Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Monday April 28 2014, @03:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the are-we-there-yet? dept.

According to Phoronix, getting support from motherboard manufacturers can be downright hostile for linux users. Some go as far as requiring Microsoft Windows to be installed before getting to speaking terms. With TYAN as about the only motherboard maker (that I am aware of) to fully support linux, my question is: "Do any of you use a TYAN motherboard in a typical desktop use case? If so, what were your experiences, pro and con?

Followup question is: Have any motherboard manufactures changed their tune recently regarding support for linux users?

With the recent end-of-life of free Windows/XP support, Valve's work on its Steam OS, and Android's large market share, how close are we to the point where a user can just install linux (or a BSD variant) and it just works? What hardware (old and new) has been especially problematic for you? What has been your greatest challenge and/or frustration?

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday April 28 2014, @03:16PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday April 28 2014, @03:16PM (#37209) Journal

    > how close are we to the point where a user can just install linux (or a BSD variant) and it just works?

    At least 5 years ago for me. I can't remember the last time I popped a Linux Live CD in the drive of a random PC and didn't have all the major[1] hardware fully supported out of the box.

    [1] Still have occasional trouble with things like fingerprint scanners.

    • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Monday April 28 2014, @03:27PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Monday April 28 2014, @03:27PM (#37221) Journal

      The last MB i used that has issues? I was trying to install RedHat 4. one update later, and RedHat 5 worked with the MB (but not the onboard sound chip).

      I have NEVER seen an issue after that with the MB. unsupported peripherals, sure - WinModems, Windows Printers, Webcams.. and each of these problems fell one by one.

      Only one problem remains. UEFI. I will honor the day that i can *reliably* replace the BIOS chip with open source - linux on a chip.

    • (Score: 2) by Appalbarry on Tuesday April 29 2014, @03:41AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @03:41AM (#37502) Journal

      Me too. The bad old days of Linux are many years behind us unless you've got pretty specific and odd things that you need supported. Or are very graphics intensive.

    • (Score: 1) by kbahey on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:31PM

      by kbahey (1147) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:31PM (#37784) Homepage

      I fully agree.

      It has been many years since I ran into something incompatible with Linux for PCs and laptop. Maybe 5 or 7 or more years since I had to hunt down a driver or have a significant piece of hardware not work.

      I use Kubuntu's latest LTS for desktops, and Server LTS for servers.

      It just works ...

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday April 28 2014, @03:34PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @03:34PM (#37228)

    "What has been your greatest ... frustration?"

    No living on the cutting edge, with the possible exception of CPU speed. Someone out there ends up failing on new hardware, Google finds it, then I don't buy it. So I'm never less than a month or two behind the cutting edge, which is not all that big of a deal.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:35PM (#37229)

    Why would desktop mobo manufacturers care about a mobile OS or some beta game OS?

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday April 28 2014, @03:39PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Monday April 28 2014, @03:39PM (#37234)

      If they can get an extra 3% market share and a pile of goodwill with very little cost or effort and little or no competition, it gives them a head start if/when Linux takes off. There's already a pretty significant Linux server market so it shouldn't be that big a deal. Overall, I've had no trouble with anything in Linux for most hardware except graphics cards for gaming.

      • (Score: 2) by marcello_dl on Monday April 28 2014, @05:57PM

        by marcello_dl (2685) on Monday April 28 2014, @05:57PM (#37308)

        Actually, unless some linux variants start to play the windows game (incompatibilities introduced intentionally, bloat, oh wait a minute...), hardware manufacturers should see linux as a threat, because once the hardware is supported, only a physical fault can make it obsolete.

        They can't do much against linux in the server market, it sneaked in at the expense of unix, and no sane clients are going to start forking money and give control to microsoft when they can own the infrastructure, and there you can play on power consumption to get people to upgrade, at least for the moment.

