Cheap, good tulips...

Mark Martin
Thu Jan 7 14:27:00 1999

Wisecom never responded to my inquiry either but I would like to echo
Robert's point that a hatefest against Microsoft is a waste of
electrons.  If you're reading a mailing list for a Linux device driver
then it's likely that you're familiar with the advantages of open source
software and won't have much love for the evil empire.

I would also like to second something else that Robert said and
elaborate a little more ambitiously on it.  Robert suggested that it
would be good to update the list of supported cards.  What I and
probably many other folks would find even more useful would be to
categorize the supported cards by price range and rate their
performance.  Categorizing the cards by price should be fairly easy and
it seems that there are several people on this list that are happy to
provide performance data.  Also, performance wouldn't necessarily have
to be specified precisely.  It might be acceptable to just rate cards as
good, fair, or bad, for example.

I recently fell prey to a Lite-On Netgear FA310TX which it turned out I
couldn't use because my BIOS is too braindead to allow me to specify the
IRQs of PCI devices and I couldn't get the NIC to share.  Superficially,
it appeared that Netgear had good support for Linux.  The FA310TX was on
the list of supported cards and Netgear even provided the Linux driver
with instructions on how to install it.  It was only after I had trouble
and read through the archive for this mailing list that I found out that
the Lite-On FA310TX was probably not a good choice.  Now I am faced with
the task of choosing an ISA NIC to replace the FA310TX and there is
little guidance available to help me make a good choice.  Being a lowly
graduate student, the thought of accidentally throwing away another few
tens of dollars and possibly a lot of time troubleshooting is not
encouraging.  On an even more general level, I've seen a few indications
that another tulip card might be a good choice but I can't be certain
that a NIC based on another chipset wouldn't be a better choice.

Ratings for other types of hardware would also be useful.  I realize
that system configuration plays a role in how a given device will
perform but it seems like some sort of hardware rating should be
possible and it might save a lot of frustration.  If rating lists were
maintained, it would improve the usability of Linux and improve the
image that users/administrators have of Linux.

I'll stop before I get too carried away.  If such lists already exist, I
would be much obliged if someone would point me to them.  If not, even a
rudimentary attempt at such a list would be a great help.




 Mark A. Martin
 Dept of Applied Mathematics
 University of Washington
 Box 352420
 Seattle, WA 98195-2420