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Re: Debian stickers

On 21/07/12 18:17, Neil Williams wrote:
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.


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

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

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.
Yes it is a can of worms that created itself through vendors playing games with the specifications (like ACPI), and Microsoft letting them to do so.

It raises some interesting questions:

1. If Microsoft are going to sign a Debian EFI key, what version of Debian does it apply to?

2. If Microsoft are inclined to sign such a key, to they also commit to providing things like chipset identification data, allowing Debian to uniquely identify a PC and/or all its features?

3. Could Debian seriously claim to support a particular PC without the means to identify it and/or its features?

4. Could this be a "certified for Debian" requirement?

5. Could Microsoft require Debian certification before signing Debians key for a PC?


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