Open Source

Open source gets the snub from Seagate


The headline says it all.

Seagate comes out with some new drives (320s and 500s - both USB2 drives) that are serious power savers formatted in the NTFS file system that will NOT work with the flagship open source operating system Linux.

Wait a second - these are hard drives. Plain and simple hard drives. How could they not work with an operating system? Well it seems that when the hard drives go into shutdown mode they drop the USB2 connection. When the drives come back from shutdown they reconnect with USB1. Hmmm - interesting. Why would they do this? Why not have the drive come back in the same manner it went down? And why switch from USB2 to USB1? When USB1 tops out at 12Mb/s and USB2 tops out at 400Mb/s, it should (the emphasis is on SHOULD) be a no-brainer. But Seagate opted to make the switch when the drive comes back. Why is this an issue? Well, Windows can handle the switch. Neither Linux or even OS X can.

But what's better - the people at Seagate have no idea how to get around the issue. Good going Seagate. You think you just made some friends? If so, think again.

This is 2007 (almost 2008) right? The whole Linux having trouble with hardware is awfully '90s I would say. That being the case, why in the name of Gates would Seagate do this? Gates...Gates...hmm...could it be? Nah, I won't go there this time.

But seriously - with a serious migration in many countries (and even beginning in the states now) to Linux it would only make sense that hardware makers would open their eyes and see that Linux is indeed a viable market now. The open source flagship is no longer isolated to basements, labs, and hardware too weak to power Windows Servers. Linux is a powerhouse in many forms. And when companies like Seagate pull little snubs like this they are only hurting themselves. Why? Because even though the "World Domination" war cry has been muffled, the opinions and ideals haven't. Linux users see this as a threat and, in many cases, simply stop buying hardware from the company.

Just like me and my family do not buy products from companies that practice animal testing, I don't buy hardware from companies that shun Linux. I don't own Microsoft products (not even an XBox) and now I won't own Seagate hard drives.

And I'm sure there are many others like me out there. No matter what side of the fence you are on, you're a geek and you stand by the tech that stands by you.

Of course it will only be a matter of time before some kernel hacker breaks this flaw in the Seagate drive. And when they do Seagate will roll their eyes and say something like, "Oh, we were about to implement that patch...but our hands were tied."

Ah yes, the old "tied hands" routine. It's pretty played out. But that's okay, while your hands are tied the Linux developers are leaping over your hurdles and winning the race. Slowly but surely. The tortoise and the hare. And even though I am confident Linux will hop right over this lil' setback, I am ashamed at a company like Seagate for putting something like this on the shelves.

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.

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