Debian & The FSF Launch A Linux Hardware Database
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 8 September 2014 at 05:02 PM EDT. Add A Comment
HARDWARE --
The Free Software Foundation and Debian have hooked up to help free software users in the search for finding Linux compatible hardware... In a different approach from the other Linux compatibility lists and hardware databases, they are only promoting hardware that doesn't require any proprietary software or firmware.

Unlike other Linux hardware resources -- including Phoronix and OpenBenchmarking.org -- the FSF/Debian joint venture of H-Node.org is only about hardware not requiring any binary blobs down to the firmware level. Their database lists both complete systems as well as individual components from WiFi adapters to graphics cards.

To contribute you must also be running one of the Free Software Foundation endorsed distributions: BLAG, Dragora, Dynebolic, gNewSense, Musix, Parabola, Trisquel, Utoto XS, etc. The announcement of the hardware database can be found via FSF.org.

While the concept is nice of a listing for only pure FSF-friendly hardware that doesn't even require firmware blobs, H-Node.org could use many improvements. The flow isn't optimal, listings span many different pages for each component type with each component listing taking up sizable screen real estate, etc.

With being driven by user data, the quality of each listing isn't too useful. Some AMD graphics cards shown are listed as "works with 3D acceleration" but in reality with these modern GPUs there is still the closed-source AMD firmware blobs needed for hardware acceleration. Their graphics card listings also don't cover matters like video acceleration, power management, and other functionality. There's also NVIDIA graphics cards listed as working although they're next to useless until the Fermi/Kepler re-clocking support is furthered along.

At the moment H-Node.org has 29 users with a total of 409 notebooks listed, 218 graphics cards, 113 Ethernet cards, and a handful of other component types supported.

What's your thoughts on H-Node.org? Let us know in our forums.
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About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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