Strategy for fixing Bug #1

Scott J. Henson sjh at
Thu Dec 28 18:58:33 UTC 2006

Andrew Jorgensen wrote:
>> Here are the "what it will take win" points from the essay:
>>     1. Drivers for all major existing hardware.
>>     ...
> Unfortunately what we need is not drivers for all major existing
> hardware but drivers for all major hardware soon to exist.  We're
> always one step behind (or several) in this area.  In other words,
> what we really need there is for hardware component vendors to
> actively push for their hardware to be supported in Linux so that when
> they release their hardware there are already drivers written for it.

I think that you will find that some vendors are releasing 
open source drivers for their hardware when they release 
their hardware.  The most recent and most public example is 
Intel.  I think its time for the Open Source community to 
start using its bully pulpit to reward vendors that do the 
right thing.  Maybe an Ubuntu "Preferred Hardware" list 
needs to be created that lists hardware in certain areas 
that Ubuntu recommends because it has vendor supported, open 
source drivers.

For instance,  the graphics cards list would have Intel 
cards as Preferred.  Obviously people who have AMD 
processors can't use Intel graphics cards, so we would be 
recommending Intel processors by proxy.  This would push AMD 
to release open source ATI drivers, or at least give 
official specs to the people reverse engineering those 
drivers.  If this happens, we could move ATI ahead of Intel 
because of Intel's lack of open source support for its 
Centrino wireless cards (not sure about this, but the 
original article said it was so).

Speaking of wireless drivers, we could recommend cards with 
cisco and ralink cards.  Both of these chips have open 
source drivers that the vendor seems to be active in 
developing.  This section of the recommended hardware could 
be taken almost verbatim from the FSF's page[1].

In fact, the FSF's hardware database[2] is exactly what I 
was thinking about.  Except, prominently linked from the 
front page of  If Ubuntu is the most popular 
Linux distribution, a page like this should create waves and 
make hardware vendors want to support open source drivers. 
This would help anyone using Ubuntu and wishing to support 
Open Source to vote with their money.  We are customers and 
we should be supported.


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