        So maybe you will see linux becoming strong on the desktop, but you will always have to fight tooth and nail to have a free desktop system.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday April 28 2014, @07:39PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday April 28 2014, @07:39PM (#37365)

          MIPS/Watt is always a big concern on servers, so I can't see hardware makers ever seeing Linux as anything but an ally in that market, unless they stop making progress on improving hardware at some point, which seems rather unlikely. Things aren't improving quite as fast now as they were 10-15 years ago, but they are improving with more power-efficient designs, and graphene promises to make a big impact as well.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @07:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @07:57PM (#37372)

        Going back many years, [archive.org] there has been The Pre-Installed Linux Vendor Database. [lxer.com]
        There's no reason anyone who wants Linux can't get an out-of-the-box experience at least equal to pre-installed EULAware; just tell the vendor your needs.

        ...and getting a spec sheet for a box from a vendor of pre-built systems will show you what peripheral manufacturers have Linux support.

        -- gewg_

        • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Tuesday April 29 2014, @07:47AM

          by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 29 2014, @07:47AM (#37553) Journal

          Thank you for the Pre-Installed Linux Vendor link. I've bookmarked it. (And I've also just come across the Ubuntu certification program [ubuntu.com].)

          But they're just for whole PC systems. Is there anything that deals properly with individual hardware components, peripherals, etc.?

           
          I don't just mean a list of individual users reporting various degrees of success with their own particular usage scenarios, like this HCL [linuxquestions.org]. What I want is confidence, before I buy hardware, that I am supporting the manufacturer that supports my choice of OS - both as a matter of principle, and in the hope that this makes it likely that the thing will just work.

          Ideally this list would be provided by the people who write and manage drivers in Linux - maybe even officially published by the Linux Foundation. But in the absence of that, I'll take whatever I can get.

          Top of the list should be manufacturers that contribute GPL drivers to the Linux Kernel themselves, I presume. Next, those that provide proper specifications so that Linux contributors can confidently write their own drivers. Beneath that, maybe there can be further distinctions, like manufacturers that unofficially help the driver writers? And those that aren't actively obstructive?

           
          Given my attitude (and the fact that I'm not poor), choosing hardware should be quick and easy, but I have never found the kind of guidance that I've described above, so instead it's always taken me a lot of time and been somewhat unsatisfactory. Can anyone help?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:55PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @08:55PM (#37842)

            I don't just mean a list of individual users reporting various degrees of success with their own particular usage scenarios

            You must have been one of those guys who put great credence in those peripherals that said on the side of the package "Supports Windoze" (without any version mentioned). 8-)

            Just as a Lose95 device driver won't work with Lose2000, a Linux device driver that works with your current install will not necessarily work with the next Linux kernel that is developed.
            It's the reason that binary blobs have been mentioned repeatedly in this thread; some damned lazy manufacturer puts out a closed-source Linux device driver at some point in time and thinks he's done for eternity.
            To be future-proof, the source code for the driver absolutely must be available.

            In addition, each distro developer will compile in a different subset of the available drivers based on perceived userbase or on limitations of e.g. a CD's capacity or on some other whim.
            Puppy has a spin called Wary, as an example, that has some truly ancient stuff included e.g. dial-up modems that you are unlikely to see included in a modern distro release.
            Mint's boot-to-a-desktop-from-removable-media thing hasn't even included basic support for dial-up for many, many releases. (It's there, but it's an install-afterwards thing.)

            like this HCL [linuxquestions.org]
            If you'll look closely at that, you will notice that they provide a place to specify the user's kernel and distro and version.
            (WineHQ is similar in its presentation.)
            Those are not there simply for your amusement; they are all important data points for you to gauge its utility in your case.
            If you find a brand/model listed, and that is a FOSS driver, there is an excellent chance that that device is supported in the current kernel; gregkh and The Linux Driver Project guys do excellent work keeping things perking--on those drivers that are open.

            On this very topic, [google.com] Ken Starks recently wrote an article. [fossforce.com]
            The way to find out if YOUR distro is supported out of the box is to take your distro with you (on removable media) to the brick and mortar store (heh, remember those?) where you will purchase your hardware and boot to that on a box containing the peripheral that interests you.
            This, of course, assumes that the peripheral is talking to a MoBo with proper Linux support.

            In summary, you really are at the mercy of the manufacturers--who have traditionally seen themselves as M$'s "partners".
            As you noted, give your money to the ones who do provide proper support.
            Again, whether you get support out of the box from the builder of your distro is a matter of his whim.
            ...but, again, once a device is supported with open code, it tends to remain supported, so if it is not included by default, it is likely available somewhere.
            As you noted, a proper distro will have a database of user reviews of gear, though that is of limited utility on bleeding-edge stuff.

