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  • #16
    Originally posted by Joe Sixpack View Post
    Wireless cards, ACPI power states, some integrated card readers, laptop docking stations...

    There are a lot a proprietary devices that vendors don't (and won't) publish specs for. Because 2007-8 ushered in an obsession with laptops (even for people who would be better served with a desktop), this is become even more of a problem. Linux supports my desktop perfectly, but that's because I built it myself, and I chose parts I knew would play nicely with Linux (even down to the keyboard and mouse). But just because it works on *our* systems doesn't mean it works on *most* current computers.
    Well, I've stopped checking whether my hardware works before I buy it, and I have yet to get burned. Okay, I did make sure not to buy any Poulsbo crap, but that stuff sucks on Windows too.

    I know it's definitely possible to get a system that doesn't work with Linux. But I know from my friends using Windows that this happens to them too. They bought new laptops which didn't work with Windows XP (which they needed for software that didn't work in Windows Vista). They bought new printers because the old ones would only print blank pages in Vista.

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    • #17
      To give my own example, my TV tuner card doesn't work in Windows 7. It does in Linux.

      However, other hardware works much better in Windows while the Linux driver is a crap-fest: my AMD/ATI graphics card.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Remco View Post
        Once they get into the mainline kernel, they will have a maintainer, and that maintainer will have to support it indefinitely.

        Some drivers are dropped from mainline. Those are old drivers that nobody uses anymore. If nobody uses a driver, it doesn't get tested, and it will break.
        Which is pretty much like any other OS out there. Closed or open somebody has to step forward to maintain a working solution. In linux there is a crapload of drivers that probably aren't even really used anymore (such as ISA devices, long dead video cards, radio cards, long obsolete networking protocols, bus mice, etc). I would actually like to see the kernel developers 'prune' some of that really old, obsolete, device support and have the developers worry about devices that people actually use now days. There really is no practical reason for the developers to be patching 18 year old soundcard (gravis ultrasound for example) drivers to maintain them with the kernel changes.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by deanjo View Post
          Which is pretty much like any other OS out there. Closed or open somebody has to step forward to maintain a working solution.
          Well, not like Windows. Windows is a very peculiar system, where most drivers are out of tree. Basically those drivers are written once and then promptly forgotten about. The stable ABI makes this work somewhat, but as said, it's not that stable in practice.

          Of course -- to get back on topic -- ReactOS does not have to suffer from this third party driver hell. ReactOS being free software can just port drivers from Linux and maintain them in tree.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Remco View Post
            Well, not like Windows. Windows is a very peculiar system, where most drivers are out of tree. Basically those drivers are written once and then promptly forgotten about.
            That really is an over exaggeration, I don't think I've come across a piece of hardware in windows that has had just one driver release. While yes there maybe after a while few and far in between driver releases but as mentioned it's because of it's relatively stable ABI. The drivers usually for such devices are, as I mentioned before, far more feature rich then their free counterparts and with it usually goes another layer of complexity.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by deanjo View Post
              That really is an over exaggeration, I don't think I've come across a piece of hardware in windows that has had just one driver release. While yes there maybe after a while few and far in between driver releases but as mentioned it's because of it's relatively stable ABI. The drivers usually for such devices are, as I mentioned before, far more feature rich then their free counterparts and with it usually goes another layer of complexity.
              Oh there are certainly a lot of companies that do driver maintenance right. NVIDIA and ATI for example. But many companies will at some point just stop porting over their drivers to the new system. The new products will work fine, but the old ones are not important anymore. I have had a scanner, a USB-LAN bridge, and even a LAN card turn into a brick because the vendor couldn't be bothered to support it right.

