Is there a Linux system that has firmware.

By tedsnyder ·
Is there a Linux system that has the necessary firmware and/or reference material to guide someone through switching a PC from windows to Linux?

I just dumped XP and did a new install of Unbuntu 9.10. Now I am wading through the hundreds of reams of info on how to get my wifi and network card up and running again.

Before we can get the world to take Linux to heart we need software that is hardware ready.

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by TheChas In reply to Is there a Linux system t ...


Firmware is the embedded software such as the BIOS that operates the motherboard and devices. As firmware is pretty much machine code, it is OS neutral.

Now the driver, that is the software that, to simplify things, translates between the machine code firmware and the high level OS.

What you need to do is what we used to have to do for DOS and the early versions of Windows. Research your devices and only use devices where the manufacture offers Linux drivers.

Even for a Windows upgrade or a clean install, it goes a lot smoother if you make sure that all of the hardware is compatible with the new version and that you have all of the correct drivers.

Actually, the big problem for all operating systems is that each new piece of hardware requires it's own unique driver files. Of course, if we restrict what device manufactures can do with the hardware so that new drivers are not required we would cripple the implementation of new devices.

Catch 22.


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Well WiFi has always been a problem even with Windows

by OH Smeg In reply to Is there a Linux system t ...

As the Chas said above you need the correct drivers and unless you have some really obscure Ethernet Device Ubuntu generally installs itself and just works on Wired Network Cards at least.

Though with any Nix Distro if you want to communicate with Windows Computers over any sort of network you need to Install Samba.

As for WiFi Drivers if you care to list your WiFi Device I'm sure that it would be easy enough to find a Suitable Driver if it's relatively new. Of course really old Hardware is always a problem but most of the newer stuff has Nix Drivers freely available.

Of course if you want to compile the Driver from Scratch that is a different story but if you are not wanting to do that it's just a matter of getting the right Nix Driver for your Hardware exactly the same as it is for all forms of Windows.


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Well Linux is not mature either.

by tedsnyder In reply to Well WiFi has always been ...

I must admit that I was fishing for someone to defend Ubuntu or Linux. But what I was hoping for was someone to tell me that there is batter release of Linux than Ubuntu.

Let's face it, if Ubuntu is one of the best people are not going to switch when it missing components to configure essential hardware.

No I don't think a two or three year old system is too old to include drivers for. As a matter of fact a ten year old system should have all of it's internal hardware supported.

I keep hearing how Linux is superior to Windows and I agree it is in most areas. But until someone makes it user friendly for the 'not too technical' to use it will never be a competitor for windows.

Thanks for the replies guys. I will enjoy Ubuntu 9.10 on my old sys with Broadcom BCM 4311 and Intel Pro/100 VE network card even though they are not important enough for Canonical to include in their base installation.

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new windows won't even support a 10 year old system

by Who Am I Really In reply to Well Linux is not mature ...

I had a bit of a giggle there;

"As a matter of fact a ten year old system should have all of it's internal hardware supported"

Try installing a fresh copy of vista or 7 on a 10 year old PC, it won't even load because a 10 year old PC will only have a CD-ROM not a DVD-ROM,
I know because I have 2 Dell Celeron Lxxx Series one from 1999, L433c and one from 2000, L500cx and checking the system requirements for even a DVD-ROM never mind an RW the minimum is P3 - P4 depending on the drive Mfg.
and neither of these will run a modern Linux either because the integrated Intel 810 Graphics chip isn't supported, any time I've tried a boot / live CD it just hangs and leaves me with a blank, black screen after telling me that the graphics hardware isn't good enough.

But both of these machine handles win2K SP4 fairly well, (even with some newer hardware, a 6 port PCI USB2 card)
and I'm certain that they would do well with a Linux Distro that's 5 or so years old.

a 10 year old system barely has enough oooomph! to boot and run XP never mind Vista or 7,

that's the nature of the computer industry, if all that older hardware was supported in the most recent releases then who's gonna buy the new stuff at outrageous prices, when you can get a lot of this old stuff for free or nearly free?


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Pretty pie in the sky, huh?

by tedsnyder In reply to new windows won't even su ...

I have heard for years that Linux should replace Windows as desktop OS, any minute now. But without someone thinking outside the traditional box and just going along to get along, it will never change.
What is needed is some one that can address multiple needs of non technical people and forget trying to be the fanciest thing on the block. most consumers don't need all the bell and whistles that Linux or 7 have to offer.

