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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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  • Self-extracting EXEs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:20AM (#47804317) Homepage

    Some archive apps like WinRAR can extract files from self-extracting EXE files. Also look around for other softwares that can do this.

    In some cases a command line option will allow the EXE to be extracted but not installed - but you have to do some digging.

    Of course - the above is provided that you have at least one Windows machine around.

    Also check around on the Motherboard manufacturer site - sometimes they offer both an EXE and a ZIP archive, and if nothing else contact their support. If nobody pesters them about the problem then they don't care.

    And finally - also look at Tyan and Supermicro for motherboard, even though their target is server motherboards they may have some suitable motherboards for you.

  • Sensationalism? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by passionplay ( 607862 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:23AM (#47804325)

    Is setting a bunch of flags really a horror story? Really? How is this possible if you are BUILDING a computer?

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:07AM (#47804489)

    Intel is closing down their motherboard lines. It pisses me off since they were all I'd buy in the past, but they aren't going to be an option for much longer :(.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @01:16AM (#47804513)

    People need to stop buying hardware that isn't properly supported under free software operating systems. Right now there are only a few companies, organizations, and individuals actively pushing for better support and the majority of those aren't the people who you'd think would be pushing it.

    Companies/people on my bad list include companies like: System76, Raspberry Pi, NVIDIA, AMD, Linus Torvalds, and others who have been uncooperative and even hostile toward free software.

    Then there are others who you'd more typically expect to be hostile: Dell, HP, Lenovo/IBM, Toshiba, Apple, and Sony to name a few. These companies are actively utilizing digital restrictions to prevent users from replacing incompatible parts with compatible parts.

    This isn't even getting into the buggy BIOS problems and the fact every company is testing against Microsoft Windows rather than designing to standards-or that most are forcing propritary software down users throats (MS Windows licenses, the BIOS, and other firmware components).

    This said Intel has been pretty good in some areas and so has HP. However I'd be weary about both companies in one regarded or another.

    Some companies/organization/people on my good list:

    ThinkPenguin, Inc (computer hardware and accessories)
    Aleph Objects, Inc (makers of a 3d printer)
    Adrian Chadd (formerly employed by Qualcom Atheros)
    Luis R. Rodriguez (formerly employed by Qualcom Atheros)

  • Re:Sensationalism? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by storkus ( 179708 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:29AM (#47805011)

    Because a few things were yanked out of my submission, as usual for headlines. As shown in the Phoronix stories, and (here's one part that was deleted) by Googling around further, a bigger problem is that the mobo manufacturers simply don't give a flying f**k about anything other than winblows: Gigabyte and Asus both say, "We don't support Linux, use windows"--yes, really, read the story--and there was some MSI business before, but maybe that's getting better since they offer official Steam support (we'll see).

    I didn't know AsRock and AsusTek were separate companies now: perhaps their new X99-WS, while not an overclocker, is better supported as many workstations run Linux or Solaris.

    I'm surprised so many guys didn't know Intel isn't making boards anymore, but I didn't know they're (apparently?) still available. Whether with Z97 or X99 (or later) is a big question, though.

    Also deleted from my submission is that I specifically stated that I don't expect all the hardware to work on something so new, but I expect the important parts will: rather, that the M$-isms in the BIOS deliberately interfere with Linux. I'm very familiar with this, as I have a 7 year old laptop that, to this day, I cannot install any of the BSD's to: first the bootloaders died, and now the kernels die in early boot, so it's a little better, but still. Oh, and it likes LILO better than GRUB.

    So, is this sensationalistic? No, I don't think so. And I haven't been paid for any of this (in fact, I'm going to max out a credit card or two to pay for this). But I really don't want to repeat all the pain others have gone through. This isn't my first build, and definitely not my first Linux install, but this is the newest hardware that I've used in almost 2 decades. (Usually I just take hand-me-downs on the cheap--as usual, what works like shit in winblows works fine in Linux!) I want a machine for gaming, compiling, GIMPing, etc--for once, I'd like some top end screaming hardware (since I'll never be able to afford Haswell-EX with its 20 cores!). The last thing I need is the manufacturers themselves deliberately creating road blocks!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @08:24AM (#47805717)

    Yeah, except for how BIOS still uses 30 year old concepts for bootstrapping the machine, which don't even apply to today's hardware. Oh, and coming up in programmed IO mode until your OS loads the storage driver allowing for a disk transfer rate that isn't 30 years old. Or any of the other massive improvements that have nothing to do with SecureBoot, which you can turn off on any EFI system that supports it.

  • Re:Intel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OolimPhon ( 1120895 ) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @09:57AM (#47806431)

    Funny that. I'm typing this on a D2700MUD with an Nvidia PCI GT620 card in it - at 1920x1080.

    Just because they are not easy to find doesn't mean they don't exist.

  • Re:Sensationalism? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @12:57PM (#47808365) Homepage Journal

    "We don't support Linux, use windows"

    Because Linux users are a pain in the ass.

    You can find a bugzilla from about five years back where I had a problem with the built-in NIC on an ASUS mobo corrupting memory. Several others had the same problem on the same series of boards, and we were exchanging notes and working together on the bugzilla. Initially ASUS was helpful and looped in Atheros. But once we had a clear pattern (I mean a pattern of bit inversions in the hex dump), both went radio-silent.

    I mean, what were they going to do, recall all the motherboards in that line just because they were no good? My time was worth more than the $90 for the mobo but we figured initially that its was a Linux driver bug and were trying to get to the bottom of it.

    Anyway, had to rip it out and replace it (no slots left for another NIC in that application). Went to MSI ("oooh, jap caps") but those toasted (literally, burn marks on the mobo) quickly, found ASRock and haven't looked back.

    I have an ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 [] in my cart at Amazon. Now don't you guys go buying them all before I put in the order on Friday. ;)

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers