Dell, HP, Lenovo back Linux with driver promise

The companies have made a commitment to 'strongly encourage' chipset vendors to make open-source drivers for integration into the Linux kernel
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Dell, HP and Lenovo have promised to push chipset vendors to make open-source drivers for Linux.

Representatives from Dell, HP and Lenovo made the commitment at a Linux Foundation conference last week, promising to include wording in their hardware procurement processes to "strongly encourage" the delivery of open-source drivers for integration into the Linux kernel.

"This year we saw breakthroughs in driver support for the desktop, IPV6 compliance and virtualisation. We feel it's an important venue for solving cross-industry and cross-community issues," Linux Foundation executive director, Jim Zemlin, said in a statement.

Maker of the Linux-based Eee PC, Asus, has also said it will encourage its hardware suppliers to provide open-source drivers for Linux.

"This makes it a lot easier to buy a system that flawlessly runs with Linux. If there are platforms with open drivers it means it should open up more systems that can run with Linux in the future," said Linux Australia president, Stewart Smith.

Currently, if there is a problem with a proprietary driver, only the company that made the driver can fix it. "If its open source, anyone with the knowledge can fix it — for example, the people who make your Linux distribution, such as Novell or Red Hat," Smith said.

Changes to the Linux kernel will also be easier if Dell, HP and Lenovo live up to their promise. According to Smith, drivers often fail to work after a change to the kernel.

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