While a number of hardware manufacturers support GNU/Linux, not all
do, or else they are slow about it. This is the cause of most
difficulty in installing GNU/Linux yourself--you suddenly find that
your hardware is not supported out of the box. However, this is fairly
rare today, and when you find yourself in such a situation there is
generally a wealth of support available within the GNU/Linux community
to solve the problem. Most devices will, however, simply work without
any effort under GNU/Linux. We look at some specific cases below. The
is also a very useful resource.
Network interface cards (NICs) come in many difference designs and
there are numerous clones. Sometimes there is very little technical
information made available by the manufacture available and open
source drivers may be hard to come by. This is only likely though for
very recent new cards or very specialised cards (like Gigabit
Ethernet). Any PCI Ethernet or Fast Ethernet NIC should work out of
the box with GNU/Linux.
Modems that identify themselves as Windows only or
designed for Windows are so-called software modems
which rely on the CPU doing some of the work for them. Some of these
will not work with GNU/Linux. However, all external modems work with
For graphics cards, avoid the absolute latest releases until you've
checked their driver status under GNU/Linux (check with the retailer
or vendor). For example, for nvidia graphics cards (see
Section 96.1.1) the NVidia Gnu/Linux binary driver web site
has a README that lists the supported cards, which generally
includes everything but the absolute latest top-of-the-line cards
(support for which is generally only a matter of time).
There is an excellent web site for checking GNU/Linux compatibility for
printers (http://www.linuxprinting.org). Generally, most Epson
and HP inkjet printers are well supported.
There is a similar web site to check for CD recorder compatibility. In
general, any ATA CD-RW and DVD-RW/-RAM/+RW drive should work just fine
with GNU/Linux since they are controlled by the ATAPI driver.
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