Does Ubuntu require special drivers?

Mario Vukelic mario.vukelic at
Wed Nov 29 18:54:33 UTC 2006

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On Wed, 2006-11-29 at 11:28 +0100, Peter Boholdt wrote:
> I'm brand new to Ubuntu but very keen on trying it.


> I'm using an Acer Aspire notebook and only have drivers for Windows XP
> with which it was delivered.
> After installing Ubuntu, how does the operating system communicate
> with the hardware? Does it require special drivers to be installed?

In general the Linux kernel (that's the piece the communicates with the
hardware) contains drivers (which are called "modules" in Linux) for a
wide variety of hardware*. If the hardware vendor has opened up the
specifications then in general the hardware is supported by Linux. The
same is true if it was possible the reverse-engineer the hardware.

However there are some pieces of hardware that need proprietary drivers,
which cannot be included in the Linux kernel but are provided by the
hardware vendor. This is true for most graphics cards if you need 3D
acceleration (2D is usually available), for some Wi-Fi devices, and for
assorted other hardware.

And there is some hardware that isn't supported at all.

To know more about how well your notebook is supported you should do one
(or all) of the following:
      * Post the complete model name to the list, and ask if someone has
      * Check the Ubuntu Acer laptop list at
      * Go to and check the Acer list:
      * Go to and search for your laptop

Kind regards,

* In fact Linux supports more hardware than any other operating system

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