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Franco Scarpa
Franco Scarpa

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Is your Linux distro fully compatible with your PC?

I’m a big fan of Linux. I love its philosophy. I love the ecosystem around it and all the distros built of top of it. I first dealt with it when I installed Ubuntu on my family PC, many years ago. It was great and I loved the idea of having an alternative to Windows.

What makes me doubt about using a Linux distro now is the fact that I feel like it’ll never be 100% compatible with my PC speaking about drivers and the integration between hardware and software. To give you an example, once I installed Ubuntu on my old HP Pavilion dv6-6178sl. All was working fine, except some keyboard buttons, for example those for setting the display brightness. They just didn’t work.

Moreover, I know that the Linux kernel “already contains the drivers for most of the hardware components inside of it”, or something like that. But no hardware manufacturer says their hardware components are 100% Linux compatible. For example, you can read this on the FAQ section of the Samsung website about their SSDs’ compatibility with Linux:

Samsung SSDs Linux support

What does it mean “lack of optimization”?

Can you please give me some feedback about your experience with Linux both on the driver side and the integration between hardware and software side?

Top comments (6)

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I've not had a problem with Debian or Ubuntu on a collection of Dells.
Arch works flawlessly on my old Thinkpad (including function keys and such) and my desktop, though the desktop has been through many different combinations of parts.

I can't remember the last time I had a hardware issue, unless it was needing to change out the WiFi card in something a few years ago.

windhamwong profile image
Windham Wong

Dell is one of the best support of Ubuntu. At least you can have all drivers installed without any issue after rebooting.

soumyaranjannaik profile image
Soumya Ranjan Naik

I have a Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop and I installed PopOs. I use PopOs because it is a more refined version of ubuntu and it also supports Nvidia graphics with Hybrid Switching option out of the box. I faced Nvidia issues on every distro except PopOs.

gwutama profile image
Galuh Utama • Edited

I haven’t had compatibility issues with Linux on my workstations since years, maybe even a decade. Last time I had issues was when the support for wireless NICs was lacking (remember ndiswrapper?) and once or twice with nvidia drivers. But overall my experience with Ubuntu on PC has been okay.

The story is different on laptops though. Even to this day I still have lots of problems getting common hardware devices working correctly on laptops. Even after spending hours of tweaking. Not to mention Linux power management for laptops is still not good, although it’s getting better. I think if you’re planning to run Linux on laptops these days without having to spend time on tweaking is by getting yourself Thinkpads or Dell XPS and slap ubuntu on it. I wouldn’t bother installing Linux on any other laptops unless I really want to tinker with it.

casuso profile image
Alberto Fernandez Casuso • Edited

I always have problems with drivers using linux. For example. Ubuntu always has issued with bluetooth audio. Manjaro, intel graphics issues. Hours and hours of debugging gave zero results always ending in distro hopping. I finally bought a thinkpad and after more distro hopping i installed Fedora. 0 issues whatsoever. Everything worked out of the box. Highly recommend it for anyone dealing with driver issues.

devanghingu profile image
Devang Hingu

i also have problem with my HP-15R036TU laptop. bluetooth not working and also issue at shutdown time it freeze. but yet not any perfect distro for my laptop.