[nSLUG] Multi-distribution install problem

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Apr 11 09:42:31 ADT 2006

On 4/10/06, Donald Teed <donald.teed at gmail.com> wrote:
> [...]
> I've seen this sort of problem before from Intel video.
> It wasn't possible to resolve at the time (for any distro)
> and we returned the hardware to vendor and said "try again".
> [...]

We bought some systems from a major vendor off the Federal Gov't
National Master Standing Offer, which specified a particular add-in
video card.  The delivered systems had only onboard graphics.  The
vendor tried every trick in the book to get us to accept the systems,
but ended up providing new systems with real video cards at a
"penalty" price.

Be careful about cheap no-name add-in cards.  Even when they use ATI or
nVidia chips they sometimes skimp on other parts of the hardware so
some things don't work with the official ATI and or nVidia drivers.  
To ATI's credit, they do eventually provide drivers that work with
these 3rd party cards, but you can end up waiting months for the fixes
to appear.

> In the case of our institution, because we needed
> 4500 of the same machine, and 300 would be running
> Linux, it meant Intel lost a sale of 4500 units rather than
> just the 300 that would be running Linux.

Vendors put a lot of effort into trimming hardware costs.  Every
function possible goes into the mainboard and they ask suppliers to
provide drivers just for Win32.   This ends up saving bucks on every
system they sell, while it costs nothing to ship custom drivers in the
preloaded OS.  The poor customer, however, doesn't realize that they
won't be able to run anything but the OS the system shipped with.  
The problem for the average customer is that it is hard to  know if
you are getting a well-engineered system that will have drivers for
sound, ethernet, modem, and USB next year and the year after.

If the system has PCI slots you can add cards for the functions that
fail, but cheap sound cards generally need 5v PCI slots.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


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