Hardware And Linux

I’ve found getting hardware to work with Linux to be a royal pain. I’m a tinkerer. I don’t mind following instructions to get something to work, especially if I learn about the technology I’m using along the way. But getting a wireless networking card working on Linux, that was truly an exercise in pain. Ultimately I made a LinkSys WPC11 work. Don’t go out and buy one though. You have to get version 3. Most likely you will find version 4 in stores and I never did get that working.

The Discover project aims to correct this problem by providing a number of infrastructure pieces necessary to get better hardware support to Linux users.

Obviously some hardware detection code is needed, and Discover provides that. What gets tricky is mapping the hardware identifiers it finds to kernel drivers, X modules, etc. This is where Discover stands out from it’s competitors.

Discover allows the user to specify multiple sources for hardware mapping information, including remote sources. This could enable the user to download hardware info from a central repository, but also include up to date information from specific hardware vendors.

For instance, a vendor releases a new device for which existing drivers in the Linux kernel will work. The vendor need only provide some XML files which tell Discover how to make the device work. The user needs only add a URL to a file and the device will work.

I like how this arrangement encourages hardware vendors to keep their hardware interfaces open.

Perhaps in the future I will examine how Discover could fit in with the HAL project.

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One Comment on “Hardware And Linux”

  1. Heather Says:

    Hi! I’m just starting to learn about Linux. I’m researching the compatibilty of my hardware right now. I heard Red Hat was good for beginners so I’m looking on their website. Just a couple questions..

    1. I’m not finding anything about HD’s. Are they all supported then?

    2. I did see some compatible motherboards.. Does that mean that certain motherboards aren’t going to work?

    3. What ways (short of writing my own drivers) are available to work around incompatibilites with a particular Linux distribution? In other words, can you download drivers etc or is it not that simple?

    4. I want to put it on its own excusive HD, and sometime after Christmas build a whole new computer for it from scratch. Am I going to have a lot of trouble with newer motherboards?(533MHz/Rambus/ATA 133)

    Thanx


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