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Re: free software mini pc

Mark Neidorff wrote at 2012-02-16 04:38 -0600:
> On Wednesday 15 February 2012 2:01:22 pm green wrote:
> > When you purchased the server on which you run Lenny, did you know for sure
> > that the installation would go smoothly and all hardware would work
> > correctly?
> Yes.  I knew because, for a server, I bought slightly "behind the curve."  For 
> the server, I knew that I didn't need the latest and gretest, so I was able to 
> look at hardware that had been on the market for about a year and check 
> compatibility easily. Then the install "just worked."

I don't really get how you "check compatibility easily".  Are there any 
particular resources you use?

> IMO, in getting "the latest and greatest" can be as much of an ego thing as a 
> productivity thing.

True, but irrelevant.  I do not care about "latest and greatest", unless 
fanless is considered as such.

> Question is: what are your specific needs going to be?  That will determine 
> the power and features that you need.

Okay.  Basic desktop use, fanless.  100% supported by free software.  
802.11g, ethernet, 2.5 inch bay and SATA port, USB, audio with microphone 
port, video out.  Fairly solid hardware.

> > Many vendors mention various versions of Windows on their hardware pages,
> > but nothing about Linux.  So as a consumer, do I just blindly assume that,
> > although the vendor apparently does not care enough about Linux to even
> > mention it, that it will all "just work"?
> Here's another way of looking at the same thing.  Other M$  require that 
> hardware goes through a certification process before it gets the "works 
> with..." sticker.  They have a roll-out scheudle of once every few years.  Is 
> that what you want?  That costs the consumer $$$.  Are you willing to spend 
> for that?

It probably depends on how much it costs.  A manufacturer could probably only 
guarantee support for a particular kernel version, and that does not seem so 
difficult to me.

> True, audio and video devices have been less than perfectly supported in 
> linux.  Look at why.  Video hardware goes through benchmark testing.  The 
> "ed's choice" hardware does the best on the benchmarks and sells the best.  
> So, the hardware is built to work best ON THE BENCHMARKS, but not necessarily 
> in the real world.  So what linux faces is hardware that is tweaked to do well 
> on benchmarks on a different OS.  This has lead to hardware manufacturers not 
> releasing their code to linux, bucause they would reveal how they make the 
> hardware look good on the benchmarks.

Okay, thanks for the explanation.  But yet there are audio and video devices 
that do work with 100% free software.  So the hardware is out there.

> > Okay, I could look through the specifications carefully and research eg.
> > the wireless hardware, but what about when vendors change the chipset
> > mid-model?
> Yep.  that is always a problem with buying the "latest and greatest."

What?  If the chipset changes mid-model, then identifying that device will be 
forever more difficult, regardless of whether it is recent hardware.  This is 
one reason why I feel it is difficult to guarantee support *before* I have 
the device in my hands, versus testing it *after*.

> > It is not for my own use, but at a location where tech support is not 
> > available, and where the system will quite likely be in use for 5+ years.
> One question.  Do you expect the device to continue to be 100% functional when 
> the infostructure around it will change over the next 5+ years?  That is not 
> reasonable.  

The desktop I intend to replace is more than 5 years old and it is still 
capable of running squeeze.  It has an Abit KR7A-133R motherboard (reviewed 
2002-04-12) and a AMD Athlon XP 1900+ (introduced 2001-11-04).  Both 
available over 9 years ago.  The only hardware changes that might be more 
recent are PCI wireless and a PATA hard drive.  It also has much of what I 
mentioned above: ethernet, USB, audio, video out, 802.11g (may be more 
recent)--but not fanless, SATA, or 100% free software support.


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