/ BLOG / Bleeding edge
Being at the bleeding edge can hurt sometimes, especially when you’re not talking in terms of software. In this instance I am talking about software and hardware, however.
Not 1 month ago I built myself a new machine to replace my previous desktop, which fell to pieces. Unfortunately in my haste not to work at the work laptop for longer than I had to, I set about buying the kit, not taking much thought into the support within linux for each item.
As Christmas and New Year subsided, and work became manageable I turned to making the 3rd partition on this beast into my “regular” (ubuntu or debian) desktop - rather than the work and gaming one, which is Windows. Unfortunately it appears I’ve made some fatal errors in choosing my hardware;
- GA-965P-S3: Any 965 chipset requires kernel version 2.6.16, or better, for network drivers and various chipset and dual core enhancements. Many recommend 2.6.18. That limits me to Debian Unstable (Sid), Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, Gentoo, or a custom build immediately. I really can’t be arsed with Gentoo, or making a custom build when Feisty or Sid are available.
- FakeRaid: I chose to use “fakeraid” (on board hardware RAID0). This requires the dmraid package in order to see my logical hard drive. Bugger. Only Fedora and Gentoo have this by default in their installer. Not a problem though, as there are ways aroud this; either loading the package once the installer is running, or installing from a LiveCD, and loading the dmraid package first.
- Creative X-Fi (Platinum): No drivers available, nor expected from Creative until “second quarter 2007”. I cannot live without music. Yes I could use onboard, but its crap, and loading up my MP3 player defeats the point of having a nice soundcard + the breakout box. I hope that some kind soul who knows more about writing drivers than myself can at least resolve some basic functionality. I could live without the remote, honestly!
- eVGA GeForce7900GS: Requires proprietary drivers for reasonable speeds and “twinview” - which makes updating, etc. “fun” on occasion.
So who’s fault is it? Mine? The hardware manufacturers? Any member of the FL/OSS movement? Potentially I agree it’s partially my fault for not being more careful at what hardware I chose, despite being in a rush, I should’ve thought it through more. But surely it’s the manufacturers (specifically Creative) responsibility to let me use the hardware that I’ve paid for? Arguably you can say that it’s not a supported OS, why should they bow to me? The reason is, that at the end of the day I put [a little amount] money into that company, whilst I don’t have the right to tell them what they should do, they should be aware that after being stung once, I’m far more likely to vote with my feet and take my custom elsewhere. After all, with so many people doing it, and at any ever increasing rate (just take a look at your local LUG mailing list to see how many people ask for linux friendly laptop distribution these days), isn’t it in their best interests?