            Some distros will include non-libre stuff, some offer it from a separate repo, and some just completely refuse to acknowledge its existence.
            Linux Mint has recently included a Driver Manager for the closed-source junk, so there's that.

            Oh, and there's no nice way to say it: GPU manufacturers just suck.

            -- gewg_

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:36PM (#37230)

    Very simple setup, old Lenovo AMD64 system (shipped with Vista), dual monitors off one card. LiveCD after LiveCD, none of the distributions I tried would identify both monitors properly and let me use both and set their correction orientation. (They're just side by side, in normal landscape.)

    It finally got fixed with the latest versions of Kubuntu. Again, this is a 5 year old system, and I'm not a huge Linux user, so this basic detection/driver failure surprised me.

    More recently, an attempt at Mythbuntu was pretty awful on a similarly aged system. Poor video, sound, and networking. Oh and the mouse didn't even work in Mythfrontend!

    • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Monday April 28 2014, @03:57PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Monday April 28 2014, @03:57PM (#37248) Journal

      But this isn't a problem with the Motherboard or the Kernal. It is/was a very real and frustrating issue with graphics chipsets and the desktop OS of choice.

      And while the drivers are a part of the Linux Kernal (well, they ought to not be binary blobs) the real issue was a part of the desktop interface. I'm glad it is getting better. but I don't write drivers. so i have no idea how you would handle multi-screen settups in a "universal" code base.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @04:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @04:37PM (#37730)

        Uh, did you read the summary? We were asked about hardware, not just motherboards.

        "how close are we to the point where a user can just install linux (or a BSD variant) and it just works? What hardware (old and new) has been especially problematic for you? What has been your greatest challenge and/or frustration?"

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:00PM (#37251)

      This!! I had problems with dual monitors (and from occasionally changing video cards) and also headless monitor setups all through Ubuntu 12.04. I recently upgraded a couple of systems to 14.04, and it's the first time it's gone without major incident for me. However, my opinions are still undecided on 14.04...

      Ubuntu 10.04 had issues with the printer drivers for one of my cheap Brother printers that were (only) fixed with 12.04.

      Previously, I'd run Fedora and Centos at home, but Fedora lost me about the time KDE4 was introduced. The last time I had to mess with the xorg.conf file was around 2006 or so when setting up dual monitor support. I seem to find obscure corner cases on just about every linux upgrade, and I finally just switched to OSX for the machines I have to rely on in the house. Work has always kept me on Redhat or Centos for numerous licensing and support issues (primarily flexlm).

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @03:41PM (#37236)

    Problems with desktop motherboards these days tend to be limitations of chipsets, not limitations of Linux drivers. Recently I purchased an AMD motherboard with basic AMD graphics. I also purchased nVidia discrete graphics card. Alas, it is absolutely, positively not possible to use both AMD graphics and nVidia graphics at the same time with this motherboard. Only one graphics device is enabled by the chipset at any one time - onboard or PCI-X. And they only enable both if you use AMD graphics - not sure why that matter!? I think this is AMD 780G.

    There are other problems about terribad onboard crap-RAID provided by many of the motherboard manufacturers. This of course only works properly in Windows. But this is not a real loss of functionality as software RAID in Linux is far more flexible solution.

    Basically, the only functionality that one needs to check Linux support are onboard sensors (if there are any!) and NIC.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by moondrake on Monday April 28 2014, @03:58PM

    by moondrake (2658) on Monday April 28 2014, @03:58PM (#37250)
    I am in the market for a new desktop, and was pondering this same question.

    Interesting, ASUS has this document [asus.com] on their site, suggesting they test things. Whether some form of support can be derived from that, I am not sure. And there is some [linuxmint.com] evidence to the contrary.

    The posts on the mintforum have a point: as so often with consumer hardware, 'support' actually means somebody is walking you through a script, and if you cannot do what the script says, the problem is with you.

