[linux-elitists] Laptop that doesn't suck?

Greg KH greg@kroah.com
Mon Jan 19 09:32:34 PST 2004

On Sun, Jan 18, 2004 at 02:50:18PM -0800, Jason Spence wrote:
> I have a few other things to say about laptop support: every 2 to 2
> 1/2 years or so the state of Linux support for newish standards in the
> stable kernel goes down the toilet because everyone's concentrating on
> the development kernel and many users aren't able or willing to do
> free troubleshooting with the development kernel in addition to trying
> to use their apps on their laptop.

So, to be specific, what do you mean here?  ACPI?  There was a patch
that lived a _long_ time outside of the main 2.4 kernel tree due to the
stable maintainer wanting to be careful about what was merged.  So if
you needed good ACPI support on 2.4, you simply used that patch.  It's
been successfully merged into the mainline 2.4 kernel a while ago.

How about USB?  USB 2.0 support was offered as a backport to 2.4, and
made it into the main 2.4 tree, relatively quickly (way before any other
OS had support for it.)

Is this what you were talking about?  Or do you have other specifics of
stuff that during 2.4 was not available, but only present in the 2.5

> Sometimes you get lucky and the development kernel doesn't suck, but
> other times it's just a pain in the ass and you get these weird bugs
> that cause your machine to lock up and you lose data...

I used _every_ 2.5 kernel on my main desktop machine and my laptops and
never lost any data.  Sure stability wasn't the best at times (usually
my own code's fault), but using a journalling filesystem prevented long
fsck times at reboot.

> The dip in standards support is especially bad now, because of all the
> new standards that suddenly started getting used heavily in laptops,
> such as ACPI, SATA, new SMBIOS standards, the video chips, non 4:3
> screens, etc.  Until most of the vendors start porting their stuff to
> 2.6, you can't get good driver support from h/w vendors and kernel
> support for core stuff like ACPI (which is less sucky in 2.6, but is
> still nowhere near as complete as even FreeBSD's support).

Heh, you do realize that the FreeBSD and Linux ACPI code is identical
and is generated from the same main code base?  A bunch of filters are
used to generate the code for the different OSs to match their coding
standards and other things.  So there are no differences :)

Also, what vendors will port to 2.6?  What vendors keep stuff outside of
the kernel that is meant for laptop or desktop hardware?  I know of some
scsi drivers, that are vendor maintained and need to be ported, but
that's about it.  I don't want to talk about nVidia, their closed source
driver causes more problems for kernel developers than I think anyone
knows (my inbox turned into a smoking mess after I "broke" the nvida
driver during the 2.5 development cycle.  Nevermind the fact that I have
no way of knowing that I would do such a thing as there's no way to see
the source of the driver...)

Remember, no laptop vendors care about Linux yet.  No one is paying
anyone to port or develop this code.  Intel has a very small number of
developers working part time on the Linux ACPI code base, but that's
mainly because so many servers rely on ACPI these days (and they
realized that this was going to happen, so it was nice of them to
provide the support for it, Linux and the BSDs are better off now
because of it.)

So besides that meager support from Intel, what vendors are you thinking
of?  Hell, no one even cares about USB enough to fund its development,
even though you can't buy a server these days without a USB connection
for the keyboard...

greg k-h

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