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              • #22
                You can be sure that many vendors stop supporting old hardware just to force consumers to buy new models.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Remco View Post
                  Oh there are certainly a lot of companies that do driver maintenance right. NVIDIA and ATI for example. But many companies will at some point just stop porting over their drivers to the new system. The new products will work fine, but the old ones are not important anymore. I have had a scanner, a USB-LAN bridge, and even a LAN card turn into a brick because the vendor couldn't be bothered to support it right.
                  Sure but given the longevity of past windows releases this isn't a big issue usually. I've had products in pretty much every OS out there eventually hit a limit. My Umax scanner for example that was purchased in 1996 ran finally couldn't be used anymore eventually in any OS as SCSI card that came with it was ISA, a PCI mpeg decoder card that did not work with newer revisions of PCI slots, etc etc. Sure I could have bought a new PCI SCSI card and got the scanner going again but at that point it's just cheaper to buy a new scanner which in all but one way far exceeds the capabilities of that old scanner. Fortunately things have gotten better over the last couple of decades and most common items now follow set standards and the days of proprietary interfaces are coming to a close.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by drag View Post
                    Not everybody likes the way Unix works. ReactOS guys typically like Free software and open source, but don't like Unix. Think of ReactOS attempting to do to Windows that GNU did to Unix.
                    Unix has the advantage for implementors that it is a real standard. There exist free implementations, and Gnu/Linix even of course gives itself the freedom to diverge from that standard where necessary.

                    With Windows all you have is a proprietary reference implementation, and the implementation must prioritize compatibility over function, at least initially.

                    For these reasons you both shouldn't, and couldn't do to Windows what Gnu did to Unix. Its more reverse engineering than implementing. If you don't like Unix, You'd be far better off starting from scratch with your own concept, unless of course you think Windows is the most ideal of possible operating systems...

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Remco
                      Yes, Linux now supports more hardware than Windows ever will. The problem is that it's never the question how much hardware your OS supports, but whether it supports the particular hardware that you have.
                      That link made for an interesting reading. Surely Greg sounds very positive and manages to transmit it (I'm not being funny here).

                      But there is some slippery of logic or perhaps focus going on. I'm going to assume that he is right in his assertion that Linux suports more devices than any other OS (he claims to have an independent source but doesn't cite it). Now, this can only mean one of the following: a) I, and others around me, have had real bad luck with our hardware in Linux, while very good luck with our hardware in Windows; or b) we are talking about different things.

                      The first option being possible, the easiest explanation is the second one. Notice how Greg quickly jumps to the usual "Linux is 80% of the world's top 500 super computers right now and we're also the number one embedded operating system today". This is good, but it's not what concerns me the most, and it's not what I was talking about, especially in the context of hardware support of an OS like ReactOS. So to be clear, what I have in mind is desktop PC hardware, not supercomputers, mobile phones, wireless routers or electric screwdrivers. Of course, you may not have the same interests, but I'm pretty sure that this forum is full of people whose primary concern is related to the PC desktop market. Thus, that Linux supports a hell of a lot of all types of hardware devices doesn't translate to Linux having better support than Windows for the devices that me and Joe Average are interested in.

                      Following this line of though:

                      Originally posted by Greg K-K
                      The thing about drivers is the vast majority, the number doesn't matter. You only care about what you have so it becomes personal. What you have is a very small number of devices.
                      I don't understand this. Is he saying that some people have a negative perception about Linux HW support because it just happens that their particular hardware is not supported? That what matters is the bigger picture, i.e., that taking into account every single device out there Linux has the broadest support and therefore those perceptions are baseless? I don't know. What I know is that most people that bitch in forums about Linux not supporting their devices are simple PC users, and when you have a sizeable bunch of them there must indeed be a problem with said support. Things don't come out of thin air. The perception that Windows is insecure, although repeated and exaggerated in some circles, is rooted on certain facts. The perception that Linux hardware support is lacking compared to Windows is also based on the experience of users having problems running their kits in Linux. The rest, like comparing 'out of the box' support, number of drivers included in the installation CD, or number of microwaves running the Linux kernel, are pointless issues.

                      Originally posted by drag
                      The only thing that matters is the hardware support for what people actually use.
                      Heh, yes, that's it. And let me add "and when people want to use it". I won't care very much if in 10 years time my webcam doesn't work in Windows10, but I want to see my parents via Skype today.

                      Having said this, it's clear that Linux hardware support has improved a hell of a lot very quickly. I remember not so long ago an interview with A. Cox (pretty sure it was him) where he stated that Linux wasn't meant for laptops...

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                        Hahah, yeah, maybe he did. But still is not a very good argument. When you consider that most people have Windows because it came installed with their systems you have to wonder what 'out of the box' means. Sure, a Windows installation CD may have less drivers than a Linux one (I don't know), but how many people actually has to install Windows this way?
                        If I would say Linux supports more hardware 'out of the box' I would meant a CD. Afaik many people install Windows using this way.

