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  #1  
Old 28th November 2006, 07:01 PM
alon.albert Offline
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Very Limited Driver Support???

I am evaluating a few Linux distributions and was disappointed to find that driver support is still very flaky in the Linux world. The 2 examples I encountered are a WUSB11 2.6 USB Wireless LAN adapter and a Dell FP1901 Flat Panel Display.

Both these devices are rather mainstream. Not new to market or anything out of the ordinary yet the 2 Linux distributions I tried each had a problem with one of them but worked with the other.

Wireless LAN:
Ubuntu 6.06 picked up my wireless LAN with ease and all I had to do was set up the connection properties.
Fedora Core 6 doesn't recognize the WUSB11 and I am required to acquire a driver in source code and compile myself with various issue that go into compiling kernel components - I have not yet managed to overcome all these issues BTW.

Monitor
Ubuntu did not recognize my Monitor and I had to find the Vertical Sync & Horizontal Scan Rate (or whatever they are called) from the specs and edit the xorg.config files manually in order to make use of the native resolution on my monitor.
Fedora on the other hand had no trouble identifying my monitor and came up already set to the native resolution.

Now, I am a big fan of Linux but I can't see Linux ever breaking the consumer barrier if basic hardware components support is not extensive.
This is not a matter of a hardware device not having appropriate drivers, obviously since both were detected correctly at least on one system, it is a matter of each distribution supporting (out of the box) only a subset (I'd like to say small but I have no idea except my limited personal experience) of the devices that are already supported by other distributions.

This is really a shame because it is limiting the spread of the Linux OS to these savvy enough to handle the quirks.
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  #2  
Old 28th November 2006, 07:16 PM
Dan Offline
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Welcome Aboard!

Morning, alon.albert

In the case of Fedora, it is actually quite deliberate that the wifi drivers were not included in the stock kernel. Information about the philosophy of Fedora Core is available here.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/

You can also find ad-nauseum threads about the inclusion, or lack thereof, proprietary drivers and codecs in the Fedora Distribution. Just do a search for either term, and you can stay busy for several days reading the pros and cons of the debate.

The bottom line is, Fedora follows a certain philosophy regarding FOSS, and that's the way it is. Some other distros choose to do things differently. Viva La Difference!

Personally, I love having lots of choices.

And speaking of choices... Welcome to the Fedora Forum! Glad to have you aboard!

Dan


.

Last edited by TangledWeb; 28th November 2006 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Spelling errors
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  #3  
Old 28th November 2006, 08:40 PM
hiberphoptik Offline
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what we have here are a few issues:

1. vendors not making drivers and not releasing specs to open source programmers to make drivers

2. linux does not really use "drivers" as much as it uses kernel modules or code built right into the kernel (yes you can say that modules are drivers but compaired to a typical windows users view of a driver its not the same)

3. Linux is open source.. so if you cant make or reverse engineer your own driver the solution(s) are to wait for someone else to do it, the vendor to come around, or use another device that is supported

jut my two cents.... or maybe 1 cent..
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  #4  
Old 28th November 2006, 08:54 PM
alon.albert Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiberphoptik
what we have here are a few issues:

1. vendors not making drivers and not releasing specs to open source programmers to make drivers

2. linux does not really use "drivers" as much as it uses kernel modules or code built right into the kernel (yes you can say that modules are drivers but compaired to a typical windows users view of a driver its not the same)

3. Linux is open source.. so if you cant make or reverse engineer your own driver the solution(s) are to wait for someone else to do it, the vendor to come around, or use another device that is supported

jut my two cents.... or maybe 1 cent..
So how come Ubuntu does include support for WUSB11 while Fedora doesn't?
They are both Linux and both claim to be FOSS.

The particular hardware devices I am referring to have both been incorporated into an FOSS distribution already. It's not like we have to wait for someone to make the driver, it's already here, it has been voted out for some reason or else omitted as oversight.
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  #5  
Old 28th November 2006, 09:03 PM
leigh123linux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alon.albert
I am evaluating a few Linux distributions and was disappointed to find that driver support is still very flaky in the Linux world. The 2 examples I encountered are a WUSB11 2.6 USB Wireless LAN adapter and a Dell FP1901 Flat Panel Display.

Both these devices are rather mainstream. Not new to market or anything out of the ordinary yet the 2 Linux distributions I tried each had a problem with one of them but worked with the other.

