Note: this presentation is badly outdated; it's from 1998.
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Some Brands Of Peripherals Have Limited Support

Some manufacturers refuse to reveal details about how to program their hardware. This means that Linux drivers for these products have to be reverse-engineered. For many common types of hardware, this has been done. Sometimes, however, this isn't possible, or not considered worth the effort (see the entry on Winmodems).

Many companies that used to refuse to help Linux developers have recognized the Linux market and opened up their specs. Diamond Multimedia and Adaptec are two notable examples of companies who now support Linux fully.

Some companies like DPT and Cyclades actually write the Linux drivers themselves, wishing to ensure that Linux users have the best possible experience with their hardware.

Even if one brand of peripheral is unsupported or imperfectly supported, there are almost always alternatives available. For a list of hardware compatibility issues, and a list of known supported hardware, check out the Hardware HOWTO.

If you have some hardware that isn't currently supported, don't despair! There are always new developments in the Linux world. Someone may be working on a driver right now. Hop on Usenet or an appropriate mailing list and ask! (And, of course, if you're a programmer, you have the source code. You can write the driver or application yourself!)


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