August 25th, 2009

Are all OEM Linux pre-installs fated to end like this?

http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/open_letter_michael_dell_why_i_have_no_choice_return_my_ubuntu_inspiron_mini_10

Hopefully the entire Mini 10 experience will be a valuable lessons learned for everyone involved concerning the use of proprietary drivers in the out-of-the-box linux experience.  The Mini 10v maybe evidence of a willingness to learn from bad experiences, but Dell is still selling the problematic Mini 10 with linux pre-installed so someone in the decision making stack clearly has a sadist streak.

I have to wonder...is the first round of ARM based smartbook hardware going to repeat history by  having yet another  set of proprietary hardware drivers that prove to be unsustainable and unworkable over a product lifetime?  We can dress it up and write as many glowing press releases as we want but the problem doesn't go away. Relying on proprietary hardware drivers will burn both users and OEMs..even if OEMs outsource quality assurance to a linux deployment specailist..proprietary drivers are not worth it.


-jef