Wireless LAN:
Ubuntu 6.06 picked up my wireless LAN with ease and all I had to do was set up the connection properties.
Fedora Core 6 doesn't recognize the WUSB11 and I am required to acquire a driver in source code and compile myself with various issue that go into compiling kernel components - I have not yet managed to overcome all these issues BTW.

Monitor
Ubuntu did not recognize my Monitor and I had to find the Vertical Sync & Horizontal Scan Rate (or whatever they are called) from the specs and edit the xorg.config files manually in order to make use of the native resolution on my monitor.
Fedora on the other hand had no trouble identifying my monitor and came up already set to the native resolution.

Now, I am a big fan of Linux but I can't see Linux ever breaking the consumer barrier if basic hardware components support is not extensive.
This is not a matter of a hardware device not having appropriate drivers, obviously since both were detected correctly at least on one system, it is a matter of each distribution supporting (out of the box) only a subset (I'd like to say small but I have no idea except my limited personal experience) of the devices that are already supported by other distributions.

This is really a shame because it is limiting the spread of the Linux OS to these savvy enough to handle the quirks.
Before you moan try looking in display settings your monitor is supported,
Just because you have to install one or two drivers , If this was windows you would have about 10 - 15 drivers to install plus all your programs that you would have to buy .
When you consider this linux is a lot easier and free.

leigh
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  #6  
Old 28th November 2006, 09:07 PM
Dan Offline
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Quote:
...So how come Ubuntu does include support for WUSB11 while Fedora doesn't?
That's a question best taken up with the Ubuntu developers. Fedora developers do not monitor this forum, so if you'd like to offer them some advice and help, please join the developers mailing list here. http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Commun...ListGuidelines

Otherwise, there is little or no good going to come of arguing those issues here on the community support forum.

Dan
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  #7  
Old 28th November 2006, 09:08 PM
JN4OldSchool Offline
"Sean The Terrible" -- The forum(er) Vista® rep
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alon.albert
So how come Ubuntu does include support for WUSB11 while Fedora doesn't?
They are both Linux and both claim to be FOSS.

The particular hardware devices I am referring to have both been incorporated into an FOSS distribution already. It's not like we have to wait for someone to make the driver, it's already here, it has been voted out for some reason or else omitted as oversight.
Your question has already been asked and answered. Read Tangled Web's post again, maybe more slowely. Look, it is what it is. We understand your frustration, we feel it too, believe me, I am sitting on a Creative Labs X1 that is useless in Linux. It is the price you pay. But your complaining here is worthless. We are not the FC developers, just the users. And a little hint: We LOVE our OS! Get it? Now, you either take FC for what it is, adapt and enjoy using it...or, you just move along. There are distros that offer dirty codecs that you can use or you can just go back to Windows. Most of us have our reasons for being here and the sacrifices dont begin to compare to the rewards.
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  #8  
Old 28th November 2006, 09:34 PM
alon.albert Offline
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Look, I'm not trying to stir up a fight, I just want to understand...
There seems to be an attitude of "Hey, Linux is for serious users, if you can't handle it, maybe you should stick with Windows".

This is not good for Linux.

I did look into TangledWeb's reply but that doesn't seem to address my question. If I was asking about incorporating a proprietary driver or codec that is not freely distributed, I can see the point and I happen to agree with it. This is not the case in question, the driver supporting WUSB11 is an Open Source project (http://atmelwlandriver.sourceforge.net/news.html) so why not include in the distribution?
I did not ask about MP3 codec for example.

As for the right forum, I guess you're right about that one, I'll see if I can raise someone from the dev team about this.
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  #9  
Old 28th November 2006, 09:44 PM
leigh123linux
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just checked out your WUSB11 , its usb only have thought about getting a lan adsl/router most of these dont use drivers .
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  #10  
Old 28th November 2006, 10:03 PM
JN4OldSchool Offline
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Quote:
Look, I'm not trying to stir up a fight, I just want to understand...
There seems to be an attitude of "Hey, Linux is for serious users, if you can't handle it, maybe you should stick with Windows".

This is not good for Linux.
I want to address this because it is so commonplace. I am not trying to have an eleetist attitude or saying Linux is only for the serious user or the geekly endowed or whatever. My kids use Linux, one is only 5 years old. My mom and dad use it. My aunt uses it. Anyone can use it. It is not hard at all. I will argue with you till the sun goes down that Linux is actually EASIER to use than Windows! And fully support that argument with facts and examples! I will also spend the better part of my day in here helping people get their monitor detected or their wifi working (ok, I dont know $hit about wifi...). I love to help, I love to watch new people come in here and learn and grow and stick around! FC is just...awesome!

