Linux has been around on standard desktop for over 10 years now. I still remember PC Quest shipping a CD of slackware Linux somewhere in 96/97 I guess!. Off course, those days, Linux was meant only for geeks or super geeks!.
Then came Redhat Linux, and host of other distributions. The usability improved a lot. And over the past couple of years, the penguin is becoming more and more user friendly!. The ubuntu release is an example!
But its a long way to go for Linux specially when it comes to hardware support. Take my case for example. I have been planning to completely switch over to Linux for the the past 5+ years, but something or the other stops me. Yes. Its the support for hardware.
To being with, long long back, I guess, some where in 1998 or so, I had PC with a SIS graphic card. Yes, the dreaded SIS card. It was kind of next to impossible to make Linux recognize the card. But, yes, after lot of struggling, I could make it work, but the resolution was pathetic, and the color depth was horrible. This was the era where graphics mode was the “in-thing”. DOS/Command prompt was considered outdated, So, going back to text mode … I thought would be stupid. So, this stopped me, and made me stick on to windows.
Then it was time for me to move on, and change my machine, a more powerful one. This time, I had a better graphics card. Trident 9750 (I guess) GAP card. This again was not supported by the initials versions then. But with new versions of Linux it was supported. But then, the problem was, my sound card was not getting recognized. Yamaha 724 series PCI card. Just next to impossible.There was some 3rd party drivers available, but they were not for free. Again, multimedia was the in-thing during this period. Life without sound/mp3/games etc was like…unimaginable. So… again back to windows.
Now, I have a machine with NVidia Chipset, both my graphics and the sound card are detected by all most all Linux distributions. But, as always there is something or the other which holds me back. Yes, this time its the ADSL USB modem. I am able to connect to the net using my dialup modem, but browsing over dialup is just un imaginable and too expensive. If anyone knows how to make Linux talk to conexant based ADSL USB modem, please let me know. The problem is, there are lot of info available on the net, but none of them are clear. Most of them assume that you know something or the other.
Yes, i know it is possible to make it work on linux, but why should the normal people struggle to make it work? Can’t this be made simple, and support be given out of the box, just like windows? When windows can do it, why cant Linux do it?
I think, the *Linux gurus* and the entire Linux community should put pressure on the device manufactures to provide support for Linux in a *big* way. Otherwise, Linux wont be able to support the latest devices as they are released. Its a fast paced world that we are living in, and people don’t wait for “someone” to reverse engineer things and then write a driver.
How can this missing link be plugged?