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Re: [fab] /.

A lot of people I talk to say they don't like Linux due to lack of driver support. Is there anyway you see this problem being eliminated? How do you court vendors to support their hardware on your flavor of Linux?

I think that this is often a question about client drivers. For servers, we're pretty set. Why? Because we have market power in that sector. You can't make it in the storage business without good Linux drivers these days.

On the client, it's much harder. If you want to help fix this problem (and it's a problem) then you have to be willing to go out and find hardware that works. We don't make that easy, though. We don't actually have a way to tell you that "this will work in your system while this other piece over here doesn't." You never find that out until after you do the install, and something doesn't work. And it's usually the X server.

Another possible action is to hold up those who are "good citizens." Intel comes to mind. As an example, they have done a really good job of making sure their drivers for X are completely open, and it's changing the way that those of us in the Free Software community make decisions about what hardware to buy. I go out looking for Intel-based products. ipw2200? check. Intel 945gm? check. That's the laptop I want.

Another part of this problem is that we're so fractured that we have no idea how many people really _do_ use Linux on the client. Listen to Steve Jobs recently who said "Microsoft and Apple represent 100% of the client market share." Now, we clearly know that's a lie on its face. But we can't say exactly how much, just because we have no hard facts. There's no way to track how many Linux clients are out there. It's great, because it's a byproduct of the way that we build software but it's bad because we can't speak to hardware vendors with a single voice.


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