On the other hand, I see so many people with the wrong attitude. "not good for Linux." Why? It doesnt matter if you use Linux or not! Linux is not a company, a corporation that profits from your using it. It doesnt matter if Linux never grows any bigger than it is now. Part of me says it would actually be better to keep it small. It isnt going to die, it isnt a fad. It has been around for over 10 years now and has a large following. It dominates the server market albeit in enterprise subscription form. This isnt no fly by night operation that relys on what YOU think of it! So many people come in here and shout "Well, I'm going back to Windows..." Well good for you! I feel a bit of a loss for each one, wonder what could have made their experience better, what would have made them stay. But in the long run it all boils down to THEIR attitude. They just didnt have the desire to make it work. They didnt want to take the effort, learn the skills, spend the time. Well, it's their loss, not Linux. This is why I have the attitude I do. To some I may appear gruff or eleetist or callous and not careing if they stay or go. I do care, but it has to be on the right terms. I cant force you to like Linux.
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  #11  
Old 28th November 2006, 11:07 PM
alon.albert Offline
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Well this isn't going as well as I hoped. Instead of addressing my question, I get accused of having the wrong attitude.

Let me clear up the scene a bit. I really love Linux. I've always preferred the Unix OS design to what the folks in Redmond concocted. I agree that for some time now, Linux has been as easy (or easier some would say) to use than Windows - Once you get it going that is.

Linux installation has come a long way in the past 5-6 years. It pretty straightforward and very smooth, until you find your distribution doesn't include a certain driver (Kernel Module some would say) for a piece of hardware you own. Then it becomes extremely painful.

Answer me this:
When has you Son/Dad/Mom/Aunt last had to compile a Kernel Module that for some reason (the 'reason' is what I am trying reason out in this thread) has not been considered worthy of the distribution you selected?

Now, it's true that you have several options here:
1. You could choose another distribution that does support your device. However, that other distribution might not support your other devices. It is not realistic to verify all your devices are supported by a distribution before you select it so you are left with trial and error.
2. You could buy a different device that the distribution does support. Depending on the cost and you financial situation, this may or may not be a viable option.

My question is simple really - It applies to many devices:

If an Open Source driver for the <Insert Device Name> exists and works well as part of Distribution X, Why would Distribution Y choose not to include it in binary form in order to improve the user experience of potential users?
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  #12  
Old 28th November 2006, 11:27 PM
JN4OldSchool Offline
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well Alon, first of all, you are taking my statements way too personal. I am not accusing you of anything, merely making clear my viewpoint. Your question is valid. Number one, we are all home desktop users. My dad and I started the trend 3-4 years ago and have always built our own computers. When i started I had a winmodem on dial up. I had to buy a hardware modem. I also had a paperport scanner with a winsocket. Still have it but as i officially ditched anything MS a week it is now a big paperweight. I had a Lexmark printer. Luckly i also had a HP that worked great. The Lexmark was donated to a friend. Since then I make sure everything I buy works with Linux. You are really blowing the whole thing out of proportion, there really isnt too much in the way of hardware that wont work. Maybe you will need to get a driver somewhere else, or maybe you will have to use nidiwrapper for yopur wifi. Hey, thats life my friend. If faced with the choice you presented I would just roll my own kernel. Provided that wasnt an option or I was incapable I would next try to replace the hardware. If I couldnt do this I would find a new distro. If I had to make a final decision of those three the hardware would get replaced. I wont budge from linux!

Your question just does NOT apply to that many devices (see next statement)

If device A works with Distro X then you CAN MAKE it work with distro y! All distros have their funky flaws. Who knows why. Everyone complains about FC. My FC install is butter, everything works! My Ubuntu install is work, nothing is recognized. Such is life. Windows can rely on vendor installed drivers. Linux doesnt have this luxory. It usually uses kernel modules and the drivers it does use are usually NOT vendor supplied. This means two choices: You include as many drivers and modules as you can in the interest of ease of installation or you make the user get the driver or mod from a repo somewhere. Naturally no given distro can include a driver for EVERY SINGLE device out there. So your own point of a few posts ago is valid: Hey, Linux is for serious users, if you can't handle it, maybe you should stick with Windows. It's not that it's hard to do, but it is going to require some thought and work. If you are not capable of googling a problem, searching a forum or installing from a repo then I am sorry to say you just have no business using linux. In fact, I would say you have no business using a computer!
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  #13  
Old 28th November 2006, 11:46 PM
Dies Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alon.albert
My question is simple really - It applies to many devices:

If an Open Source driver for the <Insert Device Name> exists and works well as part of Distribution X, Why would Distribution Y choose not to include it in binary form in order to improve the user experience of potential users?

