Linux

Linux hardware woes

Jack Wallen finally experienced the frustration of a piece of hardware not working in Linux. Read on to find out exactly what that means to him as well as Linux in general.

I have spent the better part of the weekend finally experiencing what so many new Linux users experience - hardware woes. I purchased a nifty Wacom CTL 460 pen tablet for my budding artist stepdaughter (who happens to refuse to use Windows and will only use Linux - a chip off the old step-block). I assumed it would be a no-brainer to get this small tablet working as Wacom has been supported in Linux for quite some time.

Oh, was I ever wrong. In fact - I have still yet to get this thing working. I've managed to get it to register, I can see it using wacdump but no movement of the cursor. This little experiment has become the current bane of my existence as well as a real eye-opener to the plight of the new Linux user.

You have to remember - it's been a long, long time since I've had trouble with hardware under Linux. I remember my first experience with Linux trying to get a winmodem to work. That was utterly futile (and had me purchasing a US Robotics external modem). But now I am back to that point with a piece of hardware that should work. I have read so many accounts of the Wacom tablets.

With Ubuntu 9.04, it works out of the box. That may be - but Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04 - not so much. I am certainly not willing to regress back to 9.04 just to get a tablet working (especially when it will only be a matter of time before the drivers and the kernel catch up to one another.)

And that is the crux of the issue (and one that most don't understand). Unlike major companies (like Windows and Apple), you do not have a warehouse (or campus) where all developers are working on the same schedule. With Linux you have the Kernel developers working on one schedule and then you have various groups (or individuals) working on drivers for devices. In most cases a group of driver writers (say for the Wacom tablets) will get a device working against a specific kernel (and Xorg release) at which point they will release it in the wild. The problem occurs when a kernel is upgraded which then breaks what the device drivers have worked hard to fix.

As you can imagine, its a veritable see-saw between kernel and driver developers to get devices working against a kernel. Although I have great respect for developers (especially open source developers), this model obvious has it serious pitfalls. I realize there are certain devices that are standard and will always work by default (the mouse and keyboard are good examples). But when something (like the tablet) depends upon:

  • kernel
  • Xorg
  • drivers

It's pretty clear that these teams need to work as, well, a team. When this doesn't happen, things break and users become frustrated. In the case of the tablet, a new user might have given up and gone back to Windows. I will continue until I get it working.

But this tablet issue brings up a very important point. Tablet. The very name inspires people to think of the future of computing. And if Linux is incapable of producing or working on tablet PCs, Linux will face a very uncertain future. This, of course, assumes tablets are here to stay. I believe tablets, in the their current incarnation, are nothing more than a stepping stone to something much better. This means that Linux MUST be able to get over such hardware woes or it's going to have some serious problems.

I believe the kernel, Xorg, and device developers need to sync their release schedules. I know that is nearly impossible as so many of the device developers are working solo or in small groups with no funding. But in the case of tablets - maybe a new team needs to be developed just to try to keep everyone on the same page. I don't really know what the solution is. I know my Wacom doesn't work on the newest release of what is proclaimed to be the most user-friendly of the OSes (I know, I am one of those doing the proclaiming).

Modern hardware on a modern OS that doesn't work. It's frustrating and eye opening at the same time. When a simple input device is seen by the kernel but not by Xorg, there is a disconnect somewhere. That disconnect needs to be fixed or else more and more users are going to experience hardware woes as tablets become the norm.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

160 comments
rwparks.it
rwparks.it

Difficulties getting Gentoo to build on older Presario Compaq laptop. Would boot from CD, but not from HD. Never could get IDE driver to explicitly work. Managed successful build using 'genkernel' setup. Granted this is an older setup, but proved a good testbed to play around with different driver configs.

lescoutinhovr
lescoutinhovr

I think that companies that manufactures hardware should also create the drivers for the majors OSs.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

