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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers? 294

storkus writes: The release of Haswell-E and a price drop on Devil's Canyon has made me itch for a PC upgrade. However, looking around I discovered a pair of horror stories on Phoronix about the difficulties of using Linux on a multitude of motherboards. My question: if MSI, Gigabyte, Asus (and by extension Asrock) are out, who's left and are they any good? I'd like to build a (probably dual-boot, but don't know for sure) gaming and 'other' high-end machine with one of the above chips, so we're talking Z97 or X99; however, these stories seem to point to the problems being Windows-isms in the BIOS/UEFI structures rather than actual hardware incompatibility, combined with a lousy attitude (despite the Steam Linux distro being under development).
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

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  • Intel (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:14AM (#47804287)

    They're about as vanilla as it's possible to get, which is what you have to do to get anything working with minimal kernel module hacking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:20AM (#47804315)

    MSI X99 boards at least claim SteamOS compatibility out of the box.

    In my books that should mean Linux works.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:25AM (#47804335)

    But I have built many of Linux systems on AMD/Asus platform. Not sure about the Intel stuff. But rarely have had any issues. YMMV.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:27AM (#47804345)

    Also looked at their BIOS Files. Looks like normal ZIP which contains the file that needs to be put to the pen driver for the UEFI self-update to work from the BIOS itself. No Windows required.

  • Just wait a little (Score:5, Informative)

    by etherelithic ( 846901 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:27AM (#47804347) Homepage
    I've built about 9 computers in the past 4 years and have run various flavors of Linux on all of them (mostly LTS builds of Ubuntu), and I've never had compatibility problems with the motherboard. Nowadays nobody can really afford not to support Linux, so I think the important thing is to wait a little while for the chipset drivers to get integrated into the newest builds of the Linux kernel, and then go from there. I've had issues with USB 3.0 support for an older CentOS version, but overall everything works for the most part. Linux even works better out of the box than a clean install of Windows 7 sometimes, because Win7 doesn't have drivers for a lot of common NICs, whereas Linux usually did. As you mentioned, in the latest computers I've built, the UEFI did give me more problems than traditional BIOS, but they weren't show-stoppers by any means, just a google search away from a resolution.
  • MSI (Score:4, Informative)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:07AM (#47804487) Homepage

    I've built three boxes with MSI A75a-e35 and AMD A-8 and A-10 with no issues running Linux Mint 15/16/17, well except two of the boards had issues after 6 months. The replecement boards are working fine though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:12AM (#47804503)

    That's because a self-extracting zip file is actually still a valid zip file, albeit with a bit of junk at the start. Just rename to .zip and most archive utilities can cope fine.

  • by twakar ( 128390 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:22AM (#47804531) Homepage

    I just upgraded to an i5 with a GA-Z87X-D3H mobo. I've got it triple-booting (GRUB has LinuxMint 17 or Windows Loader). If I select Windows, then the windows loader gives me the option of XP-32bit or windows 7-64bit. I can attest to the fact that it is the UEFI crap in the BIOS that causes issues, but once you turn it off, all the problems disappear. All in all, money well spent and I'm quite content

    As always, YMMV

    Good luck

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:35AM (#47804567)

    Its so extensive that it makes a good general reference when purchasing hardware.

  • ASUS? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:45AM (#47804591)

    Have been using ASUS boards for linux-only computers for years, without any compatibility problems. BIOS updates come as a ZIP file that extracts into a BIN file that you can install from the BIOS itself: just download and extract the file to a USB drive from your favorite OS, then boot into the BIOS and perform the update, rebooot and all done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @03:00AM (#47804769)

    > Why? EFI is convient.

    EFI is an overengineered piecee of shit nobody (save those dreaming of consumer control) really needs. BIOS should just load the OS. Boards and chipsets should come with docs (yes, nowadays machine readable, in ROM) about how to set things up.

    Not with backdoors (sometimes sold as remote management goodies).

  • Re:what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:11AM (#47804957)

    Reply to myself - Buy this - Gigabyte G1-SNIPER-M5 - it is the most stupidly over the top motherboard (it even has green bits) with all the latest fandangly bits and it works out of the box with linux.

  • by Beamboom ( 2692671 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:15AM (#47804975)
    This. I've *always* used ASUS motherboards on my Linux desktop computers since what feels like the dawn of time, and never had problems with any of them except for one, but that was not due to OS but the CPU and was later fixed with bios update.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:27AM (#47805175)

    False. According to the APPNOTE, a ".ZIP file is correctly identified by the presence of an end of central directory record which is located at the end of the archive structure".

    This central directory record contains an offset into the zip file where the individual files begin. Thus a perfectly valid zip file can contain arbitrary junk data (including a self-extraction stub) at the beginning of a file, as long as the offsets in the directory records are correct.

    Just because zip files usually start with "PK" (The first two bytes of a local signature), doesn't mean they _have_ to start with PK. See:

    And I know for certain that the first self-extracting stubs took advantage of this structure by placing the stub at the front (top) of the file, and offsetting all directory entries by the size of the stub.

  • Re:Sucks but... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @08:11AM (#47805649) Journal

    Ok, Ill feed the troll....

    Niche market share of Linux desktop systems is (using the lowest percentage of 1.68%) is between 24,000,000 and 58,000,000 systems depending on whos numbers you use for the total number of systems. (Not even going into the fact that the % of share is a guess and ranges between 1.68% and 24% depending on who you look at)

    It is estimated that around 90% of those users build there own systems.

    Although the market share is small, the numbers are big and to some companies well worth the investment to try to capture some of that share.

Friction is a drag.