A hardware oriented view of bugs and compatibility (or, my Grannies Camera)

Registered by Brad Whittington

It would be great if Launchpad had a hardware oriented view of bugs and compatibility. This could be used to document compatibility of hardware with ubuntu/it's compositing packages, to give a clearer picture of where there are grey or black areas of support, and where there is solid support. It could associate hardware to recommended software (i.e. camera support is linked to F-Spot, etc.), which, in turn, could allow users to analyse their current hardware, and get a suggested list of software, and compatibility ratings. This could also be a platform for vendors to "sign" for surity of support, i.e. "this hardware is 100% vendor supported on the ubuntu platform", and proprietry/open source drivers could be discussed, "this hardware is 100% compatible with both open source and proprietry drivers", or, "Currently the proprietry driver is more capable than the OSS driver, the shortcomings of the OSS driver are ...."

Learning about hardware support on linux can be a maze of forums, and poorly informative webpages, this spec would aim to improve the mapping of compatibility and problems of hardware on Linux, and standardise fields and areas of discussion around a piece of hardware, and it's supporting software.

If we can capture a database of supported hardware, we can minimise the obstructions to user uptake of Linux. We could include an online, or offline analysis of a users's hardware compatibility with the installer, to give an idea of the kind of experience a user will have if they install Ubuntu. We can create a central place to rate and market hardware (vendors who place nice with open source should benefit by becoming recomended hardware). To this end, it would enable users to make more informed decisions about new hardware they purchase, or are deciding to purchase. This information can be linked to from reviews, diggs, etc. perhaps creating "ubuntu compatible" graphics which can be dynamically linked to.

Some examples:
Use case 1:
User plugs in his wifi card, and it works, but there are some uses which seem unreliable. User logs on to launchpad and can check for documented compatibility, issues, bugs, etc. related to the particular hardware. This could help users diagnose if it is a software, or hardware problem.

Use case 2:
User upgrades to ubuntu+1, and finds his hardware no longer works correctly, due to a bug being introduced somewhere.

Use Case 3:
User is planning to buy a usb wireless card, but has no idea what supported hardware is available. User logs on to launchpad, and looks through the hardware catalogue, and finds that Ralink USB chips are well supported.

There is a lot of hardware, and a lot of information, and it would take a long time, and lots of user based interaction to build a better picture of hardware compat.

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Curtis Hovey

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