[linux-elitists] [doc@ssc.com: [Fwd: Plug 'n' Pray to Plug 'n' Play: What's it Going to Take?]]

Greg KH greg@kroah.com
Thu Apr 20 09:33:08 PDT 2006

On Wed, Apr 19, 2006 at 02:47:48PM -0700, Don Marti wrote:
> What Needs to be Done for desktop (and especially laptop) Linux --
> to work with whatever devices come along.

So you are looking for what to do for new devices?  Or for the devices
we currently have today?

> Or better yet, vice versa. As a user, I want any Nikon, Canon, Casio
> or Olympus digital camera to work 10X better on any Linux laptop it
> meets than it would on any Windows box (which today in too many
> cases requires that the user run some install disk). Or (hey, why
> not) better than any Mac running OS X as well.
> Same with every printer, scanner, external HD, CF or SD card...
> whatever.
> What's it going to take? Also, what do people not know now that they
> ought to know (such as, say, where it's best to run the driver).

Only 2 words, "vendor involvement".

Yes, it's that simple.  Get the hardware vendors to care that their
devices work on Linux and they will work.  Look at how well things work
today for network and scsi devices on Linux.  It is that way because the
vendor companies care about Linux and work to make sure that their
drivers are in the main kernel tree and are stable and fast.

Oh, and if a vendor doesn't know how to get involved in Linux
development, point them at the all-inclusive Linux Kernel HOWTO.  It's
in the main kernel source tree at Documentation/HOWTO, or on the web in
a variety of places:

> My goal is to convince the audience that any device should relate
> better with Linux than with any proprietary OS. I want to give them
> the reasons why.

What is the audience?  Vendors or users?

> I want to convince them that next year's (or whenever's) generic Linux
> laptop will be a better device companion than anything from Microsoft
> (via its captive HW OEMs) or Apple.  Because that is the Inevitable
> Nature of Things. (That's what I believe, but I need facts and
> informed insights to back that up.)

Take a look at how damm well the latest Linux distros work on laptops
today.  For example, I just tried out SuSE 10.1 (beta) on a laptop and
was amazed.  Plug in a printer, and a little dialog box pops up saying
it found the printer and loaded the driver and do I want to print a test

Plug in a camera, and f-spot pops up and asks if I want to download the
pictures from it onto the computer, and then do I want to export the
pictures to the web to flikr or any of a variety of different web sites.

Plug in a usb CompactFlash reader and the same thing as above happens
(as the flash came from a camera.)

Unplug the flash card, and it is instantly recognised and nothing "bad"
happens as I didn't unmount the device.

Plug in a different flash card, and it's instantly mounted and offered
up in a file browser (no pictures on this one.)

Plug in an ipod and Banshee pops up and I can drag and drop a few mp3
files into it and have them copied over to it properly.

Plug in a network ExpressCard device and have it automatically connect
to the network properly (Windows requires you to do this with the power
off, and at least 2 reboots.)

Scan for all availble wireless networks in the area and connect to the
one I want.

And I could go on (in fact, Nat will, in the presentation after yours.)

And this isn't just SuSE.  Ubuntu and Fedora are also this good today.
I really don't think that people realize how good things have gotten in
the past 6 months or so.  I sure hadn't, until someone pointed it out to
me (I only use X for a zillion terminal windows, and userspace only as a
test load on the kernel...)

If you notice, at no time above did I mention having to load a driver
disk, find a driver, manually configure a device, etc.  It all, "just
works" today.

Now sure, there are some types of devices that Linux does not support
very well at times (some odd wireless devices are one of the most
visible ones.)  But there are a whole range of devices that other
operating systems (Windows and OS X) don't support right now.  Are
people stating that they suck because they don't support their devices?

Anyway, none of this probably will help you out in your talk, as you are
trying to convince people that we still need to do a lot of work.  I
guess my point is that the work is already done, just no one seems to be
aware of it :)


greg k-h

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