    I think, in most EU countries, you should just escalate the issue as the burden of proof with complaints under warranty is on the seller (for the first 6 months). However, this will not help you if instead of a real hardware defect, you are trying to get them to provide documentation about temperature sensors and such. As for TYAN: well, they do not sell mobos with the type of socket I am currently interested in.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:40PM (#37267)

      The posts on the mintforum have a point: as so often with consumer hardware, 'support' actually means somebody is walking you through a script, and if you cannot do what the script says, the problem is with you.

      If Asus gets more complaints from "Consumer/Desktop Linux" than $$$$, they might just decide to drop official support.

      After all if they don't say they support Desktop Linux and their hardware works fine with whatever OS they say they support then it no longer is their problem.

      But while the Desktop Linux market can be ignored the Linux Server market can't ;). If I were them I wouldn't bother supporting desktop linux and focus on server linux stuff (NICs, UPS, sensors, RAID, SSL/crypto accelerators, Infiniband and similar).

      Unless that Steam box stuff really takes off. But I wouldn't bet a lot of money on it. The console market could be killed by phones/tablets at the low end and PCs at the high end.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Hawkwind on Monday April 28 2014, @06:15PM

      by Hawkwind (3531) on Monday April 28 2014, @06:15PM (#37316)

      My last build I followed the Steam hardware specs (Intel processor, Gigabyte motherboard). No issues and the thing just flies.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @04:14PM (#37255)

    There are still some trouble making wifi, blutooth or NIC chipsets I guess. If you want to be absolutely certain you can just buy an Intel mainboard. I never heard of tyan. Intel fully embraces Linux and does this for quite a while. I would really like to go AMD, but just today there was this article that made me remember the troubles I had a couple of years back http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/04/fast-but-co mpromised-gigabytes-amd-powered-mini-gaming-pc-rev iewed/ [arstechnica.com]
    Apparently they still haven't fixed their sh*t yet.

    When it comes to Linux or *BSD, you're always fine with Intel these days. The second their graphics are usable for gaming and used in a broader fashion in steam machines AMD and Nvidia are in big trouble.

    • (Score: 2) by mechanicjay on Monday April 28 2014, @05:07PM

      Odd, I've never actually had good luck with Intel boards, there has always been something not quite right about them. Or if they work, they feel about 25% slower than they should be (under windows or linux). I've never run a Tyan board, but they're generally well regarded as a high quality supplier and am looking at a Tyan S2915-E as the basis for my next build.
      --
      My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @05:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @05:08PM (#37289)

      There are still some trouble making wifi, blutooth or NIC chipsets I guess. If you want to be absolutely certain you can just buy an Intel mainboard. I never heard of tyan. Intel fully embraces Linux and does this for quite a while.

      Tyan are pretty big players, though almost entirely on the server side. Good source for multiple CPU mainboards. I'm a long time "just go with Intel" guy, myself, but lately I've had trouble with their wifi bits. The iwlwifi kernel module may be fine if you just want client services, but if you want to host an AP... iwlwifi was pretty unusable for 802.11n under 3.6, and still brings down hostapd when traffic gets heavy. It horks something up enough that it's not sufficient just to reset the module and restart hostapd: really have to restart the whole system to get it back to stable.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by LoRdTAW on Monday April 28 2014, @05:08PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Monday April 28 2014, @05:08PM (#37290) Journal

      The exception for Intel would be the Atom CPU's with PowerVR graphics: Pineview, Cedarview and Lincroft. Those are useless for desktop use as there are no Linux drivers for the GPU.

      • (Score: 1) by jasassin on Monday April 28 2014, @10:24PM

        by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday April 28 2014, @10:24PM (#37419) Journal

        If I had points I'd mod you up. Very informative! Will avoid powervr.

