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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 03-05-2009, 11:54 AM   #1
measekite
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General Hardware Question


If certain hardware whether they be wireless cards, video or sound cards, printers, scanners etc work under a particular distribution of Linux is it reasonable to assume that they should work (and in the same way) under mostly all of the distributions?

When you get below the eye candy and the package managers would you think that there is not that much difference between the distros?
 
Old 03-05-2009, 12:07 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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Well, yes and no. The issue many times is that distro X is running kernel version 2.6.XX while distro Y is running kernel version 2.6.YY. Since distro Y has a newer kernel, it may have more new hardware in the kernel that installs without issue. Not to mention that different distros put different patch sets on their kernels.

Now, having said that, most of the time you can get hardware to install, but it may take some effort on your part, from compiling a driver from source to possibly needing to compile a new kernel. But you can usually get it to run if you work at it...
 
Old 03-06-2009, 04:56 AM   #3
cloud9repo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by measekite View Post
If certain hardware whether they be wireless cards, video or sound cards, printers, scanners etc work under a particular distribution of Linux is it reasonable to assume that they should work (and in the same way) under mostly all of the distributions?

When you get below the eye candy and the package managers would you think that there is not that much difference between the distros?
This site has an HCL, which is the 'Hardware Compatibility List'. Also, HAL is the most common problem with hardware, where the kernel links may or may not work.

Some distro's will run flawless with my hardware, at other times you have to search the Inet for the latest solution for an interface.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 10:20 AM   #4
beachboy2
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As pljvaldez has stated, as a rule of thumb you should have fewer hardware problems with a Linux distro which is using the most up-to-date kernel. Have a look at Distrowatch for full details of every Linux distro, including its kernel: www.distrowatch.com
You can always search on Google or LQ or on a particular distro's forum for compatibility help.
If, for example, you are thinking of buying a particlar model of ready-built pc or laptop (from Dell, HP or whoever), just search around for the experience of other users.
If you are planning a self build, again there are plenty of resources out there to help you.
The main problems with Linux hardware compatibility generally revolve around video cards, sound cards, wifi and webcams, particularly the last two.

The moral of this story is search BEFORE you buy.

With regard to differences between Linux distros, there are differences but it is all down to personal preference and user requirements.
Some users prefer the Gnome desktop, others prefer KDE. The latter will undergo major changes shortly from the traditional style of 3.5.10 to the new look 4.2 (and above). This will no doubt create a split between the KDE “trads” and the “wantitnows”.
With regard to the distro itself, I would personally recommend a Debian based one, simply because of easy access to Debian's large repositories of thousands of reliable deb packages.
Personally, I would always choose a distro that uses Synaptic Package Manager because it is the easiest and most reliable one to use. Thirdly, I would also choose a distro which uses a Live CD, so that I could take it for a “test drive” to see whether I liked it or not, without actually installing it.
Finally, have a look at the particular distro's forum.

To cut down the field for you and at the risk of upsetting others on LQ, I suggest you try Ubuntu 8.10 (Gnome) or Mepis 8 (KDE) for starters. Both these distros have very good reputations for hardware recognition.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 11:26 AM   #5
measekite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post


To cut down the field for you and at the risk of upsetting others on LQ, I suggest you try Ubuntu 8.10 (Gnome) or Mepis 8 (KDE) for starters. Both these distros have very good reputations for hardware recognition.
Curious why you did not mention fedora.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 11:36 AM   #6
beachboy2
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measekite,
Does RPM and YUM answer your question?
 
Old 03-06-2009, 12:46 PM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
measekite,
Does RPM and YUM answer your question?
Well, if that is your answer, its not a very good one. The latest OpenSuSE releases show that you can make a perfectly good RPM-based distro (even after years of making one without good package management, also based on rpm). So I don't see that rpm can be the killer argument against a distro, per se, if some other distro has used rpm and done an adequate job of package management.

