[kwlug-disc] Open Source intro handout

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Wed Apr 29 22:46:36 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Paul Nijjar wrote:
> 1. Lori suggests that hardware support in Linux is not such a big deal
> any more. Certainly this has not been my personal experience -- last
> month I had a terrible time getting PCMCIA wireless cards to work, and
> I found the support for a Laserjet 1100 (an old but fairly common
> printer) to be pretty bad. I could get the drivers to work but the
> print quality was much worse than the standard Windows driver. I would
> claim that this is exactly the kind of experience that turns new users
> off of Linux -- even if 90% of stuff works the way you want it, the
> 10% turns people off Linux and back to their Windows boxes (which are
> much less than 90% working sometimes.) 

OK, I'll give you PCMCIA wireless cards.  I've lost more hours of sleep
to those than any other piece of hardware.  Fortunately, they are
getting hard to find.  I've got a couple of questionable capability if
you want them.  Strange about the printer. The LJ1100 comes in with a
"perfect" at linux-printing.org:


There seems to be a hardware issue with that device though.

You certainly have more data points than I for dealing with legacy
hardware and Linux, but I think that since the turn to USB peripherals
support has gotten much better in Open Source.  On my laptop (Dell
Vostro 1500 fully functional with Hardy), USB devices almost always just
work. In the cases of a TV stick and a WWAN stick, I needed a driver
update but these work out of the box with ubuntu 9.04.

> To turn this into a question: how good is video card support under
> Linux these days? I had heard that Nvidia support still requires the
> proprietary drivers to do reasonable hardware acceleration. I don't
> know the state of AMD/ATI stuff. Enlighten me. 

ATI:  Open source driver xf86-video-ati (http://www.x.org/wiki/radeon)

  * R100/R200 (Radeon 7000 – Radeon 9250) and R300/R400/R500 (Radeon
9500 – Radeon X1950) class chips:
          o 2D: accelerated (EXA), stable
          o XVideo: accelerated and tear free, stable
          o 3D: accelerated, stable
    * R600/R700 class chips (Radeon HD 2300 – Radeon HD 4890):
          o 2D: accelerated (EXA), a new feature (see
          o XVideo: accelerated and tear free, a new feature (see
          o 3D: experimental, development in two places simultaneously;
mesa r6xx-r7xx-support, r6xx-rewrite, both need drm r6xx-r7xx-3d |
instructions for usage at radeonhd:experimental_3D

Review of xf86-video-ati in ubuntu 9.04:

Bottom line: Almost as good as the proprietary driver.

Nvidia: Open source driver nouveau (http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/)
2D acceleration. No 3D.

Review of nouveau in ubuntu 9.04:

Bottom line: Stick with the proprietary driver.

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