The Dell Latitude reality check

Phillip Susi psusi at
Thu Feb 17 00:20:00 UTC 2011

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On 02/16/2011 04:49 PM, Patrick Goetz wrote:
> At work we have an automated install system and use a highly customized
> version of 10.10. For friends and family, I use the standard i386/amd64
> Ubuntu Desktop ISO to install Ubuntu on their machines.
> Recently, I decided to re-install an old Dell Latitude D630 with
> Maverick so that my 16-month-old electronics fanatic would have
> something to bang around on and watch Sesame Street videos. I took the
> opportunity to play the "what if I were a naive end user installing
> Ubuntu for the first time?" game. It's a laptop, so obviously I'm going
> to be using a wireless network connection ... I decided to try doing the
> install over wireless -- what else? (Mentally try and count the number
> of end users you know who don't even understand the concept of a wired
> connection.) Then queue up the Rolling Stones, because you still can't
> get any satisfaction, as far as I can tell, trying to install Ubuntu
> 10.10 on a 6-year old laptop with a Broadcom wireless chip.
> I understand the whole issue with proprietary drivers, but surely -- 19
> years into the linux game -- there must be a solution to this problem
> for providing end users a painless install experience on extremely
> generic hardware?
> At the very least, the installer should scan the hardware and notify the
> user that they have install-critical hardware which requires proprietary
> drivers along with instructions on how to get the necessary drivers.
> A better solution would be to include the most common proprietary
> drivers in some kind of encrypted sandbox on the install CD and let the
> user choose whether or not he/she would like to use the proprietary
> drivers at the time of the install. I'll let the GPL legal experts
> figure out precisely how this could be done, but it seems to me it
> should be possible.

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