I guess the vast majority of us ignorant people will have to struggle along with our XP and 2000 systems hoping that someone will make an OS that can work on CD-ROM and DVD-RW at the same time.

How ridiculous of us to want the same system on all 5 of our systems regardless of their age or manufacturer.

A joyous Lord's birthday.

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PC Life Cycle

by TheChas In reply to Pretty pie in the sky, hu ...

Whether it is printers or computers, the PC industry is pretty set on a maximum of 5 years of "normal" service being the support life of a product.

If your printer is more than 5 years old, you can pretty much expect that there will not be a Windows 7 driver available for it. Sure, Windows 7 might support it in basic print mode. But forget about advanced features and functions. However, the printer manufacture will gladly sell you ink for years to come.

Basic PC hardware follows a similar trend. New versions of any OS are written on the fastest most powerful systems that can be found. Then, some low level programmer or tech gets to verify the basic functionality on the 75 or 90 percentile hardware that the company hopes to work on.

And just look at OS size creep. While DOS 3.1 would run off of a single floppy, you need 20 GB of free hard drive space for a basic installation of Windows 7 64 bit.

Then look at application software. Do you write it for the oldest system and loose the top end new customer to another company that opted to go for the latest and greatest system. Keep in mind that most people with PCs that are over 3 years old buy very little new software.

Of course, some of the concerns you sight are why Microsoft and some other companies would like to change the software model from purchased to subscription based. That way, when they decide it is time you would have no choice but to upgrade your hardware if you wish to keep on using a computer.


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by santeewelding In reply to PC Life Cycle

I didn't need to know all that. I don't like knowing all that. I don't want to know all that.

But, thanks for reminding me.

Damn you.

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Don't Like It Either

by TheChas In reply to Chas

I don't like the reality of the PC lifecycle either.

We have systems running on pre IBM PC configurations because we cannot get funding to rewrite software.

Not that I am advocating this, but if computers were classified the same way as major appliances, the manufactures would need to provide support for a minimum of 7 years after the last sale of a model.

In reality, all that extending the support life would do would be a combination of higher prices and companies going out of business to avoid the support costs.


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Well I'm not a great Ubuntu Fan as I personally don't like it

by OH Smeg In reply to Well Linux is not mature ...

But it is one of the easier Nix Distro's that many people like to use. I personally prefer Free BSD which is what Apple base their OSX on.

But that is just more from a security point of view. However what you need to understand is that there is no OS that will support 100% of all available hardware. M$ Windows certainly can not but many people think that because they use a System Makers Slipstreamed Install Disc with just the drivers for their Hardware that Windows is great and just installs. Well it doesn't and with those Slipstreamed Install Disc's from the System Makers you don't get a full copy of Windows and you are very limited in what you can do with them.

Nix on the other hand tends to work better than Windows when it comes to the initial Install as it doesn't require a lot of Drivers unlike Windows. Most times you need to install Sound, Video, Chip Set on a bare system before it even begins to work acceptably. Then you need to look for Network Drivers and whatever else is needed before you even log onto the Windows Update Servers or run the risk of whatever driver you require not actually installing.

As for Linux Systems if the computer originally came with a Linux Distro Installed the Recovery Disc has the necessary Drivers just like the Windows Recovery Disc's supplied by makers do so it's not really important.

The only problems start to appear when you attempt to install a different OS to a system that didn't come with that installed this is exactly the same for changing the version of Windows Installed to so it's not a big deal really.

As for the talk that you are hearing that Nix will replace Windows that is just talk. Till the Major System Makers start to walk away from M$ and their Licensing Agreements Windows will be the OS of choice for Desktop Systems and that's not going to change in the short term one little bit. The high end Servers and any Specialized Servers are a completely different story as that is where Nix excels.

Personally would you feel comfortable with your preferred Bank if you knew that all of the Back End Servers that they used where Windows Servers that where exposed to the Outside World with your money being venerable?

As for other Distro's Mandriva

and SUSE

Would be my first choices though many others like Mepis

and Fedora

But it all depends on what it is that you want to do with the computer. Different Distro's are better at some things than others as this is a reflection of what their Developers see as Important.

As for your listed Hardware the Intel Ethernet Driver should be installed by Default but the Broadcom one need some work look here for help with that one

edited to add If the Intel Driver wasn't installed the only thing I can think of is that as 9.1 is so new they may have dropped support for some hardware and a older version like 9.0 would be a better fit for someone who doesn't want the hassle of finding/installing drivers.

You may very well find that, that does exactly what you want it to.


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