Having said that, I still have not tried a recent version of RH/Fedora that I've liked, but I haven't tried the last couple of fedora releases and I've heard that they have improved.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 02:52 PM   #8
beachboy2
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salasi,
I did state at the outset that my personal preference was for Debian packages and Synaptic, so it is pointless to then ask me why I did not mention Fedora.It is my personal preference, not “better than”.
If you or the OP wishes to use a distro using RPM and YUM or any other distro, then that's fine by me.
There's an abundance of choice out there.
I was attempting to assist the OP to “see the wood for the trees” and to give him a starting point in selecting a suitable Linux distro. If Fedora or openSUSE suit the OP's needs, that is good.
I certainly do not want to get into this futile Linux distro A is better than Linux distro B nonsense.
Maybe the next poster on this thread will suggest avoiding all distros which use deb, Synaptic, RPM and YUM.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 06:11 PM   #9
Electro
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All distributions supports the same hardware. It just depends on the distributor if they selected the right kernel options then it should work with your hardware. There are times, you may have to do some fine tuning by re-compiling the kernel. If distribution X and Y uses different kernel version, then you have to upgrade the kernel when you are done installing either X or Y.

Eye candy graphics are equal for each distribution. It matters if you care more for eye candy compared to stability. I prefer stability, so I do not use eye candy graphics.

Each distribution uses different utilities and few uses proprietary commands to either aid or create hell with your setup. Using distributions that uses pre-compiled programs will always creates head aches if you want certain features or you want to take out features. Also some maintainers puts configs in different locations, so there is no standard "how to" for setting them up. There are no guarantees about the reliability when using RPM and DEB based distributions because these distributions does not provide any strict control on the maintainer. The maintainer is freely to do anything they want while making an RPM or DEB file.

I can not recommend Ubuntu because it is unreliable for each setup compared to other distributions that I have tried. I strongly recommend Gentoo to anybody because it stays true to the philosophy of GNU and Linux very well unlike other distributions. I believe users should choose what features they want and do not want for their desire program which Gentoo provides. Gentoo's strict policy for its program database may not always provide the latest program versions. The reason why is because some developers provides a false version that is said to be stable or the maintainer for the ebuild file is not keeping up. Having a strict policy to write ebuilds is a good thing because it helps with repetition, reliability, and POSIX standards.

Gentoo's LIVE disk is not good, so do not always use LIVE distributions to test. You have to install the desire distribution to find out if it works to your expectations.

Arch has the same philosophy as Gentoo, but Arch uses a utility written in C to install programs while Gentoo uses a utility that is written in Python. Arch might be more reliable when libraries and programs are upgraded.

You can pick any distribution. I am just stating a fact about RPM and DEB based distributions. They just do not work well to keep your setup reliable.
 
Old 03-06-2009, 11:39 PM   #10
measekite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
measekite,
Does RPM and YUM answer your question?
No. Are you implying that they are not good?
 
Old 03-07-2009, 03:00 AM   #11
beachboy2
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measekite,
No, that is not what I am saying.
RPM and YUM are fine. Having experienced many different distros, my personal difference is for Debian-based ones. I was suggesting Ubuntu 8.10 and Mepis 8 as a starting point.
Put openSUSE and Fedora in your starting line up if you wish. Get the feel of each and then compare and contrast all 4 for your individual requirements and preferences.
Try Gentoo, try Dreamlinux etc etc.
Good luck with whichever Linux distro you finally decide upon.

Quote:
Maybe the next poster on this thread will suggest avoiding all distros which use deb, Synaptic, RPM and YUM.
Quote:
I am just stating a fact about RPM and DEB based distributions. They just do not work well to keep your setup reliable.
Well, I was pretty close!

Last edited by beachboy2; 03-07-2009 at 03:05 AM.
 
Old 03-07-2009, 06:43 AM   #12
cloud9repo
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Also, in this mix, why not utilize self-compilation. Then, you just fore go the The RPM, .deb, and other customized packaging schemes.

Usually .tar.gz, or other variants, and use gcc to compile your own packages.

Then, the software is compiled specifically for your unit. In .deb systems, it's build-essential, and the offerings in rpm areas are many for the compiling packages.

Slower and tedious in the beginning, but overall faster.
 
Old 03-08-2009, 06:42 AM   #13
beachboy2
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Quote:
I am just stating a fact about RPM and DEB based distributions. They just do not work well to keep your setup reliable.
@ Electro,
Well that means the vast majority of Linux users have been doing it all wrong for several years, by using RPM or DEB, according to your analysis. Somehow I really doubt it.
If you require further repudiation, I suggest you post your analysis on the Debian and sidux forums for starters. Leave the Fedora and openSUSE forums until later, when you have had time to fully digest the replies from the first two.

Quote:
...why not utilize self-compilation. Then, you just forego the RPM, .deb, and other customized packaging schemes.
@ cloud9repo,
Are you seriously recommending self-compilation to inexperienced Linux users? If so, it is a very strange recommendation.
 
  


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