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Why Dell and other major hardware vendors won't....

by Owyn / March 1, 2007 11:17 AM PST

"Why Dell and other major hardware vendors won't do desktop Linux preinstallation"

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070228-8941.html

I think this article is right on the mark. Some key comments:

"As an individual Linux user, I would much rather see Dell make Windows optional for every computer and focus on ensuring that the hardware components in Dell computers are compatible with Linux in general rather than specific Linux distributions"

"There is still a lot to gain by offering Linux preinstallation, but it's a lot more relevant to large deployments rather than individual purchases. Schools, companies, and public institutions that want Linux preinstallation can already work with Dell's partners to roll out Linux-based Dell desktop systems on a large scale."

"Even though desktop Linux preinstallation may not be entirely practical for Dell, including OpenOffice and Firefox in the default Windows installation is a great idea, and one can't help but wonder why Dell hasn't done this already. It's quite likely that pressure from Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors contributes to the absence of open source software in OEM Windows installations."

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I just tripped over a stumbling block/issue of Linux and
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 1, 2007 11:23 AM PST

It revolves around the source code for WIFI and BLUETOOTH. I went diving around the source trees and came up short in these areas.

It appears there is no source for many adapters but a HACK (workaround) called a NDISWRAPPER.

Maybe no vendor can meed the GPL or other open source requirement for installing Linux?

Bob

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Out-sourced original drivers equals proprietary
by Owyn / March 1, 2007 11:47 AM PST

Linus recently offered free access to Linux kernel driver developers for any device manufacturer who would publish interface specs for their devices. These developers would develop, document, and support Linux kernel drivers for the devices.

In many cases they could not because the firmware for their devices had been developed by 3rd parties who in some cases had used 4th party tools / libraries. Neither the 3rd or 4th parties to would release their proprietary rights.

ndiswrapper is one solution, and sometimes it is the only way to get a system to work with Linux. Choosing components with published interface specs and kernel driver support is another. Not always possible with pre-configured systems, particularly notebooks.

Unfortunately, the closed devices are sometimes the least expensive original manufacturing component.

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