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Re: [gNewSense-users] network connection

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] network connection
Date: Tue, 09 Mar 2010 23:31:57 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090824)

address@hidden schreef:
This thread of mine just preceded another thread "Converting people to
free software" and I find this juxtaposition interesting and what is
happening somewhat curious.  I want to use a free distribution; I have
arrived here via websites for fsf and gNewSense, and a "get help" link.  I
got help, for which I am very grateful, in divining the problem - a
non-free network card - but when I ask the almost trivial question "which
of the 40 or so acceptable cards listed on the fsf site probably will work
with gNewSense?" (alternatively: "which card do you use?") I get complete
silence.  That is very frustrating, very puzzling; and, in the context of
a discussion about attracting people to free software, very confusing.  I
do not even need to be "converted", but I cannot get some simple hardware

I understand that this is frustrating. I often get frustrated with not finding good hardware myself. There are several issues involved here:

- The non-free must be separated out from the free. This is what gNewSense/Linux-libre do. - Find out which chips work with free drivers/firmware. This is enabled by the first step: users can run/install either and report if stuff works and post lspci output. The many similar "Works in Ubuntu!" reports on the Web are useless, because they don't say if the software supporting it is free. - Mapping consumer hardware (model no. etc.) to chips/drivers/firmware. This is the information you'd like to take to the store. Because of the multitude of devices out there and the lack of information from manufacturers this step takes a lot of effort from many users. Sadly, only a small fraction of users take part in this. Most complain when it doesn't work, but keep silent when it does work. - Mapping stores to consumer hardware. Typing a device model number into a search engine often leads to some US based company that requires a credit card to pay and only ships to US and Canada. Local shops around here often have lesser known (or lesser tested) brands or have crappy (or even no) websites which are out of date. So this great device I want only exists in theory for me. A good worldwide directory would be useful for this, but pretty much impossible to build and maintain.

So if more users were helping in building a hardware database then hardware recommendations would indeed be simple. But as it is now we just have to make do with the information we have in the FSF list and some other resources (I believe our wiki does have some hardware reports).

I still would like to get recommendations for network cards; I leave for
the computer store, for something else, in an hour or two 8-)

The 8139too driver has been around for years, so anything based on that should work. I'm not sure it that's still sold (or even modern), though.

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