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2011 Linux-friendly hardware roundup

 
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professorsnapper



Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 11:44 am
Posts: 5
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:46 am    Post subject: 2011 Linux-friendly hardware roundup Reply with quote

LXF amigos and amigas,

I'm on the hunt for a Linux-friendly slimline / portable external DVD burner, preferably with both USB2.0 and Firewire connections, and while pondering this, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great to see a current "best of the best" roundup of the whole gamut of "consumer"-focussed, Linux-loving hardware in an upcoming Linux Format issue?"
I then thought to myself, "Yes, it would, wouldn't it?" Smile

For me, the primary criteria for such a tech roundup is universal Linux support, without fiddly tweaking (or as near to it as possible). Other key criteria include the ability to modify or repair the tech, i.e. to favour those devices which are designed to use standard or non-proprietary connections, and batteries and components which are modular or at least easily replaceable with a modicum of skill and tools. I reckon another key criteria is elegance and simplicity in use, etc.

One worthy submission to such a roundup, IMHO, is the Zoom H1 Handy (audio) recorder, which I was put onto by one of the folks at my local LUG - excellent audio quality, easy-peasy controls, uses replaceable memory cards and can run on an AA rechargeable battery!

Your thoughts, folks?

Thanks,
Ken T.
Alice Springs, Australia (the antipodean colony)
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heiowge
LXF regular


Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:21 pm
Posts: 1901
Location: Cheshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there's some nice stuff in there, but since tech changes constantly, I'd favour an article promoting the companies don't try to hang up on you when you ask for tech support and say you use Linux. Virgin Media - I'm looking at you here...

...and maybe out some of the bigger offenders.
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wyliecoyoteuk
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:41 pm
Posts: 3443
Location: Birmingham, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easier these days to point out the items that don't work with Linux.
Even a cheapo Logitech USB mouse I bought the other day has a Penguin on the box alongside OSX and Windows logos.
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heiowge
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:21 pm
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Location: Cheshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Logitech seem to be better than most. Trust, on the other hand, fall into the "couldn't care less" category.
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ajgreeny
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Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 9:18 pm
Posts: 449
Location: Oxfordshire.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

heiowge wrote:
Logitech seem to be better than most. Trust, on the other hand, fall into the "couldn't care less" category.

Yet interestingly I have an old Trust Amipro Dual Scroll mouse with extra side buttons which have always worked in Ubuntu for back/forwards navigation in Firefox, and with the addition of xbindkeys will also work the same way in nautilus.

I also have a Trust Multimedia keyboard which cost the huge? sum of 5.95, and on which all the multimedia keys worked out of the box, and all the other keys for browser, email client, power-off, file-manager etc etc could be set just like any other keyboard shortcut.

So sometimes even a company that does not care about linux can still make something that "just works".
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heiowge
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:21 pm
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Location: Cheshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keyboards and mice tend to be pretty standard fayre. I would actually be surprised if you could find one whose basic functions wouldn't work under linux. It's the more diverse tech that shows their weaknesses. I have an old trust webcam that I had no end of trouble with. Trust's linux drivers? Non-existent. Their explaination - we don't support it. Rolling Eyes
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professorsnapper



Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 11:44 am
Posts: 5
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

heiowge wrote:
Keyboards and mice tend to be pretty standard fayre. I would actually be surprised if you could find one whose basic functions wouldn't work under linux. It's the more diverse tech that shows their weaknesses. I have an old trust webcam that I had no end of trouble with. Trust's linux drivers? Non-existent. Their explaination - we don't support it. Rolling Eyes


This is exactly the point I was aiming at. Let's assume that in a hardware roundup, we'd be leaving aside keyboards and mice, and looking at the "more diverse tech". Although, I'd make exceptions for Apple's magic mice and touchpad peripherals, and funky 3D mice like this one:
http://www.3dconnexion.com/products/what-is-a-3d-mouse.html

Comment-worthy tech might include Blue-Ray read/write drives, things like Wacom's drawing tablets, and especially anything that could be considered "emerging tech". Plans for supporting the nascent Thunderbolt / Lightpeak connection standard, perhaps?

As another example, the iPhone (through a company called Square, I believe) is getting an app and an accompanying plug-in device to swipe credit cards, and be able to process point-of-sale payments and email invoices directly from the phone, without need of a computer or cash registers / point-of-sale hardware. How is Linux shaping up in terms of supporting innovations like this?

Yet another example: I use Rockbox on my venerable 2G iPod nano to free it from Apple's firmware and iTunes, but Rockbox doesn't seem to work on more recent iPods, I believe... so regarding the state of portable music/media players, in all their various guises, how nicely do they play with Linux? And importantly, which of them have user-replaceable batteries / are designed to last?

Surely these kinds of things are worthy of an article in LXF...
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