[sf-lug] new computer

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 13 08:41:21 PST 2007

Quoting Asheesh Laroia (asheesh at asheesh.org):

> Dell laptops with Ubuntu have an Intel-brand video chip, which have 
> excellent (I think, in fact, The Very Best) support in the Free Desktop 
> world.

I concur.

> Rick's discussion of the Nvidia parts that "may or may not work", 
> depending on freshness, seem to mean that if you have fresh software 
> (hopefully like Ubuntu 7.10) the parts will work fine.

Because it was really late, and I was out of time, I did only partial
research on the specific motherboard Alex mentioned (EVGA-brand model 
"122-CK-NF63-TR" with an LGA 775 Intel CPU socket and Nvidia nForce 680i
SLI motherboard chipsets).  With more work, one can often find out at
which kernel revision the SATA, ethernet, audio, and Firewire chips
got functional driver support.  Before I collapsed for the night, I
determined that there were a lot of Nvidia chips in there, there was
very little online information on them (yet), and that they seemed to be

Now, personally, I'd lose interest in the motherboard as a foundation
for a Linux box at exactly that point (as those are discouraging
results), but I don't even know for certain what Alex wants to do with
the machine -- e.g., is this a 3D gamer box? -- nor whether he has a
strong preference for specifically that motherboard, or that brand, or
that brand of chips.

I would not necessarily assume that "the parts would work fine" even
with just-released Linux distributions:  Nvidia is, as I said, infamous
for lack of cooperation with open source coders, even more than
Broadcom, Xircom, and Marvell, which is really saying something.  The
more uncooperative a chip manufacturer is, the longer it takes as a
general rule for the coders to satisfactorily reverse-engineer the chips
for driver purposes.

If one wants to be assured that Linux drivers will work today, and work
without hassle, that would be about the least likely sort of
motherboard.  (Note:  Nvidia does tend to offer proprietary drivers in
various categories.  However, good luck getting conventional Linux
distributions installed if, for example, you need Nvidia's proprietary
SATA driver to merely complete installation, as they are not included in
distro installers.

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