Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2912 mails)

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Re: [SLE] Sometimes Linux makes me crazy.
  • From: Christopher Carlen <crcarle@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 14:14:22 -0800
  • Message-id: <421FA33E.6040402@xxxxxxxxxx>
Jordan Michaels wrote:
I feel your frustration my friend, but just because some printer companies don't go through the effort of writing drivers for linux doesn't make linux a bad OS. Linux, in and of itself, is just fine, it's the companies that make the hardware that need to buck up and start putting out linux drivers for their hardware.

Yes, understandably that is a serious problem. I'm not calling Linux a bad OS. I am annoyed at the Suse distribution for pushing experimental features out the door in a box advertised as being a professional desktop. If they want to do that fine, just say it's a highly experimental release, not a professional one that can replace Windows.

Don't get me wrong, I have been sticking with Suse because they work hard to keep pace with hardware developments. They deserve compliments for that. Most of the reputedly "extremely stable" Linux distros are also rather behind the times in component versions. I don't like that because then when you have a bug in KDE, the only thing anyone tells you is upgrade to the new version and then get back to us.

So then you have to kill time doing that, and working out all the quirks because now your system is hybrid, and the distro can't support you anymore.

The Suse approach is to custom modify and write complex wrappers around a lot of programs, like Mozilla for instance.

Well then how do you upgrade it? If you install vanilla Mozilla you bypass the wrapper and break integration with the desktop.

Maybe one company making an OS isn't such a bad idea.

About the driver thing. I always take pains to choose well supported hardware. About the HP Laserjet 5000:

Notice it says it works perfectly. Well, it doesn't. I am not sure if the problem is in the driver, or Yast, or CUPS, or KDE. You can imagine what the KDE folks will say "it's CUPS." And CUPS will say "it's Yast." Etc. Etc. Actually, I am pretty sure Yast is wierd, because the printer options do really wierd things when you try to set them. But each quirk like this can kill 2-4 hours of time to document and boil down to a concise and presentable form to the Suse support folks.

There are only so many issues for which one can do that. After that you say "Oh well, I'll have to live with it."

So I wonder how many slightly broken things we unconsciously tell ourselves to tolerate, because to try to fix them would be too time consuming. Funny, but that is exactly what we know Windows users do. Condition themselves to accept a partly broken OS.

You can help with this by using hardware that you *know* has good linux driver support. When companies see and know that you're purchasing products based on their Linux support, they'll follow the money. As innovators and free-thinkers, it's our duty to help lead them in the right direction.

It is a nice ideal but isn't a reality much of the time. I have spent a lot of time calling and emailing companies, both hardware and software over the years asking them to support Linux. Hardware is coming along slowly, probably only because of the growth of Linux in the server market. The other reason is often because Linux hackers work there and spend their extra time porting drivers. But I think few companies for consumer oriented hardware expend development resources responding to the 1% of the market calling for Linux support.

Again, I totally feel where you're coming from, but it's not necessarily the fault of the OS, but more a fault of the hardware manufacturer. If I made a cool gadget that you *had* to have, and then only wrote linux drivers for it, would you say that Windows was a sucky OS simply because my gadget wouldn't run on it??? I hope not...

You wouldn't do that and make a profit.

Good day!

Christopher R. Carlen
Principal Laser/Optical Technologist
Sandia National Laboratories CA USA

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