Well for starters, Hey how's it going man I hope you don't take the response you've gotten so far personally, I think it has a lot to due with the fact that there has been a lot of similar threads/complaints lately and people are starting to get a little tired of it and defensive of their favorite distro, which is understandable.

But I think the reason you're not getting the answer you seek is because you're asking the wrong people, to really get an answer to that you need to ask the people who work on FC, who decide what gets in, what doesn't and why.

Had you asked for help getting your problem resolved, I think the response would have been much different.

And here's something else to consider aside from FC I use other distro's one of which happens to be Slackware, and when I first install Slack nothing works right and I mean nothing, no network, no sound, no graphics, nothing. So what do I do? do I complain or ask why? no, I just DL the latest kernel and compile it with everything I need and leave out everything I don't. Then all of a sudden I'm rewarded with a machine where everything works and works fast. That's Linux, love it or leave it.
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  #14  
Old 28th November 2006, 11:58 PM
Dan Offline
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OK, guys. Let me jump in here.
Quote:
If an Open Source driver for the <Insert Device Name> exists and works well as part of Distribution X, Why would Distribution Y choose not to include it in binary form in order to improve the user experience of potential users?
That's a question for the developers.

Quote:
...If device A works with Distro X then you CAN MAKE it work with distro y! All distros have their funky flaws...
That's a fact, Jack! But remember that bottled blonde from the other thread!

Hmmm. I don't know if it's Alon, or Albert, So I'm gonna guess.

Alon, there is a lot of validity in what you're saying, but the comparison falls under the "Apples to Oranges Rule." Redhat Enterprise Linux installs most drivers flawlessly, but they (Redhat) have paid the appropriate fees and license agreements to make it so. Windows follows this pattern too. Fedora has chosen to keep the kernel "clean" of license restricted elements. A good choice, I think.

They have, however, made arrangements, through Livna, to provide these elements. They just require a little work. For that reason, Fedora Core may not be your Daddy's distro. We can live with that. However, just like in the Windows world, if Jane Q. Public can't handle the installation, she can always take it to her local Redhat Certified Linux Technician.

The rub, at this point in the growth cycle, is finding one of those in your Main Street Mall. Ergo, the elitism of some of us... is stark raving fear! How many customers can YOU handle... if Microsoft goes Tango Uniform?

Dan

Last edited by TangledWeb; 29th November 2006 at 12:07 AM.
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  #15  
Old 29th November 2006, 12:20 AM
alon.albert Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dies
Well for starters, Hey how's it going man I hope you don't take the response you've gotten so far personally
There is very little I take personally on an online forum I was just trying to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dies
But I think the reason you're not getting the answer you seek is because you're asking the wrong people, to really get an answer to that you need to ask the people who work on FC, who decide what gets in, what doesn't and why.
yes, I realize that. I'll be posting this question in a developer forum later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dies
Had you asked for help getting your problem resolved, I think the response would have been much different.
I don't really need help getting it working. I'm a software engineer by trade and know a thing or two about getting systems up and running. Here's the thing, every few years, I get into a conversation with this or that friend who are hardcore Windows users. I try to convince them to try Linux since it has come a long way since the the day when it was a real chore to install and use. I do this in a hope that they will come to appreciate that Windows is not the only way to fly. Problem is that every time I get them to try, they come across an install issue that strengthens their conviction that Linux isn't ready for the home user. It could be as trivial as adding the Vertical Sync to the X11 config file for their monitor or as complicated as compiling a whole kernel from scratch.

I feel that most of these experiences can be avoided easily with just a little bit of effort. Ideally we would have distribution neutral organization that would aggregate device drivers (modules) where distributions could pool their resources and provide broader support.

Take you Slackware experience: What if your initial Slackware install gave you a system with everything working properly. You could still compile new kernels to your hearts desire but wouldn't your overall experience have been better? For example, you could have downloaded the new sources directly from the new system instead of having to use an alternate system and burn a CD.
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