Posted by: Anonymous
on May 10, 2008 03:36 AM
I think that Linux distros are judged too harshly when it comes to initial driver installation. When I reinstalled XP a month ago, it booted into a low-resolution desktop and did not even have ethernet working out of the box. I needed to install a few chipset drivers, usb drivers, sound drivers, etc from the drivers CD that came with my motherboard. The installation of those drivers required three reboots. After ethernet was set up and I had an internet connection, I also had to grab NVIDIA drivers off the manufacturer's website to get the graphics working properly.
Of course, without that CD installing drivers becomes an easter egg hunt. It's somewhat better in vista if you have well-supported hardware, because you can get drivers off of Windows Update. However, the process is not nearly as seamless as on Ubuntu; I'd wager that a "typical user" would be stuck pretty quickly during a fresh install.
Certainly, when something refuses to work in Linux it can be very difficult (or impossible) to get a proper fix, but even in the two years I've been using Linux, hardware compatibility has improved dramatically. For most mainstream hardware, almost everything works within one reboot on Ubuntu (or immediately if you have Intel graphics), and the things that don't are largely from a lack of manufacturer cooperation (which also seems to be improving, albeit slowly).