Greg KH's keynote
Posted Jul 31, 2006 17:41 UTC (Mon) by wilck
Parent article: The 2006 Ottawa Linux Symposium
I admire Greg KH for his excellent style, humour, and ability to assert things that everyone in the audience wants to believe.
Linux supports more devices, "out of the box", than any other OS ever has.
That's probably true, but it does not imply that Linux hardware support is a satisfying experience for users, and it doesn't disprove what Jeff Jaffe said. Just going into the next computer shop around the corner and buying an SATA RAID controller, USB webcam, sound card, modem, printer, TV card, Pocket PC... is almost certain to prove painfully that Linux is lacking support for a great deal of modern hardware, or just supports a small subset of the hardware's features. Especially if you do it without checking Linux compatibility beforehand (which is what most people do).
Go to any Linux Forum out there (except LWN, where the average reader writes an USB driver before breakfast) and you'll find loads of posts of desperate users trying to get there HW working, and just as many clueless replies.
Greg was realistic enough to add the side-note "out of the box" to his statement. Unfortunately, most people don't care whether a device is supported "out of the box" or with an add-on driver. And that leaves Linux far behind both Windows and MacOS in terms of device support.
Btw, I'd bet that Greg's USB printer was a HP or an Epson. Had he been an average buyer, he would might as well have bought a Canon - I doubt that his experience would have been as nice as he describes.
Linux supports more different processors than any other OS ever has.
True, and a truly great achievement. Unfortunately, it hardly matters to most users.
I hate to be the devil's advocate, but IMO Greg's assertions are overly optimistic and show a certain lack of interest in the problems and needs of average Linux users. We can't solve Linux' problems by claiming that they don't exist.
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