General Query in regards to drivers

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
What drivers come installed with a distro seeing that we all have different hardware in our little plastic adding machines? This means that there would be more than one driver for each component of the hardware and upon installation the installer selects a driver that is the most appropriate for the hardware with the user updating to a more precise driver once the system is up and fully running. Yes? All distros would also have a common stock of drivers. Yes?
The reason I want to know this, is that I am having trouble with one card which I can sidetrack but should I know what drivers that are in the distro I can look for another card that those drivers support better than the card I presently have.
Though I have time to work things out but when it comes to technology of any sort I build two bridges to surmount the obstacle. I am also laying the foundations for a third and more costly bridge should it be required.
 


captain-sensible

Active Member
I'm no Richard Stallman kernel hacker but at the core of every linux distro is the kernel. It will then influence what lead distro developers can do. I recently had an issue when i bought a new laptop and couldn't get internal network card to work. I installed slackware 14.2 (stable) 64 bit. The "huge kernel" is an option where it contains just about everything normally that a user might come across come across. In my situation that version of slackware is 3 years old. Sometimes there are ways around it such as re-compiling a kernel with the bit that was missing. In the end the answer was to switch to slackware current that basically is an updated version so for instance php was version 5.4 in 14.2 but 7.3 in current. It also has modules for newer hardware.
 

dos2unix

Active Member
What drivers come installed with a distro seeing that we all have different hardware in our little plastic adding machines? This means that there would be more than one driver for each component of the hardware and upon installation the installer selects a driver that is the most appropriate for the hardware with the user updating to a more precise driver once the system is up and fully running. Yes? All distros would also have a common stock of drivers. Yes?
For the most part... yes. You can compile drivers for the linux kernel two different ways.
Well three ways actually.

First you can statically compile them into the kernel. It seems some drivers are this way by default.

Second you can compile them as external modules. It would say 90% of more of all drivers
are compiled this way by default. The advnatge is... you only load the modules you need.
This saves memory, no sense in loading hundreds of drivers you don't need.

In these first two examples... these are drivers that come with the linux kernel.

Finally... there are some third party drivers that don't come with the linux kernel for various different reasons. You can often get source code (or even binaries in some cases) to compile these
drivers yourself (it takes a little practice and patience). These are also external modules
that you can load as drivers, but they aren't part of the "native linux kernel".

There is a little risk in doing this, unless you're an experienced C/C++ programmer and you
know what to look for in the code. Usually most developers in the Linux world are trust-worthy
and write useful code, but occasionally, people find malicious code in drivers from obsccure
sources.

Having said all of that... no all distros don't compile all the same drivers. "most" distros
come with "most" drivers, but I have yet to see a distro that has "every" driver available.
The big guys (Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, etc..) are pretty good at keeping up with the
latest drivers for their respective distros. But even these distros don't come with everything.
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
All distros would also have a common stock of drivers. Yes?
No. Or, at least not immediately available during installation. For example, my current 10-yr old desktop boots up and runs fine with almost any distro I put on a DVD or USB, and they will install fine. But when I tried the latest edition of Debian (Buster) it will not even boot up because it has no video driver that will work.

Some drivers may be included by the distro, but many drivers are included with the Linux kernel that is packaged with it. In some cases (not in my Debian case) you can download and install a driver easily, or in some cases you may have to download the source code for a needed driver and compile it into an executable before you can install it. And in even more extreme cases, you may need to "insert a module" (insmod) into a running kernel, or worse... recompile a new kernel. People use to do this all the time, and it's not as bad as it sounds, but it generally isn't for a Linux newbie either.

@captain-sensible and @dos2unix commented above as I was typing this, and we are all on the same track here, I think.

Finally, some hardware will not have any drivers, or will have poorly functioning drivers. If the manufacturer doesn't provide a Linux driver for their hardware products, there is no guarantee that the Linux community will make the effort, or that they will be successful, to develop a proper driver. Obviously, they often do... but there are shortcomings sometimes too.

Whatever your device is (I remember you have a networking issue).... a specific thread should be more helpful than generic questions. But the device will need to be installed in a test computer, at least, so that we might prod you with various terminal commands to try to identify the device, it's status, and to try to search out drivers that may work. Sometimes someone will hit the solution quickly, but sometimes it can take a lot of frustrating work to get through it... sometimes made more difficult by having too many people with too many different ideas on how to troubleshoot. And in some cases, we will fail, despite our best efforts.

Often, the best solution to Linux compatibility problems is to look ahead before purchasing hardware. Try to look for items that support Linux. Several printer companies provide pretty fair support now, but HP has always been the best, in my opinion, even though some of their models may also have trouble. But anything that is the newest-latest-greatest piece of hardware may have trouble with Linux unless the manufacturer explicitly supports it on Linux.

