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Old 12-02-2005, 04:25 PM   #1
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Minneap USA
Distribution: Debian, Mepis, Sidux
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hardware detection - why are some distros better than others?

Just to begin a discussion, although it might just have an answer and no discussion behind it at all, why do some distros have better hardware detection and support than others?

If Linux is open source software, if a lot of the device support is build into the Linux kernel, if distros are using a lot of the same tools/programs (kernel2.6.x; X.Org; other parts) to build their distro... why do some distros have better hardware detection?

A live CD of, say, Knoppix boots fine on my machine and is stated to have "excellent hardware detection," where as Zen, also made from Debian and designed to be a foundation for further building, takes quite a long time to just get to the GUI. Elive, made with Debian, has its issues (it could be the e17 though, but I never get that far). MEPIS has good detection, although I believe that its proprietary. SuSE is claimed by many to install on laptops that no other distro would. Ubuntu occasionally gets the same claim. Distibution reviews will say, "This distro found my XYZ, which distro ABC never could do." Why is this?

Can't this info be shared amongst all distros to come up with something named:
"Realisation Under Binary Applications Toward Ultimate Boot Detection Upon Bootup"?
("RUB-A-TUB-DUB" obviously)
Then all distros can rely on each other's findings to move Linux yet another step away from being "hard to install"

Any thoughts?

p.s. thanks to all who DO make a difference in the hardware detection. We wouldn't be here without you!
Old 12-04-2005, 01:51 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2001
Location: Indiana
Distribution: Gentoo, Debian, RHEL, Slack
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It likely depends on the philosophy, available time, and the overall goal of a distrobution. Perhaps they want you to take the time and build yourself a kernel for your hardware so their hardware detection gives you just enough to boot and recompile. Since a lot of distros are maintained in part/all by donated time, maybe it isn't high priority by the developer or as high a priority as stability.
These are just my ideas. Since I use gentoo, the overall attitude is "Customize the system yourself". Even though I believe they have good hardware detection, I could see them not worrying about it as they are going to assume that you will build a custom kernel or use their genkernel utility to create a kernel with every modules known to mankind.

Last edited by musicman_ace; 12-04-2005 at 01:53 AM.


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