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Linux Hardware

 Linux Computer Hardware Issues
Linux has always had issues and limited early acceptance due to computer hardware issues. The Major Hardware Box Manufacturers for many years were driven by one US Software Manufacturer to use certain hardware components in their products, and to sell their software with all boxes. The Manufacturers Hardware Components which was used by these Boxes was required to write "Software Device Drivers" and supply them to the Box Manufacturers. This had a huge impact on Linux in the early years. You have to be very careful on what computer boxes you selected and what components you used in these boxes for Linux to work. When you try and use Linux on older computer hardware Linux may not work, for this reason.

In recent years this has become less of an issues. The major computers now consider Linux as a real thing, and now ship products with Linux installed or consider if it works on their boxes. In previous years Linux desktop users were forced to buy specific computer motherboard etc. on which Linux works. Retail companies like Fry's Electronics were created to support the construction of computers to allow them to be used for Linux. Also other companies were created to test the computer hardware which ran Linux.

This situation has changed in the past few years due to few events:
  1. The Netbook Lap Top Computers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netbook
  2. Linux Kernel Device Drivers - http://cateee.net/lkddb/
  3. Linux is now used World Wide and is widely accepted.
In the Linux Kernel reside all the hardware device drivers. This is unlike the major Manufacturer of Computer Software, which passes this task off the Box manufacturer or the Component Manufacturer. This was a huge problem for early Linux developers. They were required to write their own device drivers from scratch. Imagine writing unique device drivers for every Printer, Video Cards etc. in the world, and placing them in Linux. This was major task which took years for Linux software Developers to do, A huge problem existed because one of the Video Card manufacturers decided to kept it's specifications private.

The one other major Desktop Software manufacturer, decided to design software which ONLY runs on their hardware products. They also sold their hardware products with HUGE PROFIT MARGINS and locked out the rest of the world from doing this. They currently have a slight crack in the concept. It is possible to install Linux on their Mini product. The process requires some work and Ubuntu can be installed
using this process.

Currently I am happy to say Linux has been succeeded in producing a Kernel which most manufactured boxes work. The major exception are Printers and Web Cameras. New models of these products are released very often. Don't assume the hardware you own will work with Linux, check it out first.

Ubuntu Linux has done a fabulous job on making most computer hardware compatible with Linux. Their new release Ubuntu 9.10 will support a lot more hardware components.

The Netbook computers are starting to become very popular with mobile computer users. Linux is written to run on all Netbook Computer. All components on all Netbooks just work!!!  This is very good news. Some Models of Netbooks are manufactured with Linux Software Installed so you can look around and buy a Netbook like this. In 2009 33 Million Netbook Computers were shipped. Those shipped with Linux installed were about 11 Million. The Linux Netbooks are very popular in the Far East, and Australia.

Dell Computer has designed a product line to support Ubuntu Linux. They also have created Dell a Technical Support group for Linux which you can use. Other companies like HP and Leveno are expected to do the same. Some new firms have recently appeared one of which is System 76. Their products have very attractive pricing, since the Others Company Software costs are not shipped with the product.

Almost all of the new Linux Distribution have Install CD's 
which will run in LIVE MODE! This means if you boot a  Linux Distribution CD on a PC type computer, Linux will run using the computer memory and CD drive. This means you can "test drive" the software. If the Linux Software works on the Computer hardware and you are happy with, install it, by clicking one icon on the desktop.