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Re: Debian stickers



On Sat, 21 Jul 2012 15:48:07 +0100
Philip Ashmore <contact@philipashmore.com> wrote:

> I know I would have liked to see a page on the installation process that 
> told me how well the PC I was installing Debian on was supported in 
> terms of drivers and features.
> 
> For unidentified or new hardware it could offer to add the PC to a 
> database where users of the same make/model could go to track updates in 
> driver selection etc, or even do it for them.
> 
> Thoughts?

Many similar ideas have been and gone over the years, nobody has
managed to collate the data and make it work. Are you volunteering? 

The Linux Hardware Database is long gone. http://linuxhardware.net/ has
a noticeable lack of data, just a set of links to various wikis. Then
you'd have to deal with the whole range of Debian installations, from
servers to laptops to embedded.

The biggest problem is that none of the arbitrary strings which get
printed on the packaging, product specs or even on the hardware itself
have any direct link to the actual chipsets used and it is the chipsets
which determine support. Most manufacturers have no interest in
providing this information as Debian compatibility is not seen as
interesting.

What version of Debian is this meant to be the basis of the data?
Don't assume stable because it's unstable where new support arrives
but it is testing which gets updated d-i builds. Who updates the data?
It's not really about the distro anyway, it's about the kernel in most
cases.

If you fancy working with the kernel and d-i teams to implement this
support, send patches to the relevant lists.

The point is not the stickers, the point is the reliable identification
of hardware despite manufacturers deliberately hiding the actual
details of which chips are actually used. This kind of stuff has to be
done by the manufacturer - that's how it works for Windows
compatibility. Doing this after manufacture is impractical because
manufacturers will always have to change chipsets without changing the
"branding" of the "product". That may mean providing an "updated"
driver for Windows, it does not always mean providing Linux kernel
support, let alone GNU/Linux distribution support.

This is an old problem. Big organisations are already involved in
lobbying for improved support - in the end, there shouldn't need to be
a database, the problem needs to be fixed at manufacture such that
Linux kernel support "just happens". Check out the Linux Foundation.

-- 


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/

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