"It's sure been a while since I've had time to sit down
and research and build several systems. Linux is still moving right
along, but there hasn't been a terribly huge amount of important
hardware developments in Linux. Well, besides NVIDIA's GeForce3,
which has shown some very promising results even when clocked 50
MHz lower than its closest card, the GeForce2 Ultra. NVIDIA has
also rolled out 1.0 drivers to accompany their GeForce3. Is NVIDIA
the only mover and shaker in Linux hardware?
That's a good question. While a lot of manufacturers aren't
breaking ground with new products, some products are simply getting
some deserved attention. For example, IDE RAID cards are getting
more and more popular. The value is truly outstanding on these
setups, and 5 years ago, you would have been tied up and thrown
into an asylum if you told someone you could get a RAID setup for
IDE RAID is great, make no mistake, but most of the RAID-capable
IDE chipsets out there are plagued by a single thing. Binary-only
drivers. Now I know why anti-NVIDIA people are so worried. In many
cases, chipset-makers are just plain slow when it comes to updating
their drivers. Promise and AMI both offer chipsets that have good
performance, are priced rather low, and come integrated on many
motherboards, but their drivers only work out of the box on Red Hat
6.2 and 7.0. That means if you want another distro or an updated
version, get ready to do some hacking. High Point's support is just
plain weak, with their HPT370 only supporting the card in
single-drive mode, which negates most of the card's uses.
Luckily, 3Ware is to the rescue with open source drivers. What
could be cooler than that? You'll pay a little more, but believe
me, the price is a small one to pay for lifetime support in Linux
for your hard disk controller.
We've also seen one chipset maker warm up to Linux a little. ALi
is taking some unprecedented steps and even offers up a Linux FAQ
on their webpage, which shows they're looking to take up the whole
spectrum of chipset-making."
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