid.
  • Re:The general ruel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ImaLamer (260199) <john@lamar.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:37PM (#3401967) Homepage Journal
    Linksys cards (urggh tulip!) are pretty cheap and even have Turbo Linux included. They also boast that they will work with any "Network Operating System".

    I'm guessing that they are figuring that you want the most out of that product when they include linux CD's.

    But when it comes to modems they are WinModems, soundcards... forget it! and other devices are the exception.

    My cheap little USB Philips camera is supported - although I've never tried to use it for more than a microphone - so there is some devices which price is obvious.

  • Re:Typical response (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SailorMeeko (204259) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:43PM (#3402005) Homepage
    I've got to give a big thumbs up for Earthlink tech support.

    About a year and a half ago when my brother got his cable modem, I helped him setup a Linux server (Red Hat 6.2) + IP Masquerading for his home network. This was fairly straightforward, and required no tech support help, and has run fine ever since.

    Well, this weekend he switched to Earthlink DSL. I wanted to make the switch as easy as possible for him, without having to re-install anything. Unfortunately, I could not get it to work as easily as the cable modem had, and so we called Earthlink tech support. After trying to ask for help without revealing which OS we were using, it was becoming quite obvious we couldn't. The person asked what OS we are using, and we told him Red Hat Linux 6.2 We were expecting to hear something like "We're sorry, that is not supported", but instead he told us we need a PPPoE in order to connect. He then told us about a program called Roaring Penguin, and where to go to download it. He then helped us configure it and get us connected. We were both quite impressed.

    I also remember a time about 4 or 5 years ago when I had Earthlink dial-up, and I was using something like Red Hat 5.0 or maybe even 4.x Anyway, it was in the earlier days before establishing an Internet connection in Linux was easy (at least for me), and I was having trouble getting connected (editing ppp scripts and such, all from the CL), so just for fun I decided to give Earthlink tech support a call. To my surprise, the person walked me through the editing of the scripts, and they worked perfectly, and I was connected.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#3402049)
    NVIDIA actively support Linux by constantly releasing up to date drivers that are very high quality. The NVIDIA drivers are unquestionably the highest quality OpenGL implementation available on Linux without exception.

    Well, perhaps ... but NVIDIA's closed source drivers, while good in some respects, do occasionally cause X to hang for no apparant reason. Switching NVIDIA cards, or updating to the current drivers, does nothing to alleviate this, although switching from an NVIDIA card to an ATI Radeon card did solve the problem, as did using the Free Software Nvidia X driver ('nv') with the same hardware that was so troublesome with the 'nvidia' driver. And yes, this is with AGP settings in the safest, most conservative mode (cf the NVIDIA driver docs for details).

    So while the OpenGL implimentation may be very good, the closed source nature of the driver means I'm forced to wait for an officially unsupported, binary-only driver, to be fixed someday, or I have to find an alternative. This seriously decreases the value of the NVIDIA driver and hardware for use where I work and live.

    ATI does not suffer from this handicap, and while its OpenGL support may not be as good as NVIDIAs, it does work well, and without the system stability issues incurred by using NVIDIA. In addition, the free and open nature of the ati drivers insures that my hardware will never be orphaned, even if ATI has a change of heart (or financial troubles) down the road. The closed source NVIDIA drivers give me none of those guarantees (though the fallback nv driver helps, as long as you don't need digital out or multi-head support).
  • by maroberts (15852) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#3402054) Homepage Journal
    ..with varying grades to hardware manufacturers, combined with a logo that can be placed on packaging. Say a Linux Friendly logo, with awards for a product ranging from bronze to platinum, depending on how much the manufacturer supports Linux.

  • by beefubermensch (575927) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @02:43PM (#3402913) Homepage
    Keyspan [keyspan.com] supports Linux [keyspan.com]. We're about to release a new version of the driver [misc.nu], which we've modified in-house to fix many bugs. I wouldn't say we excel at Linux, but we're interested in it, and as far as I know our policy is to devote as much time as we can based on estimated sales into the Linux market. Anybody out there trying to run a headless server [slashdot.org] on a machine without native DB-9 ports?
  • Re:Project UDI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alext (29323) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @08:22PM (#3405843)
    I might as well use an OS written in Java... (no offense to java, but that'd suck.)

    Well, probably, now... but actually it's not clear that this will be the case forever. Yes, I will point out that Java gets quite a bit faster with each release, but more importantly the hardware gets more diverse year on year. CPUs with big register files, vector operations, 64 bit operations... there's a fair slew of chips out there already, before Clawhammer & co appear, and I doubt if C compilers are going to optimize for all of them. In fact, that's impossible. So step forward the JIT, the guy that knows your hardware, and even your usage patterns and can optimize for both. It's the only practical solution longterm... convinced anyone?

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