NOTHING works on Ubuntu 10.04, I nearly ruined my laptop thinking it was my fault. My son looked up Ubuntu 10.04 & found a lot of stuff - erased. He only found 2 of over 2 dozen apparent forum posts on 10.04 that were working, with people saying it froze at the front screen on one computer they used & at a different point on another, & there was a different comment saying that 10.04 tells you to delete drivers but gives you an option not to, & deleting the drivers led to problems. Well, I tried it both ways on a P4 2.5 laptop with 512 RAM & 20 gig HDD, CD/DVD burner, floppy, wifi network card, that worked fine on 9.10. I haven't seen anything new on the Ubuntu site indicating either issues with installs or, of course, fixes to same. If 9.10 works, use it, like I did. I don't intend to try & upgrade to 10.04 until the next version of Ubuntu comes out. I'm still learning, so maybe I missed something, but 10.04 just plain doesn't work for a lot of people - including one Linux genius I know who can turn most any distro inside out but could not get 10.04 to work.

jlwallen
jlwallen

As of today, with the 0.8.8 wacom drivers - the tablet WORKS! here's the steps: download the new driver unpack the bz2 file. issue the following commands: ./configure make sudo make install sudo rmmod wacom sudo modprobe wacom and BAM! it works.

onthego
onthego

I follow the Fedora route (never really became enamored with Ubuntu). When I buy the latest/greatest I've resolved myself that outside of the core component compatibility (e.g. CPU, memory) expect one to two versions of the distribution to go by before it starts working "out of the box" or worse case scenario - minimal administration required. No OS is perfect, the other benefits with Linux outway the alternatives;-)

shido641
shido641

Ever tried implementing asterisk using ubuntu server? I know it's recommended to use centos but i like ubuntu. I worked on it for 3 months and got fired from my job for not knowing what to do even though i had told them i have never even heard of asterisk before the employed me. Anyways i got the thing working just asterisk didnt quite work well with the card. The card was a b410p, and man was it a hassle to get it to work. Even Asterisk support team couldnt help me out, because the solutions they gave to me didnt even work. I had to come up with my own solutions, which got me a working card and asterisk box, but i just couldnt make calls from it, so it was still pretty useless. Nevertheless it was an experience i would never forget, plus i learned alot. Besides that i still love Linux and will continue to be a die hard linux fan

eldergabriel
eldergabriel

Having used and done some programming on various linux distributions over the past decade or so, I can safely say that my top complaint is that the latest and greatest will all too often be "two steps forward, one step back", be it hardware or software in nature. Ultimately, there are few computing experiences that are close to being this frustrating; when something that used to work gets broken or screwed up by an "upgrade". Perhaps I've set my expectations too high... I understand that there is a price for progress, but any developer/group/company, for any platform - proprietary or otherwise - who does not at least attempt to mitigate or avoid such headaches for their end users should either: 1) go do something else with their lives, or 2) be severely flogged. If you truly want people to run/use "it", whatever "it" may be, it should show in the quality of the workmanship and the stability & user-friendliness of the end product. Bottom-line; end of story. I don't mind hacking on something a little or otherwise contributing some improvements, but if it's not at least at a halfway-decent starting point or otherwise looks to be a waste of my time, I'll most likely just forget about it and move on. In all fairness, I have also encountered this type of problem in the world of windoze and macos as well. I'm just grateful that the more recent releases of fedora have been less of a problem for me in this regard. Haven't tried F13 yet tho, so I'll knock on wood to alleviate any triskaidekaphobia before I give it a whirl.