Cheers
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
Thanks fellows @dos2unix @atanere and @captain-sensible for giving me a better understanding of the software situation with Linux.
Two things I have to clear up
1/
I put the question here since I have no other English speaking Linux user within the very small circle of friends I have to discuss things with to get things straight in my mind.
2/
It is an outcome of my other problem and as atanere said in his comment about looking ahead before purchasing hardware and with Linux and my experiences are telling me to do exactly what he commented.
So I need away to find out away to know what hardware manufacturers Linux drivers work well with.
That way I can procure the best item of hardware that suits my needs and pocket and will work straight out of the package with only a minimum of amount of fuss over the driver.
My computer is much like Linux I can change the hardware to suit myself and my needs and that includes the motherboard and CPU {Another AMD of Course} should that be required.
@captain-sensible you run Slackware. What is it like to use?
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
So I need away to find out away to know what hardware manufacturers Linux drivers work well with.
That way I can procure the best item of hardware that suits my needs and pocket and will work straight out of the package with only a minimum of amount of fuss over the driver.
It's always a challenge... welcome to Linux! :eek::D For many items you might buy, you can usually find "system requirements" on the product. It will often say which operating systems are supported, but if Linux isn't listed, you may still be okay... but maybe not. Products that proudly advertise their compatibility with Linux are always welcome.

Another thing that can help is to read the reviews, if available, on the website selling the product. I shop a lot from Amazon.com, and I really like to see many reviews (many thousands, if possible) and the product still has a high rating, like 4 or 4.5 stars. There will always be some people who grumble about a product and don't like it, or they may have got a defective product... but the reviews can be very useful when generalized. Plus, some of those reviewers may also specifically mention a product working in Linux, even if it isn't advertised to do so. You might visit Amazon.com just to learn more about a product, even if you don't purchase from them.

Personally, I run old junk computers, and Linux seems to support old junk very well. :D But to investigate newer equipment and its compatibility with Linux, I would go search through the Phoronix website by Michael Larabel. He has done a vast amount of actual testing of various hardware and reports his findings in articles and reviews. Look in the Categories menu to get started, but you may definitely want to deeply explore the content he offers there.

Backtracking a bit, I should have added one more thing to my previous post. If you have a particular piece of hardware that is not working with your current computer and operating system.... try another operating system! Get some new Linux distros, burn some DVD's or USB drives, and see if you can find one that makes the device work. I have been lucky many times doing just this, especially making WiFi work on old laptops. It makes life so much easier when a distro makes everything work out of the box.

Cheers
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
I don't mind the extra grey matter workload it gives as it gives me something else to think about besides history, politics, money and other issues that we face to-day and tradesman issues that I have to figure out up in the village.
I have downloaded a few other ISO's as well like grandpappy Debian, Manjuro, Ubuntu just to see what they are like and to see the other desktops as well as I may find one that is more to my liking than the Cinnamon desktop that I run at the moment. Have to get a few more USB sticks it seems.
Had a quick squizz at the Phoronix website and book marked it for use later on.
catch ya
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
grandpappy Debian
I hope I got the link edited on the other thread in time so that you downloaded the "non-free edition" of Debian. But even if you got the "standard edition" it can help you to learn.


Have to get a few more USB sticks it seems.
No need to be like me! (I have about a dozen spare USB's in a cup on my desk.) Just 2 or 3 is a good amount to have for testing. As you rule out one distro, format the USB and install another distro to test. Best to go for cheap USB's also.... 8GB up to about 32GB, hopefully no more than about $5 (U.S.) each.

It's probably best, if you can, to use the same programs to burn Linux on to your USB drives (whether from Linux or Windows). I have run into issues where it seems like a drive gets corrupted, and maybe it won't want to format, or will format to the wrong capacity. If you run into an issue like that, start a new thread on it and I'll try to come back with some notes I have that can usually properly erase and restore the USB.

