I really get ticked off by writers who assume something and produce shoddy work. Matt Hartley ticked me off today in “Problems Linux Enthusiasts Refuse to Address“. His thesis:
what I find frustrating about the entire process is that nearly all of the Linux distributions targeting new users don’t bother to explain the challenges that exist with using â€œmade for Windowsâ€ hardware combined with their distro.
The fact is the vast majority of hardware works with GNU/Linux these days. Dell demands it. HP demands it. Lenovo demands it.
There is little hardware “Made for” that other OS out there. Almost everything these days is made for x86 PCs including those that will run MacOS and GNU/Linux. I have encountered a number of modems that only had drivers for that other OS but they are easily replaced for $20 these days. I have seen a few printers with no simple way to run on GNU/Linux but they are very rare. The last place I worked had a dozen different HP printers and all but one worked with GNU/Linux. We did lots of printing and never needed it.
So, hardware compatibility is an issue to be dealt with if it arises. Otherwises it is just more information overload for new users. They would have the same issues migrating from XP to “7”. It’s not an OS issue but an issue for the hardware makers. There are a bunch of OEMs in the Linux Foundation. Does anyone believe they would be there if they did not care whether their equipment worked with GNU/Linux?
Here they are: HP, Fujitsu, Toshiba, LG, Dell, NEC and there are a bunch that make ARMed stuff too.
Linux hardware compatibility is quite good enough that it should not be a concern for newbies. I remember HCL at RedHat but I haven’t needed that in five years or more. RedHat doesn’t seem to bother except for server parts. It’s just not worth the bother. Here’s what Fedora writes about HCL:
This project has been axed in its early stages as a fair amount of the Fedora community decided that with todays development pace and the vast amount and range of hardware available, an official HCL would be a waste of resources. Other ideas were thrown about including an ‘Hardware Incompatiblity List’ but these have been dismissed also.
Due to the nature of open source, Doncho and I are free to continue this project if we wish, and Doncho may continue to do so, but I no longer feel motivated to continue without the Fedora Documentation Project and the majority of the Fedora community behind me.
The Hardware Compatiblity List as last updated in Early January 2005 stands below. Feel free to resurrect and maintain it if you feel compelled to do so. This is the land of the free.
No one needs an HCL these days. If there is an issue Google is your friend. GNU/Linux is ready for newbies. My wife, who is perpetual newbie only asks me about one question a week and none are about hardware compatibility.