[NMLUG] Where to troubleshoot?!?

C. Ulrich nmlug@swcp.com
Mon, 12 Nov 2001 23:36:37 -0700

On Monday 12 November 2001 14:13, you wrote:
> This is good information for us to know. After ten years of presence in
> the marketplace, I would certainly expect mainstream companies in this
> field to have obtained, purchased, stolen or otherwise purloined a clue
> about the longterm outlook for GNU/Linux, and further, to be supplying
> hardware and it's related software, like drivers, in a timely and
> supportive manner.
> While it's true that many enlightened companies, like Big Blue have
> embraced Linux, to one extent or another over the last several years,
> you've presented us with a timely and pointed reminder that not all
> companies care about the non-m$ user at all.  Indeed, some companies seem
> to create obstacles for their Linux users.
> By us being kept informed and aware of practices in the hardware industry
> which hurt us, we can make more informed purchasing decisions, in both our
> personal and our professional capacities.
> We should never forget the power we exercise as consumers, if we consume
> concomitant with our beliefs.  I continue to disaprove of Dell
> Corporation's lack of solid support for Linux. Thanks for the timely
> reminder
> of why I harbor this notion.
> Regards,
> Valentin Guillen

The Linux kernel may have well existed for 10 years, but as a complete 
operating system, it has simply not been usable to "most everyone" until the 
last few years. Add to that the fact that most big companies just don't see 
Linux as a real product because it wasn't developed behind closed doors with 
millions of dollars in research and development. Sure, you have companies 
like Red Hat and Mandrake that make some cash selling the distro and 
providing support but *they didn't make Linux.* The business world looks at 
products that have a big important logo behind them because those products 
look like much more of a secure investment. (Investment in time, because as 
we all know, time is money.) There seems to be the mentality that if 
something costs nothing, then that's how much it's worth.

IBM is the notable exception, for they are doing what many other companies 
should be: using Linux for its benefits and cost savings rather than looking 
at how much money it will make them.

As for Dell, well I expect as much from them. They have a track record of 
catering to those with the mightiest sword and right now that sword is 
Microsoft. For a while, Michael Dell refused to put AMD chips in Dell 
computers, giving some speech that was clearly intended to have Intel look 
fondly down upon him. Then, as the Athlon took off among gamers and some 
computing professionals, Dell began sneaking a few Athlon chips in their 
lower-end boxes. Last I heard, they were removing all Athlons from their 
product line, but I might be wrong about that.

Regarding computer hardware manufacturers' support for Linux, it's largely an 
issue of supply and demand. When they figure it becomes worth their time and 
effort to support Linux specifically, they'll do so. And some do. Right now, 
I think they see Linux as sitting on a fence, unsure of which way it will 
totter. But I do think, however, that the least they should do is release the 
specs to their products in an open manner so that third parties can develop 
drivers for their hardware. It's the best of both worlds for them, really: 
they get Linux support early and they don't even have to pay for it. In my 
opinion, I'd rather have Linux developers writing the kernel drivers than a 
few hired hands sitting in a corporate cubicle, anyway. And those specs 
wouldn't be useful for just Linux driver developers either; every OS from 
AtheOS to FreeBSD could benefit.

--C. Ulrich
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