Friday, December 4, 2020

Why Linux sucks with drivers?

I just found this blog post as an unpublished drart and only one line

I never liked Microsoft in particular. But no

I honestly can't remember what I intended to write here. My guess is that I was frustrated with ROCm and state of GPU drivers and frameworks in Linux. And situation is still quiet frustrating.

But I recently saw the situation with Windows drivers and I'm now convinced Windows is no better with drivers unless you're buying latest hardware.

Last week I've upgraded home wifi router to latest OpenWRT with more secure settings including WPA3 optional support. And while everything else started to work better, one Windows 10 laptop started to disconnect from network very often and network performance was not enough to play Youtube videos.

The machine a pretty descent one, HP Inspiron 15 3000 series with i7 CPU and descent amount of RAM, still a few years old. So I thought that the old Atheros/Qualcomm wifi card needs a driver update.

What I found in HP website was from 2017 and didn't yield any better results. Then with fear I tried as an unofficial driver source and latest driver for the card from 2019. No luck either.

Now I had the option to configure the old router just for this laptop. But this didn't sound right and still compromises the whole local network. Then I decided to find a second hand mPCIe Wi-Fi card. Choices basically boil down to old Intel, Broadcom and Realtek models. Realtek is the one I did *not* try due to lack of reputation.

I found a guy who had both Intel and Broadcom models. So I could take both home and see which one works better. The Intel model had drivers in windows update from 2013 only (looking at available model, the latest model mPCIe Intel I found is discontinued and has 2019 drivers). The Broadcom had 2016 or something.

I wanted to try the Broadcom first due to Bluetooth 4.0 LE support. Some new mice and other devices only support that version. It performed well but computer crashed a few times for one day.

Finally tried the Intel with 2013 driver. Now that worked rock solid and fast. Downside is Bluetooth 3.0 support but mouse can also be used with a receiver so I guess it should be good enough. I see Bluetooth 4 USB dongles for $5 so not a big deal to add such support if needed in the future.

Unfortunately this card will never get WPA3 support and I have no idea whether the recent WPA2 vulnerabilities have been fixed with it somehow or not.

In conclusion I see that for older hardware, that is not ancient, just little old but perfectly fine, Linux still gets much better support.

I'm sorry if you didn't expect just another Windows rant with a click-bait title. Still I needed to express my frustration with the state of computing. And I don't mention Apple here, it is so closed ecosystem that no amount of polish can fix.

No comments:

Post a Comment