From the ‘Twist my ARM’ files:
According to some vendors, one of the most exciting new avenues for Linux in 2011 is the ARM architecture.
Ubuntu is all over it and so is HP with their Project Moonshot effort using Calxeda ARM technology. While Ubuntu and HP and optimistic, Red Hat is more…realistic.
I recently had a conversation with Tim Burke, vice president of Linux Engineering at Red Hat – and to make a long story short – his views on ARM are very different than Ubuntu.
“ARM in Linux is not ready for prime time,” Burke said.
However he did not that Red Hat is helping to lead effort to get standards for hardware enumeration and some scalability issues. At presents he just doesn’t see a fit for ARM in the enterprise. He does however see it as being suited for Fedora – at least for now.
Considering the mission critical systems that Red Hat support and the need for certifications, I can see where Burke is coming from. ARM might be a possible future for Linux, but reality is that it’s likely a bit too early for the enterprise. But hey, I’m happy to be proved wrong and it will be very interesting to see what the Calxeda/HP/Ubuntu combination is actually able to deliver in 2012.
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I will start this off by adding, “… with the exception of some wireless chip sets and high end graphics cards.” to appease those of you who will act like Arnold Horshack (1, 2) if that is not mentioned. If there are other unsupported devices on Linux that are supported in Windows 7 feel free to scratch your itch and tell me in a comment.
The concept of better is a subjective idea. What is better to me is possibly, even probably, not better to someone else. In my case, and in the case of some of my clients, Linux hardware support is “better”. I do not buy cutting edge hardware and tend to keep systems and peripherals until they stop working and can no longer be repaired at a reasonable cost. When a new release of my favorite Linux distribution comes out I can be 100% certain that my hardware that works with my current release will still work with the new release. That is something I just take for granted. This is not so in the Microsoft camp.
For those people who hold on to working hardware through new Microsoft versions, their hardware may or may not be supported in a new release of a Microsoft OS. Take the example of a recent conversation I had with the manager at one of my client offices. I will call her “Mrs. B” here. Mrs. B is a Microsoft fanatic and will not even consider switching to Apple, much less Linux. When I mentioned switching to Linux for her office desktop during our conversation she laughingly said, “Gene, you know better than that.”, because we have had that discussion before. This came up in our recent conversation about her HP Photosmart 1115 printer.
Mrs B recently had to purchase a new PC for her office use because her old Microsoft XP Professional based PC died. She bought a cheap, commodity PC with Windows 7 Home Premium installed from an on-line discount store. She did not check whether or not her existing peripherals were supported. Why should she? They worked before, so they should still work. Correct? Not so correct. You see, HP has, for whatever reason, decided to not make drivers for the Photosmart 1115 for Vista, much less Windows 7.