95% of the world's computer users do not choose Linux but they are still affected by Linux's success as that success keeps down the price of Microsoft's operating system. Mandrake is the most popular Linux distribution for desktop users. How will the latest release of Mandrake Linux affect the Windows world?
Mandrake Linux 9.2 is out and the first feedback is disastrous. Here is the problem as listed on the Mandrake Web site.
Installing 9.2 and being told unable to install the base system and subsequent reboot reveals that CD-ROM is physically dead.
their ODD (Optical Disc Drive) products do not support Linux nor do they test with Linux.
Unfortunately, many Dell computers (possibly others) come with these CD-ROM drives.
Clearly there is a major design fault in a CD drive that can be damaged by a programming error. That alone is a good reason to avoid LG CD drives.
There is very little that you can do with a CD drive. They have to conform to the ATAPI interface (the big flat data cable) and will soon all work with SATA (the thin round fast cable). The software can then read the CD drive’s identifying information, read data, write data, and download new firmware. The only damage you should ever get is from a failed firmware download and that should never happen when you are installing a new operating system.
There might be 100 of brands of CD drives on the market but there are only a few manufacturers. Those few manufacturers buy their control chips from an even smaller number of chip manufacturers. The chip manufacturers should share their control protocols so there is just one common protocol for accessing a CD drive.
Unfortunately the chips have lots of options and the drive manufacturers get to mix brands of chip. The drive manufacturers let their marketing departments talk the programmers in to making the firmware different just to have a
marketing edge, which means even more variations.
I can understand people building a drive that destroys a CDR if the software does not provide a perfect stream of data. They should never allow damage to the actual drive.
Drive quality varies. I have CDs that read perfectly on every Pioneer CD and DVD drive yet fail on Acer and Samsung drives. Clearly there is a difference. Quality varies between models from the one manufacturer and even the reliable Pioneer had to issue an emergency firmware update when they found 4x DVD media causing problems.
Selecting hardware by brand is even harder. Benq is a new brand of consumer computer parts including CD drives. Benq started as a division of Acer so used Acer CD drives. A while ago I purchased an Acer CD drive because Acer were placing their brand on Pioneer drives and selling the drives for a few dollars less than Pioneer. My Acer drive produced the typical non Pioneer read error on the outer portion of marginal CDs. I fond out the hard way that not all Acer drives are Pioneer drives. How can you judge the quality of Benq drives when Benq relabel Acer drives and Acer buy their drives form a variety of manufacturers?
The hardware design issue shows how marketing departments can override sane product. The rebranding problem shows how hard it is to buy a reliable design unless you can find the name of the actual manufacturer. Now think about Linux developers trying to keep up with the stupidity of the hardware manufacturers.
Linux will continue having these problems until the people slapping brands on to hardware decide to test their products with Linux before the products are released. While Linux suffers, Microsoft can charge a premium for their operating system. That Microsoft premium then fuels their development of other software which in turn lets them charge a premium for those other products.
When you choose Linux compatible products, you push the manufacturers toward Linux. Linux compatibility limits Microsoft’s price premium. You can keep down the cost of your software by choosing Linux compatible hardware brands.
Stay away from LG products until they start testing with Linux. No matter which operating system you use, the cost of your operating system is reduced by competition from Linux. To keep down the cost of your software, buy from suppliers who offer Linux as an option.