monster_cookie2148
monster_cookie2148

What a great frustration ventilation stream we have started here, with that said, I can certainly understand the author's point on buying an item for his daughter thinking she would be proud that daddy got it going for her only to have to admit that he couldn't right off the bat. Been there done that so many times....as they say. If anything I have learned using computers over the last years (since the 8088 days) is that nothing is for certain. There are those of you that have stated that you never had problems with Windows machines and related driver issues, and those that have never had issues with Linux. Well I got news for those people, buying your machine from the mfg. direct, you usually don't have probs as they have a full staff on board to take care of such issues before it hits the market for sale, and, if you haven't had Windows software/hardware issues, then your still using Win 98 without any new software added since you bought the machine. There are count loads of hardware/software issues listed on the Internet with Windows OS as there are Linux. Mostly there are more issues with Windows than with Linux, main reason for this, Linux is open source. Its easier to fix Linux in most cases because you have a better chance of getting patches or rewrites for Linux then you do for Windows. I have used Linux in some form or fashion over the last few years (since 2000) and in doing so I have had my fare share of driver issues, but none compared to the issues I had with a Windows OS. In fact there are no Windows OS machines in my home or business, don't allow it anymore. And, as far as Linux goes, I don't buy any computer thinking that it will work right out of the box after installing Linux. Face it, anytime there is an "update" or "upgrade" to any software there will always be issues with software or hardware.... it's the nature of the beast. Hardware mfgs don't have staff sitting around waiting on new OS systems to come out just so they can write code, they design their cards, motherboards, etc.... for the need or idea they have at the time, once that portion is done they are off to new and exciting future ideas and couldn't give a crap less if your card works or not with a new OS. That's how they stay in business, it don't work then buy their new one that will, hopefully. Anyone whom is a IT Tech working for (or as a owner of) a company thinking or making statements that Linux is bad for their business or home use, or, anyone not willing to at least try it or learn about it is an idiot and should be fired and sent home. The day will come, and not too far in the distant future, when even Microsoft will have to become open source in order to maintain in the market place. And when it does, those familiar with open source Linux will be the front runners of the IT department within their businesses.

saghaulor
saghaulor

I just bought a new Intel i5 laptop, and oh boy has it been a headache. Out of the box, I had problems with sound, and video. Sound: Speakers didn't work, but headphones worked. I modified alsa-base.conf and got the speakers to work, but then the headphones didn't work. Solution: Realtek had a custom version of Alsa that resolved my issue. I compiled it and viola, no more sound problems. Video: Brightness level will not adjust. Compiz crashes computer. Solution: Someone proposed installing a kernel from the upstream, I'm running 2.6.34, and I still have no brightness level adjustment. I disabled Compiz and I haven't had a crash since. So sometimes there are things that you can do, albeit, a little labor intensive and unintuitive. And sometimes you just pray and hope that your nagging on the forums will cause someone to tire and finally address your issue (which I'm doing with my brightness adjustment issue).

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Sounds to me that Linux in whatever flavor is not ready for prime time. Not enough "tier1" developers making sure that drivers are up to date. It's ok if you want to run some simple tasks.. Yeah, yeah, there are exceptions but there was a significant portion of a business budget spent on making it work. Don't even get me starte on the Apple stuff. I have yet to see a real comprehensive manual for any device. I guess the folks at Apple think that their devices just work. Wrong guys! They sorta work but we need more information instead of having to use the Internet and weed through other people woes on how to make the devices work. Windows is a necessary nuisance for everyone but for the most part you start it up and, it works and with all of it's patching and security holes. If everyone wants to use UNIX, I suggest that you move towards a "REAL" unix kernal; Solaris, HP-UX, etc. At least they have real people supporting them.

akfaka
akfaka

It's sad that Linux is such a confusing OS. For one. there are too many distributions, and the other, hardware issue as this article has stated. How do the Linux developers expect the average computer users to accept Linux? To make Linux a successful OS, the developers must work together make it a one standard and to convince hardware makers to developers to provide drivers. Until then, the Microsoft Windows will still dominate and pollute the computer world with its garbage.

rpr.nospam
rpr.nospam

You can get the "Linux Sucks!" video and the .odp document at http://lunduke.com/?p=429 (it was posted about a year ago). Among other things, Bryan talks about the hardware issues and what should be done to overcome them.

dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

I can't even get the newest version of Fedora to finish installing on my computer. I tried to do a dual boot install of Fedora and XP on a hard drive. I found several instructions for how to do it online, even from Fedora's own site. I followed them to the letter and it still didn't work. Fedora is just too much trouble to be worth installing. No wonder it's free. No one would pay money for that mess.

