Thursday, October 15, 2009

What planet does Greg-KH live on?

The following article came up in my Google reader feed about Linux desktop:

Linux-Windows gap to remain for five years,39044164,62058636,00.htm

This article had a link to an article from August about the Linux Driver Project:,39044164,62056924,00.htm

The article says the following

Back in 2007, Kroah-Hartman requested for help finding more hardware for which to write device drivers. Some reports online suggested that this was because businesses were holding back from opening their drivers up to the community.

Today, this "problem" has been "solved quite thoroughly", he said.

"All of the major hardware manufacturers told me that there is no problem that needs to be solved in relation to device support on Linux.

"Everything they ship worked just fine with Linux back then, and continues to do so today," he said.

Solved quite thoroughly? Are you frigging kidding me? Sure, you're likely to be able to to install Linux without it crashing and it will find your hard drive controller and video card, but suggesting that hardware support is "solved quite thoroughly" is kind of ridiculous. Being someone who spends his evenings working on LinuxTV drivers, I can cite a whole host of examples: A large percentage of devices are not supported at all. Often if they do get supported, it's months (sometimes years) after the product was released for Windows. Almost every card has only a subset of the functionality working. Cards that "work" often just "work barely well enough" to be able to claim they work - riddled with bugs and edge cases.

NDAs to be used for GPL'd drivers continue to be a problem. Fear among chipset vendors of "disclosing trade secrets" and "competitive interests" is still a problem. Getting vendors to provide sample hardware and information about their board layout is still a problem.

Video cards? TV tuners cards? Printers? Scanners? Hell, I've got a laptop with Intel audio (among the most common) and I have to roll the dice everytime I upgrade as to whether the headphone jack is going to work.

Things are certainly better in terms of the Enterprise market, but the desktop market is a mess. Progress has been made and the situation continues to improve slowly, but let's not think that we're anywhere near "thoroughly solved"

I'm not sure if he's delusional or just trying to paint a rosy picture on a bad situation in an attempt to combat people's claims that Linux isn't ready for the mainstream.