                        Then, it's funny how the very same people that grab code from git repositories and compile the hell out of their drivers to have basic acceleration then complain about downloading Windows drivers off the manufacturer's site. Go figure : )
                        While they install drivers using git, have only basic features and complain about downloading Windows drivers off the manufacturer's site this can be little funny. However, if someone uses repositories to install fully featured drivers (like nvidia, fglrx and intel) or if they're already shipped with CD it's a different situation.

                        On topic:

                        Does it mean Windows version of Firefox installed in ReactOS will be faster then native one in Linux? Afaik Firefox is much faster in WINE then running native...
                        Last edited by kraftman; 01-19-2010, 06:08 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by kraftman View Post
                          Afaik Firefox is much faster in WINE then running native...
                          That's usually true (~10% faster maybe), but only because the windows builds are built with better optimization.
                          Make a linux build with PGO enabled and compare again!

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
                            That's usually true (~10% faster maybe), but only because the windows builds are built with better optimization.
                            Make a linux build with PGO enabled and compare again!
                            Linux Firefox in inherently slower than Windows Firefox. Optimization has nothing to do with it. It's because some code is different between platforms and the Linux specific code doesn't get as much attention as the Windows one.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                              Linux Firefox in inherently slower than Windows Firefox. Optimization has nothing to do with it. It's because some code is different between platforms and the Linux specific code doesn't get as much attention as the Windows one.
                              Haha got some benchmarked PGO linux builds to back that statement up?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by yotambien View Post
                                That link made for an interesting reading. Surely Greg sounds very positive and manages to transmit it (I'm not being funny here).

                                But there is some slippery of logic or perhaps focus going on. I'm going to assume that he is right in his assertion that Linux suports more devices than any other OS (he claims to have an independent source but doesn't cite it). Now, this can only mean one of the following: a) I, and others around me, have had real bad luck with our hardware in Linux, while very good luck with our hardware in Windows; or b) we are talking about different things.

                                The first option being possible, the easiest explanation is the second one. Notice how Greg quickly jumps to the usual "Linux is 80% of the world's top 500 super computers right now and we're also the number one embedded operating system today". This is good, but it's not what concerns me the most, and it's not what I was talking about, especially in the context of hardware support of an OS like ReactOS. So to be clear, what I have in mind is desktop PC hardware, not supercomputers, mobile phones, wireless routers or electric screwdrivers. Of course, you may not have the same interests, but I'm pretty sure that this forum is full of people whose primary concern is related to the PC desktop market. Thus, that Linux supports a hell of a lot of all types of hardware devices doesn't translate to Linux having better support than Windows for the devices that me and Joe Average are interested in.

                                Following this line of though:



                                I don't understand this. Is he saying that some people have a negative perception about Linux HW support because it just happens that their particular hardware is not supported? That what matters is the bigger picture, i.e., that taking into account every single device out there Linux has the broadest support and therefore those perceptions are baseless? I don't know. What I know is that most people that bitch in forums about Linux not supporting their devices are simple PC users, and when you have a sizeable bunch of them there must indeed be a problem with said support. Things don't come out of thin air. The perception that Windows is insecure, although repeated and exaggerated in some circles, is rooted on certain facts. The perception that Linux hardware support is lacking compared to Windows is also based on the experience of users having problems running their kits in Linux. The rest, like comparing 'out of the box' support, number of drivers included in the installation CD, or number of microwaves running the Linux kernel, are pointless issues.
                                I think it's mostly the difference between old hardware and new hardware. Obviously, there is a lot more old hardware than there is new hardware. Windows supports the smaller set of new hardware, and Linux supports the huge set of old hardware. You don't mind that your webcam won't work anymore in a few Windows releases. I think that's interesting. Many people will grumble about their hardware to stop working, but then accept it and buy new stuff. If only people would accept the same for hardware they just bought! Something doesn't work with Linux? Just buy another one!

                                Heh, yes, that's it. And let me add "and when people want to use it". I won't care very much if in 10 years time my webcam doesn't work in Windows10, but I want to see my parents via Skype today.
                                That's a completely valid concern, and that's where ReactOS may help (though hardware support has improved to the point that I don't care about it anymore). Something like the Linux Unified Kernel project may very well point to the future of Linux. Torvalds has stated that he would merge patches that make Linux compatible with Windows. But I'm not sure how that meshes with his aversion to a stable kernel API.

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