How Linux can be taken to the Next Level


I’ll keep it short this time. Having run Linux on my pc for more than 20 years - I’ve tried out almost every distro there is. I’ve seen many upgrade cycles - both in terms of hardware upgrades as well as some rather aggressive distro-hopping.

This time I decided to upgrade to the latest hardware that I could afford. On previous instances, I was a bit lucky with my hardware purchases - never really had any issues running Linux. This time however - I don’t seem to be so lucky. I’m sharing my system config here below…

Ryzen 7 Processor
Asus ROG strix B550-F Gaming motherboard *
512 GB SSD / 1TB HDD
Nvidia graphics card.

Now I’m having no Audio on Linux. I hear some people have faced issues with the motherboard. On googling - I didn’t find anything conclusive. I decided to do a quick round of distro-hopping. Few results are worth mentioning…

  • None of the distros I’ve tried so far have Audio working out of the box.

  • ArcoLinux (my fav distro on my old machine) - would only install in easy install mode. If I went for an Advanced installation - the installer would crash at some point during the installation.

  • Linux Mint came as a big shocker. Even the Ethernet connection wouldn’t work out of the box. in fact, it did work on the live cd. But when I had it installed - the Ethernet connection stopped working. And ya - no luck on the Audio as well.

  • openSuse Tumbleweed was a straightforward install. No luck with Audio. But the beauty and simplicity of YaST is something I really love. It hasn’t changed in over 20 years - it has only gotten better with time. So I’m sticking with Tumbleweed for now.

My Audio issues would eventually be fixed. It’s only a question of when (not if). I just need to dig a bit deeper - and find a fix (which I’m sure I will).

Meanwhile I’d like to share a few thoughts. Hoping to see my email being featured in one of the episodes of DL…

  • Hardware enablement continues to play prank with Linux users. While Linux runs fabulously on older hardware - the entire economics of the Computing Industry favour the Haves over the have nots (in this case - Access to the latest hardware to develop the necessary kernel modules and Linux device drivers).

  • In my opinion - this can be Addressed as follows… Firstly, Enterprise Linux distros (Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical and System76) - can focus on hardware enablement. They have budgets to be able to procure the latest Hardware. They also have dedicated developers to work on device drivers / kernel modules.

  • Other community funded distros (debian, manjaro, MX Linux, elementary OS etc.) - can focus on Other stuff like DE enhancements, packaging, Documentation etc.

  • As an end user - I should have an App to help in sharing details of my system specs - with my distros’ developers. The process of sharing this data must be intuitive and hastlefree.

  • The biggest responsibility lies on hardware manufacturers. Ultimately, developers need Access to actual hardware - to be able to develop device drivers / kernel modules. This cannot be done remotely or by looking at bug reports etc. With Windows, because of its dominant market share - manufacturers are assured of a return on their investments (owing to higher sales of their products) - if they put in efforts to develop / make available drivers / firmware for Windows. With Linux, there’s no clear Statistics on how many Linux users are using a particular brand of motherboard for example - at any given point of time. This has to change - before things start getting better for the Linux user (especially on the new hardware front).

  • There also needs to be some sort of a Cross Distro Platform where a repository of Current Hardware can be maintained. Bodies like the Linux Foundation could maintain this repository. On the one hand this repository can serve as a souce for determining compatibility of new hardware in the Linux kernel. Secondly, users can access this Platform to report any issues related to new hardware and to get distro specific tips and recommendations for their problems. Currently, there’s no such Platform in existence. I think - the Linux community as well as corporates involved in Linux development - need to look at Platformization a bit more seriously. Some of Linux’s long standing issues (packaging format unification, Accessibility disparities, Documentation availability, hardware support etc.) can be resolved - by using Platforms. I’m pretty sure that Platformization will be the next stage in the evolution of Linux.

  • Lastly I’d encourage users to actively send feedback to hardware manufacturers (through surveys, email, youtube videos / comments etc.). Let them know about the problems you faced with their products - due to their lack of Linux support.

I’m sure you’ll feature my email in one of your future episodes. Really love the awesome work that you people are doing. Would greatly appreciate if someone can point me in the right direction - helping me to fix the Audio issues that I’m Currently facing. Until next time,

        Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,
Prashanth L. Kamath.