jbb1
jbb1

...and networks, oh my. I had high hopes for the LTR of Ubuntu 10. Oops. My Cisco router now doesn't see (or admit it sees) half of my computers; I can not use my Samsung printer over the net at all; my Epson scanner is invisible to xsane/sane. These are all well-known brands, are they not? Of course they are! I'm glad YOU had something work out of the box. Most of my peripherals are useless, and I am being dragged, unwilling, back to (argh) Vista.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Try a distro that can't drive a video card. because they refuse to include any non open source drivers. [ and there are two of these distros. Debian and Mandriva. ] Debian won't include a driver if it has a proprietary rom even. Mandriva won't include the proprietary parts, unless it's in their commercial version. They think poor hardware support in the free version will get people to spend money on the power pack version. only one thing I can say about them. eye dee ten tees. sorry, but if a distro doesn't support the hardware in ALL versions they have, then they are not an option. I just downloaded Mandriva's multilib cd, strike 1 was failing to include the rom for the Ralink wireless network card.[ open source driver included, proprietary rom not. ] strike 2 was kde 4. it is still completely unusable. strike 3 is their failure to include the proprietary nVidia driver, the only one that will even allow xorg to run with the 6100 geforce cards.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The way that Microsoft has relied on and by extension, the end users have come to assume is normal is for hardware manufacturers to produce the hardware and the OS interface for it (drivers). The manufacturer must devote budget and developer time to creating software (not there expertise) in addition to creating hardware (there expertise). Between budget and in house developer time, they can only produce drivers for a limited number of OS platforms. Hardware manufacturers have also taken to hiding things in the drivers like firmware that should be on the hardware board. Graphics cards and wireless network are the poster children of this problem. A wireless card may have drivers for multiple platforms but the firmware is only available through one or two. That is if drivers can be reverse engineered or made available at all. Consider the drastic difference between an ATI card on Windows or on a Linux based platform; the card is equally capable, the platforms are equally capable but feature complete drivers only being made available to Windows cripples the hardware. Let the hardware manufacturers provide fully documented interface specs so any platform can implement support for it. Let them focus budget and engineering on making better hardware rather than draining resources for limited drivers. Let them agree on hardware interface standards like Plug And Play was supposed to be. The only reason the manufacturer is in the best position to make the drivers now is because they withhold the information that would allow other developers to base support on documentation. It's far from a lack of development skill existing outside the manufacturer's fiefdom.

jackie40d
jackie40d

I was running the thing in Ubuntu 9.10 and Virtual Box with Windows in it and dumping the finished product out to the shared folder for Ubuntu 9.10 to use

mcswan454
mcswan454

And now we know. Thank You. M.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Double click icon, Click on Run, Next, Next, Next, Finish. :)

kama410
kama410

would pretty much be Windows, wouldn't it? One-size-fits-all, you'll take what we decide you need and like it (or hate it, we don't care), everybody conforms to our standard 'cause we're the only game in town!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The most most-often-voiced complaints about Windows: "Why can't I just load what I want or need and skip the rest?" Then when MS attempts to tailor their licensing to meet these complaints: "There are [u]how[/u] many license versions for [XP/Vista/7]?" My main peeve is the hardware issue. If my hardware worked in a previous version of some distribution, I expect it to continue working no matter what newer version I've installed.

feeshtank
feeshtank

There are no Windows 7 drivers for my < 10 year old Epson scanner. It's USB rather than parallel or SCSI, so the lack of support is cynical planned obsolescence. I've got to use XP and soon only Linux to use it. The other side of the hardware support coin is that old hardware is often Linux better supported than on Windows. YMMV.

Dave51
Dave51

I have had a look at the sane project site and the HP scanjet 3690 is still not supported! It appears that like a lot of manufactures they will not release the source code for the drivers even when the hardware has been superseded.

