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Shopping For Linux Compatible Hardware

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  • #71
    Originally posted by laryllan View Post
    Nice idea.
    Hopefully I can buy there too (living in Europe).
    I'd say +1 on this. The shop idea is a good idea, but is rather US-centric, because when you import things into the EU you have to pay rather random and high taxes.

    If the store shipped from inside the EU and had reasonable shipping costs I'd see myself using it a lot, instead of sometimes randomly buying parts and praying they are supported (even after doing research it is very hard, damn vendors that don't change part numbers for different parts...).


    • #72
      How about starting with a list of sellers who are interested in being represented. Each part can then have a list of the sellers who will sell it to you. Links, discounts, kickbacks, whatever. Then you can pick your favorite seller. Don't bother with prices, they depend on shipping costs, it's just too much hassle to keep them current, and some high-volume buyers get discounts.

      And you can have asterisks or footnotes or whatever to denote:

      - this hardware has a required closed source driver
      - this hardware has an open source driver, but it works better with the closed source driver
      - this hardware has full and open specs
      - the driver for this hardware is maintained by its manufacturer

      and maybe even

      - Linus uses expletives whenever he talks about this hardware


      • #73
        Originally posted by frantaylor View Post
        Same with open source drivers:
        My Gravis Ultrasound card is not supported by Fedora any more.
        My old Pentium machines are not supported any more. I had a nice old SMP '486 motherboard, solid as a rock, but now totally useless.
        How about those old non-IDE CD-ROM drives? Not supported any more.
        Over the years I have taken many many old computer parts to the recycler because they are not supported by Linux any more.
        as i said earlier, old stuff is deprecated, but usually when there is no one that wants to maintain it. not when some corporation doesnt feel like it. the life span of open source is longer than closed source.


        • #74
          Originally posted by frantaylor View Post
          I defy anyone to put together an "open source" computer.

          When you turn on TCP checksum support in your Ethernet card, you are relying on the closed source microcode in your
          Functionality in your computer is a combination of the microcode in your peripherals being told what to do by the OS driver. The line between the hardware and the software is pretty arbitrary. Imagine a card that does everything in microcode. The "open source" driver merely stuffs commands into the registers of the card and says "do it". Since the card has DMA access to your computer it can do just as many evil things as a closed source driver.

          Look at the situation with USB wireless devices. Some of them have their firmware built in, and they are "good". Others require the firmware to be downloaded, and they are "bad". I really don't understand the distinction.

          There are open source drivers that were written by employees of the companies that made the hardware, and they had access to documents that are not public. These are in the same boat as closed-source drivers because we are at the mercy of the manufacturer to update the drivers.
          i dont doubt what you are saying. and as i understand it, the microcode is more like the bios, but loaded from the driver. and that doesnt change much, but if an an open source driver knows how to talk to it, then it can be updated with the kernel or what ever (xorg). computer firmware or dos-pc-bios is mosly proprietary and linux has always worked with it. it would be nice if that were open, but still useable either way.

          i know some wireless firmware is bad. i dont know the details of that. i have a broadcom wireless in my laptop, that was a long wait for it to work. thats something a user looking to buy will want to know: will i have to wait years for it to work, does it work, and will it continue to work.


          • #75
            This is a good idea in theory. I'd definitely use it but it would have to be kept up to date. Not only do some devices get better support in later kernels/drivers but also some support gets worse or is removed altogether (this happens in kernel as well).

            I'd be interested in using this to buy my next dvb card/stick. My current card supports linux but has had a minor problem since kernel 2.6.28 and DVB-T2 is launching soon in Britain. It can be quite difficult keeping track of what hardware revisions are linux compatible but another problem is that some manufacturers sometimes change the internal hardware without changing either the packaging or model name/number.

            I'd like products to have several ratings. 1-10 for closed source driver features. The same again for open source. Also a comments box for each stating things like which kernels or other software (i.e.xorg-server) are and aren't supported.


            • #76
              Ok, the idea might be nice, but:

              a) Amazon might be more expensive than some cheaper vendors.
              b) How does this work from Germany ? Is it possible to use this shop in countries other than the US? (w/o an premium like shipping US to Germany, troubles with german customs, etc.) I know this issue when I ordered books from Amazon US (that were not available in German bookstores)

              So I might not use this shop.


              • #77
                There exist many hardware compatibility lists, but a dedicated Linux-supporting store does not exist so far as I know. If it ships to Israel, I would gladly make my purchases there.


                • #78
                  Gold for open, Silver for closed, Copper for partial/troublesome...

                  I would like if Amazon and other shops would add some sort of "Phoronix tested" image (linked to the respective article).

                  Something such as Gold for hardware with open driver (these work out of the box), Silver for well supported but closed driver (these work after you install their driver), and Copper if the hardware driver (open or closed) has only partial/incomplete support, or takes a lot of effort (requires extracting a binary blob, etc).

                  Also i would like to remind, Amazon might be US centric, but then Newegg is almost xenophobic. They won't accept foreign credit cards, even if shipping is done to an US address, but i can purchase in Amazon just fine and send the packages to a remailer.

                  Someone talked about obsolete hardware not supported, hey, you have two options: You can use a distro which uses old kernels, or you could switch to netbsd/freebsd. Here the "Gold" (open driver) gives you a very high chance that this device will work in other, non mainstream OSes such as netbsd.

                  A shop promoting vendors such as ZaReason, System76, Always Innovating which sell preinstalled is key for adoption. The ARM wave of "Smartbooks" is about to hit, and these will only work with open drivers out of the box.

                  A buyer in that shop could pick a ZaReason machine with a couple of "Phoronix gold" peripherals that would "just work" out of the box (Many HP printers, etc). completely avoiding Microsoft tax.


                  • #79
                    I would love to see a linux phoronix store. I personally hate having to find random websites to see if whatever I am gonna buy will work in my machine. It would be worth a little extra money to me if I didnt have to do all that research.

                    I would love to see some wifi linux testing in this store.

                    I personally would want to buy a video card with good open source drivers in it. Seeing open and closed rankings would not hurt either.

                    I really hope this idea comes into reality, I would also feel good about giving back to the phoronix. I'm not big on subscriptions or donations, sorry.


                    • #80
                      Originally posted by mattmatteh View Post
                      i am only suggesting that closed source is left out since it has a much shorter life that open source. when i buy hardware i expect a long life out of it.

                      I've had more hardware suffer hardware failure than suffer from driver death. In fact I don't know that I have any hardware that's suffered death by disappearing binary support. The cards that did not suffer some hardware failure are still supported by NVidia's legacy drivers--which were even updated at the start of last month.

                      I think the lifespan is plenty long enough to be relevant. It's not nearly as short as you have everyone believe with that FUD.

                      Also, since we're measuring "support time" don't forget to deduct the years of non-support at the beginning of a product's life span that open source sometimes just doesn't cover. For example some would argue that the open source support for ATI cards is just now starting to come around. Yes I know you've been able to wobble windows on your cube for quite a while, but some of us like to do a bit more. If that's the case then how can you say that the life span is longer when the relevant part of the support has yet to happen?

                      If you want to say that you have moral reservations about including information about closed source solutions, I'm fine with that and can respect your opinion.

                      However the "oh nos! your driver is gonna breaks at the mercy of the evil corps!" argument is borderline on FUD: Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, a marketing strategy involving the spread of worrisome information about a competing product.