Samstag, 13. Dezember 2008

Fedora and support for new hardware

As some people will know: At work I have to deal with brand new hardware (especially CPUs, graphic cards, motherboards, printers, scanners) a lot. One of the two(¹) main reasons why I (and some of my colleagues) use Fedora when it comes to test new hardware for compatibility with linux: Stable Fedora releases regularly get new versions of kernel, sane, xorg-drv-*, and some other hardware-related software as regular update during their lifetime; that improves support for hardware (and especially new hardware) a whole lot over time, as those updates to new versions also bring lots of new and updated drivers. OpenSuse or Ubuntu don't do things like that -- you are either forced to run the devel tree to get new drivers or you have to wait six to eight months till the next release comes out.

But when I took a closer look at Fedora 10 I really was disappointed when I noticed that both gutenprint and hplip (likely the two most important packages with printer drivers) were far from up2date -- especially for gutenprint that sucked, as gutenprint 5.2.1 had brought support for a whole variety of new printers one month before Fedora 10 came out.

But that won't matter much anymore soon: Tim Waugh(²), prepared updates for Fedora 10 that bring gutenprint and hplip up to the latest upstream version. Many thanks for your work twaught!

Ohh, and while at it also many thx to davej, cebbert, kylem, ajax, nphilipp and all the other package maintainers that update packages like kernel, xorg-drv-*, sane, and others to the latest upstream versions now and then in stable releases. I (and I guess lot of people that buy new hardware now and then) really appreciate your work!

(¹) the other: Fedora most of the time doesn't contain drivers or patches that are not yet upstream or on the way upstream. So if it works in Fedora then it most of the time should work on other dists that have the same or a higher version of software like kernel, xorg-drv*, ...

(²) he seems to be a bit more cautiously than some of the Fedora packagers (not sure if that's good or bad) -- the maintainers of packages like kernel or for example had incorporated beta released of their software before the feature freeze and updated that to the final later. Hence that software was up2date when F10 came out; but that is likely a whole lot of work (which otoh helps both Fedora and upstream to get the software in better shape)

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