Jaqui
Jaqui

try PCLinuxOS instead of that garbage distro Ubuntu. ;) it actually does far better than Ubuntu at handling all hardware. and it is a livecd, so you don't even need to install it to make sure everything works.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Mandriva always asked "there is a non-free driver for your video card, do you want to use it?" with my old ATIs and current Nvidias. I'm not sure if this has chanced since the 2009 versions. I can respect them providing things only in Powerpack due to licensing fees but non-licensing limited stuff should at least bin in the Mandriva One liveCD. Mandriva Free, by contrast, has always been the "free as in speech" version that does not include questionable stuff. The initial step of easy-urpmi site for non-free and PLH repositories sucks but at least it's easy. The retail "value added" version should definitely provide all the extra bits and at 70$ or whatever it is these days, it's very reasonable. Debian has just been a matter of including non-free branches and the multimedia repository for me so far. wifi firmware was an easy install, included Nvidia packages and Nvidia directly provided driver both worked like a dream for me. The one thing that pissed me off was my server NIC though. Etch netinstall disk included the NIC drivers but someone decided not to included it in the Lenny netinstall disk.. WTF is that? This is for current hardware in wide use from one of the few server companies that lists Debian as supported by company policy (Thanks HP, that .deb bundle was one reason you got our money). I mean, it wasn't hard to include a floppy image along side the CD image for the ILO install but it should have been in the netinst; the NIC driver is in the main/contrib repository for baud sake so it's not like it's a non-free issue. For my needs, it's not a big price to pay but I wouldn't drop a Debian disk infront of a new user and wish them best of luck when there are better distributions for people who are not going to get esoteric. We'll see how Debian 6 does when it gets more stable later in the year. I'm not entirely eager for the change to KDE4 but hopefully it's more mature by then. I'm also holding hope for newer Alsa with X-FI support. Wireless on the notebook was fine when I gave Testing a go last year though so it should be all set. One oddity though. It turns out my Bluetooth adapter is working fine with Bluez but KDE's bluetooth applet won't make use of it.. booo! I have to give Backtrack3 a go against it to really confirm if the issue is the hardware support or on the application side.

kama410
kama410

The problem I see is that someone has to pay for driver development and there are so many different pieces of hardware being manufactured by so many different manufacturers that it would be prohibitively expensive for the OS designers to develop drivers for every different piece of hardware out there. Not to mention that they would have to be aware that the hardware exists to be able to build a driver for it. The expense is then passed on to the purchaser of the OS, rather than the purchaser of the hardware. That is where the real issue is; the development costs. Even if you are talking about OSS the cost is still there in that the person taking the time to develop drivers is not working on OS features. The problem is that the hardware manufacturers don't see a need to develop drivers for anything other than the OS with the largest market share. I agree about the hardware having at least some of what should be firmware implemented in the drivers and only building a complete driver for Windows, though. That's just trying to save money by offloading processing requirements to the CPU/OS that should be handled on the device. Like Winmodems do, for instance.

kama410
kama410

Double-click icon, get message: You must be logged in as an administrator sparky... Log out, Log in on admin account, Double-click icon, get message: Are you sure you want to run this scary thing because the developer didn't pay us to get it certified and you should be scared of it! Are you really sure? You don't really know what you're doing, do you?, Click shut up and run it damit, click next, click next, click next, click finish. Hope it will work for non-admin users. Special bonus points: forget you are logged in on the admin account and get hacked while visiting some web site that takes advantage of one of the very few security holes in windose/rootkit explorer.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

We'd be stuck with GNU/Linux compatible only with fully open source code (which cuts out most of the desirable consumer hardware at minimum). Thankfully, it was developed under a license that allowed forking.. even if it included the "must contribute back" clause. There may be far more development resources focused on a single distribution or way of solving problems but it may also not have attracked anywhere near the number of developers who've given time to code work. Competition between different solutions is also the reason it's evolved so fast. We have Backtrack and other security distributions trying to one-up it. We Canonical trying to improve new user experiences and competing distributions keeping up or being pushed ahead because of it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