Cheers
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
Thanks I did but I was reading the Debian page and read about the ISO with non-freeware with it before you mentioned it. But that is neither here nor there so to speak.
As for USB sticks I use Sandisk and bought one 16GB for about 250 UAH 10$US. I like Sandisk because I had one sitting in a pocket of my jacket that I had dry cleaned and apparently it went through the wash before the dry-cleaner discovered it. Took it home and threw it into my laptop at the time and it worked perfectly.
I use Linux to burn USB drives as it is more reliable than windows and also quicker and easier. three clicks and its done. Windows install the program and wait while it loads and runs up then a couple of clicks then wait while it gets done.
I don't keep program install files on the windows HD but on my external HD as I have to keep doing recovery of windows, as it keeps backdooring my system and degrading it by stuffing around with the HD driver because they think it not a genuine copy of Win 7. I know this because when I download anything straight to the external HD the indicators for that HD displaying the reading and writing to the disk a blue line indicating highest active time and the green filling showing the amount of data in KB or MB's being read or written to disk follow each other very close to each other. Were I to do it onto the Window HD the blue line would be recording max activity and the green line would be displaying KB's
but when I look down at the front panel of Goldie there ain't no corresponding rapid fluctuation of the red HD indicator. and as you watch the disk panel of the resource there is hardly any disk queuing but a lot of response time. Using recovery helps to get rid of the critical updates they self install that cause that problem to occur.
Next recovery will require a the use of a backup image which I think that they have also tampered with when I last did such a recovery.
That is the long and the short of it. Pardon the bit of a rant.
Have a goodun and Cheers
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
debian-live-10.1.0-amd64-kde+nonfree.iso

... is the name of the .iso you want for Buster.

For the benefit of the viewers as well as "Ken" - the "non-free" does not mean there is a price attached to it. It means some the software for eg drivers (printers, wifi, scanners) &c, is proprietary software, that is, not developed by our wonderful Linux Geeks.

This can provide us with more options for having our existing hardware detected.

I went to the non-free with Debian 'Stretch' 9.8 MATE, on the advice of our own @arochester , and it made it much easier to have my wifi detected.

Rants are good :), they help us vent things that might otherwise raise our blood pressure. There are issues to rant about with Linux, but there are also, IMO, many more things to rave about. :D

Wiz
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
My bad, I forgot I had downloaded the KDE (have yet to install).

The operative part is to ensure that it says "+nonfree".

Ta, Stan :)

Whoops Wizard
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
Mayhap that I will have to build that third bridge as I just stuck the set-up disk for my MB and came across some pdf's on it that not only related to my MB but others that have the FM2 socket installed.
I pulled the one for my mother board and come across this little bit of information which I had not noticed and overlooked in the book on the quick installation guide for the MB that came with it.
It states that the OS being all Micro&^%$%^%^%^%soft OS's no mention of Linux. :confused:o_O
SO will have to do some digging to-night on the net for a MB that states that it supports Linux.
Just maybe that will help iron out the rough road so far traveled.
I also went into UEFI and even from there I could not connect with the internet to do an update of its firmware. But that is not something new as I have tried before with the same results but never really worried about it at the time.
While I was in the set-up disk I looked at the folder for LAN drivers and there were two in the folder one was realtek and the other was Aethos.
Anyone have any knowledge of the Aethos NIC?:)
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
It states that the OS being all Micro&^%$%^%^%^%soft OS's no mention of Linux.
Don't worry too much about that. Most motherboards will run Linux, but they are usually made to certain Microsoft specifications, and so they may say they only support Windows. If you can plug your motherboard model into the Search box at Phoronix, you might get info there.


While I was in the set-up disk I looked at the folder for LAN drivers and there were two in the folder one was realtek and the other was Aethos.
Do you have both wireless and ethernet that came with the computer? They may be different brand components.
 

atanere

Well-Known Member
I also went into UEFI and even from there I could not connect with the internet to do an update of its firmware.
I am very out-of-date on hardware myself. I did reinstall Windows 10 on a friend's laptop, and during that process Windows knew there was a firmware update (BIOS/UEFI)... and I let it run successfully. "Connecting to the internet" from BIOS/UEFI is not something I've experienced, but I would guess that it might need an ethernet connection connection to your router to work (I would guess that wireless would not work at this level, but I'm not sure). You might search the motherboard manufacturer website and see if they have a downloadable update... this could be an .exe file to run from Windows, or it could be something to put on USB and boot on to complete the update. There may be other ways as well.
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member
Just looked at ASRocks web site and checked the updates and there were none for my MB at all for drivers, Bios and utilities. And yes I can download them from their site if required.
Just been looking at mother boards at Goodegg computers and most of the ones I looked that had FM2 sockets for the CPU had Realtek as their LAN device, only one or two had an intel as their LAN device.
I don't have a wireless NIC or Bluetooth device on this computer.
Will have to take a squizz at Brain Computer's site and see what they have in store.
Let you know how that goes.
I plug my MB model into Phoronix site and found one entry and it was interesting as It was saying which distros of Linux it goes well with Ubuntu, Mint and Arch rolling and going on the releases of Ubuntu and Mint that was some two or three years ago.
 

Nik-Ken-Bah

Active Member

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