        --
        jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
    • (Score: 1) by LoRdTAW on Monday April 28 2014, @05:39PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Monday April 28 2014, @05:39PM (#37302) Journal

      There was a time when Tyan was a big player in the desktop and workstation arenas and made top quality boards. I have owned quite a few Tyan boards: Pentium, Slot 1 Pentium 2/3 boards, Socket 370, and a DP Xeon workstation board. I still have my old Dual pentium 233 (yes pentium as in i586, AT form factor) board and the DP Xeon board. They were all solid boards and I never had any problems with them.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Monday April 28 2014, @09:00PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @09:00PM (#37387)

      I've had problems with NVIDIA's network chipsets in linux. Intel network cards have always worked well for me though. Nice link but it does seem really biased towards Intel. That little gaming machine absolutely crushed its Intel equivalent in games. All the other hoops they had it jump through seemed to be for no other reason than to make it do things it wasn't designed to do. The best part about the article, imo, was their experiment with SteamOS. It didn't boot : / Ubuntu worked but the linux drivers had no concept of switching video cards based on usage. I can't blame them much on that last bit as it is sort of niche. But certainly a key feature of that little gaming machine. Needs work!

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Monday April 28 2014, @05:59PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Monday April 28 2014, @05:59PM (#37310) Homepage Journal

    Generally, you can count on Linux and BSD to at least minimally support almost any computer out there. Graphics might be slow and/or finicky, you might have bugs trying to attach USB3 devices, you might find some peripherals that aren't supported, and most of all, you might find that ACPI suspend/resume isn't reliable, but I'd expect absolutely everything to boot-up and run Linux/BSD these days.

    In general, I stick to the big-names in motherboards (MSI/Asus/Gigabyte/etc), for longer warranties and fully-compatible hardware more than anything, but it provides a nice, common, and reliable baseline for open source software support, too.

    No-name junk motherboards are still to be avoided for plain old hardware reasons... A few years back I acquired a PC Chips motherboard, it tested out okay, so I figured: Why not use it? After several days of head-scratching and frustration, I discovered that when one specific case screw was tightened and contacted the metal ring around the hole on mobo, the BIOS would hang indefinitely while trying to access the secondary IDE channel.

    Before that, I've faced a jillion cases where a no-name motherboard would simply refuse to boot-up with any (PCI) add-in video cards, despite my large selection, and even though the BIOS options were all there.

    These days, it's more a question of, will the sensor data be reported correctly... Will CnQ work properly with a years-newer untested CPU and peripheral combination? etc. There's so much smarts in a motherboard, that it's amazing you can buy a good one for $30 some times... and even more amazing that people never learn, and will still go with a complete flaming piece of junk to save $2.

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 1) by nishi.b on Monday April 28 2014, @07:17PM

    by nishi.b (4243) on Monday April 28 2014, @07:17PM (#37348)

    I just bought an HP desktop (a week ago), everything works out of the box with Kubuntu 14.04 except the headphones jack in the front of the computer. I tried everything I could find, but only a bug on alsa bugzilla cites the same chipset (from an Intel motherboard, hda-intel driver), with no answer at all.
    I found out finally that the plugs behind the computer are working (that's why the usual debugging, searching for mute in alsamixer and pavucontrol did not work). No hardware failure either as it works in windows.
    Reminds me of a lot of past problems in the 90's and 2000's. But in most cases with desktops, everything works much better than in the past.

  • (Score: 1) by jasassin on Monday April 28 2014, @10:36PM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday April 28 2014, @10:36PM (#37423) Journal

    Recompiling binary blobs, trying to install your Catalyst and watching it shit out an error even Google doesn't recognize. Just the thought of it, makes me want run out and buy a thousand dollar and card. Just to feel that indescribable sinking feeling you get when the drivers fuck up and you are left at the a shell prompt with an error that I can only imagine is an evil spirit in GCC that told me again, and again.... "Bitch! These video drivers ain't compiling!"

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @11:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @11:15PM (#37435)

      That said, I'm still waiting for someone running a EULAware OS to post his account of getting his non-compatible kit going today [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [goodbyemicrosoft.net] and not having to wait for a 3rd party to get off its butt.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:12AM (#37540)

    You can't use the Linux kernel because it contains binary blobs. Wifi, bluetooth and the GPU are the usual suspects.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:36PM (#40947)

    Given the state since 1977, but surely the whole community, starting last September when a large American flag.Hercules japan built a funeral parlor - but memories are mostly used by sailors for getting up off the back of the litigation, which is a less impressive contest., free casino video poker [onlinecasi...iazone.com], [url="http://onlinecasinoaustraliazone.com/ "]free casino video poker[/url], rna,