People wanted a more modular install of Windows. Give me the disk and a way to install only what I want. What Microsoft did instead was break out more licensing level of "almost what I" full installs. They should have just taken the full install and extended the customization tree that allows you to deselect optional components.. but, they are a business that manufactures money so the focus was on how they could make it a revenue stream rather than how to best benefit the end user.

mcswan454
mcswan454

Perhaps off-topic. I'm going to relate something that could happen to any of us.... So - 1996 - I've successfully installed a HW/SW setup that allowed a Brother Laser printer to be used with a Windows PC, both provided under a contract to begin replacing their outdated PC's, on a network which used an AS-400 for centralization. The customer was a Municipality, and they were very pleased with my work. Until... Periodically, the Brother printer would spit out 3 pages of blank sheets. No one could understand why. Not even the IBM Consultant they had on retainer (AS-400 guy). I was asked to come in and talk to "him" about the printer. Well, looky here: The AS-400 has identified the printer as a device. It is polling it ("What are you and what do you do?"), because it wants to know what it is. A separate expansion card was added to each PC to connect to the AS-400. Add the generic Laser Printer driver (already stored within the AS-400's driver list) and... . . . Wait for it: . . . NO MORE excess pages; no more pings. An unexpected benefit? The AS-400, could now print to the printer at that workstation! Talk about a boon?! The Heck with those "report" printers, we can do this with the Laser! Their guy (I'll call him "Nick" was being paid $400 US/hr. ME? $110), thanks me for letting "him" learn that he could add peripherals to "client terminals", just by identifying the type and adding the driver on the AS-400 (He'd NEVER tried this before). Sometimes, you DO HAVE to do something different, and I was by no means an AS400 expert. I just reasoned that it knew the device was there, queried why (the excess pages), and tried to adopt it, but didn't know how (no "plug-n-play"). Once we told it what to do... Well the results spoke for themselves. We don't know everything. And an Elitist attitude will not solve issues. Work with me, and between us, we'll make Linux, MS, OSX - WHATEVER - work for our users. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program. M.

father.nature
father.nature

I do have PC Linux OS, and I had to go through dozens of pages to find a driver that made my Canon printer print an entire page in a 3"x4" box. Argh! Two more nights of looking rewarded me with a vague reference to Canon New Zealand, where I found a Linux driver for my Pixma iP4300. No Linux site Stateside had ever heard of it. I just visited the site again; now there are no drivers for my printer there any more. This kind of crap is why I reluctantly gave up on my idea of reviving elderly customers' old machines with a free Linux distro. Windows may be brain-dead, but at least I don't have to tie myself to endless hours of getting their hardware to work after a nuke and pave. I charge for my time; with Linux I wind up giving it away. Then my customer calls and tells me her grandaughter just bought her a little videocam, and she can't seem to get it to work with her PC Linux OS, and I check and it's not supported and there are no drivers and....!!!!!!

santeewelding
santeewelding

I made the mistake of commanding, "Install". Yeah. It's great. Until something goes amiss. Then, I gots to call on someone like you. I sure ain't the hell gonna screw with it.

Jaqui
Jaqui

KDE4 and apps are all about eye candy, not about actually being able to do anything. and the debian not including drivers, well sorry, but when the netinst disk doesn't support wireless and that is the only option for network access, debian screwed themselves over. the mandrivva 2010 miltilib isn't livecd, it's a single cd install only. and nope, no option to get the proprietary graphic driver in it. I even changed graphics cards to force it into redoing the xserver config and offer it, no joy. on this one thing, EVERY distro needs to rethink their policies. They need to include drivers for as much hardware as they possibly can. I know there are drivers that work for my hardware, why is it that only 1 distro will run the devices? [ PCLinuxOS is the only one that does ]

