14.7.06

Graphic Cards support on Linux

Most people whine about Graphic Cards support on Linux. Let me tell you a little story about both my personal experience and my personal thoughts about the issue.

I own a ASUS M3N laptop, with an Intel graphic card. I got the first of these laptops that came to Portugal. On Windows this card gives a resolution of 1400, but in Linux it just did 1280. Now, I know that the "John Doe" doesn't know, does not even want to do the stuff I did. But I'm not "John Doe" and I wanted to do it, so when I had the time to, I tried to understand what was happening. Now, there are some specs about the card, but while the Windows drivers are made by Intel folks, the Linux drivers weren't, they were made by people that the only thing they knew about the card was what the specs say. Now, this card has a bug. Intel folks know that so they hardcoded a fix in the windows driver. Nothing on the specs, since the bug wasn't supposed to be there (or else it would not be a bug, right?). So, I reverse engeneeared the Windows drivers, to know what was the bug and how was the fix made. Then, I hacked my custom Debian Linux install so it could do something simillar. As a matter of fact, I ended hacking my card, and everytime Linux boots, the calls made to the card and it's ROM are slightly altered so I can get the 1400 resolution. I ended with a really difficult sollution that fixes the bug (instead of the workaround on windows drivers, since that OS doesn't give you the necessary freedom to fix it by software) and now I have a better support and better performance from my card in Linux than I have in Windows (or had, when I had windows installed).

I know that people shouldn't have to do the stuff I did, and I know that they do not want to do it. BUT, while I also know it is easy to blame on Linux about this and simillar (or worse) cases, first you should understand that when you buy a card with a bug, you have to bear with not having the 1400 (or whatever resolution) you wanted to. Having no time or skills to solve my own issue, I would be happilly using my laptop with 1280, and you should do the same. But the most important thing, that lead me to writting this post, is that if you got a buggy card, and if you want to whine about it, then you should whine with your card's manufacturer because he doesn't know how to do cards, or specs, or drivers, or whatever your problem might be, and not about Linux and Linux folks - they didn't do the buggy stuff, they are not to be blamed on.

And yes, I know that nowadays there are easy fixes to my card on Linux. Bare with me - I had it three years ago.

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