May 25th 2007

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Linux Hardware Support

One of the reasons for not adopting (or even trying) Linux is the perception that it lacks hardware support.

Often I show people my Fujitsu S7020 laptop which is running a default installation of Ubuntu Fesity, everything on this machine worked without any twiddling, kernel recompiles, third party driver packages etc.

Compare this to Windows XP which would require a multitude of driver downloads and patches before it was even remotely usable and I think it is clear than when careful consideration is made on hardware purchases hardware support on Linux is far from being an issue.

But today something else happened that caught me by surprise. My copy of Ubuntu is dual boot with windows and unfortunately due to work requirements it spends most of it's life in XP. When booting Ubuntu I decided that I'd better apply the growing list of pending updates. A reboot later and I was greeted with this message.

warning

Clever stuff.

It turns out that Richard Hughes maintains a list of battery types that may be affected by battery exchange programmes in gnome-power-manager.

Even with the official Fujitsu drivers Windows XP can't manage that. Given that XP has an update mechanism and that Microsoft already has close ties with OEM's why Open Source Software can make a simple but potentially very worthwhile facility available at no cost but Microsoft with all their weight and funds can't I am not sure.

Anyway needless to say I clicked on the link and my particular battery was not affected because it was from a different batch. But at least I was prompted to check by Ubuntu. Had this been a faulty battery then Ubuntu could have just saved my house !

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