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My ideal would be the vendors allowing there developers to put time into working along side the community developers. At minimum, they can focus on there targeted platform while providing open interface documentation so that other platforms can develop support separately. My mention of respecting standards like Plug and Play was supposed to be also reduces the overhead because the same limited industry standard interfaces would "just work" with the hardware and grow to include new standard features. We all get our hardware supported without platform choice being limited. They get to continue adding and competing on better hardware and features without arbitrarily loosing driver support for older but functional hardware. As for platforms becoming aware that new hardware exists; vendors can tell them. Drop a line to Linux Driver Project "hey, we got a new video card coming out in three months, here's the specs so you can start on drivers ahead of time like the closed platforms get too." It's not like they have new hardware coming out fast enough that a quick email notice or mailing list post per SKU would be overwhelming. "The problem is that the hardware manufacturers don't see a need to develop drivers for anything other than the OS with the largest market share." Exactly and yet there are consumers with waiting wallets who would expand there customer base (or profits at least) if the hardware was not artificially platform specific. There are better solutions like my mentioned hybrid approach focusing on a desired platform without limiting the choice of other platforms to develop there own support. A bigger problem that I see is the hardware vendor's thinking that drivers are part of there competitive advantage. "we can't release source because our competition would see it" or "we don't own the patents in the firmware so we can't release the source package it happens to be bundled with". Broadcom claimed fear of the FCC when asked about it's firmware; folks can modify the hardware and drivers anyway so that's a false sense of security through obscurity. ATI and Nvidia claimed patents but AMD's release of full documentation blows that one out of the water. In Nvidia's defense, they do allow there developers to work on the community drivers and provide a solid closed driver themselves. The firmware excuse has to be the weakest with the amount of hardware that does deliver firmware updates through a flasher utility; motherboards, hard drives, some video cards, mice, phones (off the top of my head). Creative was honest and said "we're not developing this anymore.. here's the source if you want to give it a go." There are additional benefits also. A company that produces computer controlled milling laiths decided to release the driver source and was blown away by the unexpected uses dreamed up for the hardware and additional functions added to the software. Suddenly they are selling more hardware and can channel those profits back into development of new hardware. (pretty sure it was a laith company but might have been an industrial grade drafting printer) Now, from a business point of view; Microsoft is brilliant. They've convinced the world that this is the norm. They get hardware supported outside of there budgets (actually, as a revenue stream through certification of drivers) and they get to raise artificial barriers against competing platforms. They get to change the driver interface arbitrarily from version to version of the platform resulting in more certification fees and imposed early hardware end of life (end of supported drivers). There is no surprise as to why business school grads blush at the thought of Microsoft; if only it benefited the end user more than it limited them.

kama410
kama410

is that I wasn't exaggerating all that much, right? No more than the original Windows world equivalent post, at least.

kama410
kama410

That was kind of my point. And my post was no less helpful or accurate than the original Windows world equivalent post.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll try to remember to report back once I fully understand how to break and fix the issue. It may be as simple as confirmting the .html associations. IE is no checking for default, FF is checking for default, all three "check for updates" are unchecked.. hm.. but there must be a fix if it's not a universal experience (been seeing it since at least FF 3.6.1)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Current FF version is 3.6.3, but I can't remember having the problem you describe in the last five years (since FF 1.0?). I have to run as admin on the laptop, but I run as a normal user on the home PC and haven't had any problems on either. I've disabled IE from checking to see if it's the default browser, I'm not running a shitload of add-ons in FF, and I practice safe browsing habits. If I thought it would help, I'd send you a copy of my about:config.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll have to fiddle around more and see. I've gone so far as to disable update checking within user's profiles thinking it was getting hung up over the update utility.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

No matter the location, links open in Firefox no problem. Desktop, OOo file, MS Office file, PDF. All work just fine. I'm set up, though, so any link from outside FF that attempts to open a page has to be verified. (Foxit Reader is attempting to open the web page at address ...) I'm also set up so that all files except .txt open in the appropriate app, and not internally in FF. One of these settings could be making the difference.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I hadn't taken the time to try and install FF as a regular user account. Really, my only issue with FF currently is that it does not fully integrate with Windows. I open a shortcut or a program calls windows to open a URL and firefox starts then loads the requested website but it doesn't report this back to the system. Keepass returns a "can not find file http://blah" as do other programs calling for the default browser. Now, for me, it's not an issue, I ignore the error, press OK and watch the browser load. For my overly clicky impatient users; they see the error, assume the worst and go looking for IE. "oh, that thing always gives me an error.. it never works.." Bit of a pain when one is trying to mitigate attack surface but can't remove IE from the system.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

