OK, this is probably one set of rules that isn’t written down often enough. Today (again) somebody on the IRC channel mentioned that Ubuntu was great, but still wasn’t good at ‘media’. I disagreed and asked him why he had that opinion. After a short while I asked him which hardware he uses, and the hardware was ‘the big evil’. In contrast to Windows, which has driver (hardware) support from almost any hardware vendor, but you have to do an extra step if you want to run Linux without too many frustrations. Most hardware vendors don’t support Linux and don’t work together with the kernel developers, who make the hardware support possible.
Luckily Pascal de Bruijn made a very good start by meantioning a lot of tips that we ‘know’. I made some additions and changes to that list and here it comes:
Common rules of thumb
- Don’t buy hardware that has been on the market for less than six months. The developers need time to make drivers if the hardware is more or less largely adapted.
- Don’t buy lowbudget hardware, since they usually have less (driver) support
- Don’t buy anything with a SiS/ALi/ULi chip, since they are mostly not supported
- Buy A-brand hardware (or B-brand hardware if you have carefully reviewed all specifications)
- Take the latest Ubuntu LiveCD with you to the computer store and check if the CD starts/works and if the hardware is recognized (DO NOT INSTALL ANYTHING!) if you are planning on buying a laptop or pre-built computer
- Intel has great drivers and is preferred
- Realtek also has great drivers for almost any chipset and is preferred
- Broadcom will usually work, but if possible get an Intel or Realtek
- There are WLAN cards which are supported through MadWifi (take a look at their supported cards list)
- Nvidia has good drivers (if you want to play games, buy an Nvidia card)
- ATI has mediocre drivers
- Intel has good drivers, but I wouldn’t play games on it
- Check OpenPrinting BEFORE you buy the printer!
- I’ve only bought one laptop yet, and it was an Hewlett-Packard and all of the hardware works. HP is also a great brand, since it often supports Linux. I recommend it!
That’s all folks!