Hardware Problems Led Me To GNU/Linux

Story: GNU/Linux -- Like No Other Hotrod, EverTotal Replies: 4
Author Content

Aug 06, 2006
10:24 AM EDT
It was problems with a printer and CD burner that led to my migration to GNU/Linux, where both devices 'just worked'. That was under SUSE Linux 8.0 Professional.

The fact is, at least locally, the single biggest complaint I here from Windows users - other than maybe malware - is printers not working properly. I suspect the problem is not limited to the Charlotte, North Carolina area either. People have problems getting printers installed and configured on their Windows boxes, and even calling their favorite Windows expert frequently just changes the recipient of the headache.

In my case, the printer driver was incorrectly installed during the installation routine, either due to a bug in the install program or just because I didn't hold my tongue just right. That led to a re-installation of Windows - meaning install DOS 6.22/Windows 3.11 from diskettes, and then re-install the Win98 upgrade.

With my CD burner, the primary pain point was the included CD burning software. The burner software was just fine until I migrated to Windows XP. I did a fresh install of the full edition of WinXP. When I went to install the CD burner software, I discovered that I would now have to pay $80 to do so, since the 'Lite' version's install routine refused to re-install after a certain date. I wound up with a CD burner I couldn't use, even though I had paid for it.

Getting CD burning to work under SUSE Linux 8.0 Pro took some doing, since all of the how-tos talked about command-line tools, and I couldn't initially figure out to use X-CDRoast. I finally figured that out, and never looked back. My printer was successfully detected and configured. In fact, as of SUSE 9.2, I haven't even had to select the driver - that is handled automatically during the installation.

For me, the printer aggravation was simply a fact of life under Windows. I have swapped jokes with numerous WIndows technicians and users about printers and Windows. The CD burning software was what really prompted me to use GNU/Linux more, and eventually to ditch Windows altogether. So I think that saying Windows supports more hardware, simply because some devices do - or seem to - work better, is silly.

Even if you manage to get a device working, you may find yourself with limited support, driver conflicts and other issues that can drive a person out of their mind. A co-worker recently bought a Dell Laptop with a DVD player in it. He can't watch movies on the DVD player. It pretends to start up, but doesn't actually do anything. The theory seems to be that he has to register the product key before he can actually watch the videos. He couldn't do that before Friday, so I'll get an update Monday to know what's going on.

Aug 06, 2006
1:34 PM EDT
> He can't watch movies on the DVD player.

VLC is available for Windows. You might want to recommend it to him.

Aug 06, 2006
4:04 PM EDT
I don't think it's necessarily the program, but the DRM. I'll find out more tomorrow. If necessary, I'll pass the word. Thanks.

Aug 06, 2006
9:48 PM EDT
Mr Parris: It's a bit messier than it has to be, but I use K3B rather than XCDRoast.

For burning distributions and Baen ISOs, I just use cdrecord. One line, a few words, and it's all over.

Mr Dixon: MPlayer is available everywhere, too.

Aug 07, 2006
5:35 AM EDT
AC: That XCDRoast issue was under SUSE 8.0 - back about 4-5 years ago. I use K3B (SUSE) or whatever is in Nautilus (Ubuntu) now.

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