In Windows, Firefox installs the executable to the Program Files directory. The add-ons are installed to the user profile.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

shouldn't be installing to a profile directory and yet.. that's how Skype, Chrome, Firefox (I think) and other programs are written. Portable apps will run from any shared storage but at least they don't pollute the registry. Firefox and Skype also manage the install/uninstall cleanly even between user and system installs. Ideally, docs/settings should be mounted non-executable on a separate partition. (we tried removing write and/or executable permissions but valid programs broke)

Slayer_
Slayer_

That is just begging for hackers to make hijacks. EXE files don't need to change, can't be changed while running, so why put them in a user space that can be changed?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

(hm.. wonder if the bad word filter will catch that..) Same here.. MSI mean logging the user out and jumping in as admin unless it's a mass install being pushed out to everyone. I guess I could go to cli and "runas file.msi" or configure a right-click but it's not there by default. Google Chrome has been the most messy between user profiles though. Google needs to remove it's ability to install without admin privileged and fix the install/uninstall engine. I've already a few webdev machines infected with it that should have been done as portableapps so they can be easily removed and don't touch the registry or bizarre directory paths.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Oddly enough, I have had more trouble with MSI installers than standard EXE's. MSI's often fire other processes spawning from a local service, and often have local rights. The other issue I frequently have is things that are different per user, if you tell it to run as a different user, it gets different settings or sometimes, a different version.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Runas (sudo) is pretty handy, even for creating a su.cmd by "runas /u:administrator cmd.com". (not exact command syntax) For running programs Run As is fantastic. The post replying to Rickk does have a grain of wisdom though; even if it is unhelpful and less than accurate. For installs, it's usually better to be in an administrator account. I've seen driver and software installs not go well because it was Run As rather than full login. Granted, it would be a problem with the given installer rather than Windows or the Run As function.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Wow, so hard.... Fking dumbass....

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My point was that there's just no making some people happy. If they aren't complaining about the lack of choice, they're complaining about the number of choices. MS is a case all to itself.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Gotta do something for a break from the abuse of constantly sending out resumes.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Is how you while away your time living in the riverbed under the bridge with a long extension cord while unemployed?

Jaqui
Jaqui

a distro. it will fail somewhere, for someone. [ for me: G.N.O.M.E or KDE4 both are critical failures, either as default gui is a not usable distro. and just try to find a distro that doesn't have either as default gui. :D ] I'm doing a multilib build on the laptop I wanted mandriva's multilib for. guess I'll have to run a minimal cli only no wireless build booting into the cross compile toolchain. can't use the chroot option when the only functional host os is only 32 bits and I'm building 64 bit.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Debian's policy is as much open code as possible with questionable code available through non-default repositories. I can respect that but I'd also go out of my way to avoid hardware that didn't include a wired NIC in addition to wireless. Wireless get's into proprietary firmware and such. I think that should be on the board rather than in the driver code but manufacturers continue to feel differently. If Debian has the support clean in main/contrib without the need for firmware chopper then I'd also agree that it should be in the netinst. Really, that CD/USB image should include every NIC they can possibly cram in; it's the network install after all. (does it's community structure provide you a way to understand the cause of the issue? I'm not sure how approachable the developers are but the policy document stats that it should be open to discussion - not that this helps a new user.) Mandriva though. They used to be my goto distro and new user default recommendation. 2008 seems to be the last version I can really claim for that. Free was a single DVD or couple of CDs and gave me the ability to do a nice clean custom build. I've not been following them closely since though. Shame things seem to be getting worse. I'd hope they had learned from the last time the company let the distribution go and seemed intent on driving away any of there remaining community base.