It seems that the interesting Linux and computer hardware stories today are never ending... Today Novell has announced a new device driver breakthrough that they claim will accelerate the Linux adoption. This new design, which will be integrated into SuSE Linux Enterprise, is designed to provide the Linux drivers from the manufacturers to their customers directly and transparently. Novell has stated that other Linux distributions will be able to partake in this new Linux driver process as well. Novell's new Linux driver process will ship with SuSE Linux Enterprise 10, and is currently available in SuSE Linux Enterprise 9 SP3. Below are a few of Novell's words on this new driver process. More on this is at Novell.
With the Partner Linux Driver Process, Novell has created a clean and integrated infrastructure for partners to provide drivers for new hardware independent of SUSE Linux Enterprise release cycles and distributed media. Novell has also defined a process where partners can provide to customers driver updates corresponding to kernel updates (security or bug fix related). All a customer/administer must do is to register an "add-on product from a separate medium" (physical or online) which contains the driver, either during initial install or before updating hardware, and the rest is magic: the driver package is associated with the detected hardware and is automatically installed. The add-on product also "knows" where to get updated drivers and when a security update is installed, the system management tool coordinates the SUSE Linux kernel security updates with the vendorís driver updates. If updated drivers matching the kernel version of the security update are available, YaST will fetch and install them alongside the security update, else it will interact with the user and guide them on how to proceed.