Phoronix: Linux Driver Support Still Leaves A Lot To Desire
A few days ago when I shared the biggest problems with Linux as judged by the Phoronix community, at least a few people took issue with the fact that some of the ugly issues with Linux were pointed out...
I have no choice, I have to contradict the majority (or all of) that list.
-Point OSS drivers are slower: So what? They're plenty fast enough for the VAST majority of users, who DON'T use their computers for stupid crap like playing games.
-Point OSS drivers have fewer features: Same as previous point -- SO WHAT? They do what they need to do.
-Point difficult to configure drivers: Huh? Not at all. KMS = automatic config in VAST majority of cases, tweaking at GUI System Settings --> Display.
-Point difficult to upgrade drivers: Couldn't be more wrong. "yum update" --> Done.
-Point documentation != developers: Development is plenty fast enough to satisfy virtually everyone.
-Point same-day support: It is impossible to ACTUALLY HAVE hardware on the same day it is released, so this point is irrelevant.
-Point features not implemented: Duplicate of point 2.
-Point linux power consumption > microshit: LIES. I briefly ran microshit7 on my newly acquired laptop to update the BT module in my car... it ran the CPU fan at no less than 50% the entire time. Installed Fedora 17 with discrete GPU disabled, and fan OFF 90%+ of the time, briefly comes on MINIMUM speed when the temp exceeds 40. I DARE YOU to tell me that its using more power in Linux.
-Point sound cards slow to support: Never heard of this before. Every sound card I've EVER seen has worked fully out of the box.
-Point poor printer support: That's really REALLY funny... because I just did a fresh F17 install on my new laptop, and I didn't have to do **ANYTHING** to set up the (NETWORK/WIFI laser) printer. File --> Print, and guess what? It already had the printer configured without me having to DO ANYTHING.
-Point poor peripheral support: If you have ever seen a keyboard or mouse that did NOT work in Linux, let me know about it and I'll tell you how to PLUG IT IN. MUCH more unusual equipment than a simple keyboard or mouse works perfectly.... scanners, webcams, etc.
web cams work (strangly, I have several computers with webcams, including laptops built in, and the all work 100%),
Even a BLUETOOTH 3 modules -- working.
No weird drivers, nothing to install.
Just drop in the install disk and EVERYTHING is up 100% without exception.
I'm not saying your criticism is unfounded but it does show that you are biased towards modern gaming hardware. Gaming hardware is usually made for windows, hence the driver trouble.
As I'm no gamer, do not care for Creative soundcards or high resolution mice I find linux driver support far better than in windows.
Also often the Linux driver is better than the windows one, they get more testing because kernel drivers support a certain chip while win drivers support a certain manufacturer's card.
Thanks for banning Quadri-whatever by the way
Yeah, I'll take stable drivers over bloody nightmare any time.
And as everyone has experienced, drivers on Windoze, while possibly "available" are rarely convenient to "make work". Most people familiar with wondoze have had the experience of FIGHTING it to get the drivers working. Here at work, one of the network printers is COMPLETELY UNUSABLE for wondoze, because the drivers, though they "exist", simply do not work.
Also a fun time trying to make any graphics card drivers actually work in microshit. I'm sure that most people are familiar with the problem of having the drivers "installed", but the stupid piece of shit refuses to apply them to the hardware.
The thing with driver problems is that it affects only certain hardware. Many distributions (Ubuntu, RHEL and SLED) already have certifications programs for hardware vendors. Unfortunately this is still mostly limited to high-end hardware and I think it's something that Canonical for example should push futher. Linux can never have support for all the hardware in existence but it sure can support thousands upon thousands of different combinations. Having standardized Linux driver support certification process is something I would go after. Most printers and many network cards already have the Tux logo and this could be extended to cover just about everything.
Your point about printers is utterly baseless, if there is Mac OS X support there should be linux support considering both use CUPS. Unless of course if the printer requires some fancy config program that is OS X/Windows Only, and if that is the case then its your fault for buying a crappy printer. No printer of any worth has a required UI like that because there is no option they couldn't/should't just provide via the OS's built in printer config.
As for graphics and other such drivers, because linux uses chipset drivers rather than per vendor drivers many things just worth whether the vendor cares about linux or not, this is a huge bonus and it means many devices are just plug and play. Plus this allows for supporting odd configurations like the Wii's wifi chipset being attached via SDIO rather than PCI.
I agree with the criticism on Linux driver support, but there is an important thing to point out: Windows has better driver because it is by far the most used desktop operanting system, it is obvious that hardware producers will provide a good Windows support, otherwise their hardware will be useless to 83% (if i recall correctly) of people.
Saying that Windows itself is better because companies develop more drivers for it means ignoring the last 25/30 years of computer science history, we are not talking of comparable products, Linux wasn't on first generation pcs (and in second, third etc.), once the reference platform was estabilished (Windows), Linux can't be fairly compared. I'm sorry for my bad english, i hope that it's understandable.
p.s. Just to try to explain better, we have a "reverse situation" with Android, it started before the latest Windows Phone and now there are more applications for it (obviously the mobile device "boom" is quite recent and things aren't completely estabilished). The principle is the same.