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Old 02-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #1
littlebigman
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Question Which distro has the most drivers?


Hello

I need to build a live USB keydrive to send to someone whose Windows laptop no longer boots.

I'm concerned that Linux won't have the necessary drivers for video and network. I've had issues on my own laptop, some that I could never solve.

At this point, which distribution has the most drivers, increasing the chance that this attempt will be successful? I guess RedHat/Fedora and Debian/Ubuntu is my best shot, but I'd like to double-check.

Also, are all the available drivers available by default, or must I reconfigure the distro so all the available video and network drivers are included?

Thank you.

Last edited by littlebigman; 02-04-2013 at 05:51 AM.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 06:36 AM   #2
TobiSGD
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The distro with the most drivers is usally one with a newer kernel, so choose a distribution with a rather new kernel, for example Fedora 18, Slackware -current, Arch, ... .
 
Old 02-04-2013, 06:52 AM   #3
littlebigman
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Thanks. I'll also check Arch and Slackware, although I was under the impression that Ubuntu and Fedora had more drivers.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 08:09 AM   #4
littlebigman
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In addition: What major brands of wifi and video chipsets are known to have issues with Linux, as they either require installing proprietary drivers or simply won't work at all?

I hear that Radeon or Nvidia graphics belong to this list.

Thank you.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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I'm not sure I understand this approach. Why not find out what the laptop is, and which specific drivers it requires? (rather than a distro that contains all drivers for all hardware)

Then you will find a solution that is guaranteed to work (because it has the specific drivers required) as opposed to a distro that will probably work (because it has lots of drivers therefore increasing the odds it will happen to have the required).

Last edited by snowpine; 02-04-2013 at 10:06 AM.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
sundialsvcs
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Dunno ... Red Hat used to have a driver for a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) token-ring card. Maybe it still does.

The easiest way that I have found to start driver-discovery is to boot a DVD distro such as Knoppix, using a recent version of that distro, then do "lsmod" and other commands to see what drivers it picked.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #7
littlebigman
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Thanks. The reason is that the USB keydrive will be shipped to multiple people, with unknown computers. That's why I'm looking for a driver-rich distro.

If the distro doesn't include it, I'll find a way to add a menu item at boot time just to run "lshw" or "dmidecode" and e-mail the output if need be, to investigate why a computer can't display Linux or can't connect to the network.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
snowpine
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Knoppix enjoys a fantastic reputation as a pen drive distro.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 02:18 PM   #9
TobiSGD
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What is the specific purpose of the live system you build? Which distributions are the people that have to use that system familiar with? What is their level of knowledge?

All these questions influence how I would build the live-system (or which already existing live system I would use). If it is data rescue only I would not really care for video drivers, just include the vesa drivers, they work with any card. In the case of data rescue network and storage controller drivers are far more important than video drivers.
This is different if people have to work with the system in a different way, for example if they have to use it as temporary replacement for their work, ... .

In short, please provide more information if you want better help.
 
Old 02-04-2013, 07:08 PM   #10
jefro
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If we knew the specs on the system, we may have a better guess.
 
Old 02-05-2013, 04:28 AM   #11
littlebigman
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Thanks for the infos. I don't have the specs since the USB keydrive will be shipped to people with different hardware, unknown in advance.

It is indeed to help them recover data from their Windows host, so storage controller drivers are indeed more important than video, which I was mentionning because I had my own video problems getting Linux to work on laptops. But if Vesa is good enough to run a basic GUI, I'll go for Vesa.
 
  


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