MozillaQuest Magazine: A problem with getting Linux up and running is the availability of Linux compatible hardware and/or Linux drivers for hardware. What does Pogo do to insure that the computer systems it builds are compatible with Linux?
Tim Lee: We test the components and configurations in Linux prior to offering them. This takes the guesswork out of running Linux on hardware that you don't know. While many of us love to read specs on gigabytes and gigahertz, most IT managers out there are focused on the end result and how much time we can save them. When customers buy a product from Pogo Linux, they save time and frustration.
Jesse Keating: [Pogo does] extensive research and testing of new hardware, and engineering solutions for hardware and our supported operating systems.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Is it difficult to assemble a collection of hardware for a system such as a CPU, motherboard, video adapter, network interface, sound adapter, modem, hard drive, CD reader/burner, mouse, keyboard, monitor, and so forth that is fully compatible with the GNU-Linux operating system? Why? What's involved in so doing?
Jesse Keating: It can be difficult, with the increasing popularity of having as many of these devices built into the motherboard as possible. As more things are built in, customers are less likely to want to pay for an add-on card when the feature is already on the motherboard. Not all chipsets are supported by Linux, and motherboard vendors tend to go with the lowest bidder and change frequently, leaving Linux trying to play catch up.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Does the particular Linux distribution to be installed on the system impact upon the problems, difficulties, and efforts to produce a computer system that is fully compatible with the Linux distribution that is installed on the box? How so?
Jesse Keating: Yes. We target our hardware to work on our chosen operating systems, rather than choose hardware and then go find an OS that works. So finding that magical combination of hardware that will work perfectly with our chosen software sometimes can be a challenge.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Once you have found hardware to work with your chosen software, such as Fedora and SUSE Linux for example, doesn't that pretty much mean that the Pogo hardware configuration should work with most any up-to-date and well-built Linux distribution?
Jesse Keating: Yes, with key words of 'well-built' and 'up-to-date'. Every distribution builds their kernel differently, including some things, excluding some others. Sometimes this can mean the difference between a working hardware configuration, and a non-working one. We consider that if you cannot install an operating system directly to our hardware (possibly with the use of an install time driver disk), then the operating system is not compatible. We don't like the idea of third-party modules to make a system function, especially if it would mean that every kernel update would result in a non-working system until these third-party modules are built once again.
Jesse Keating: Also, there is a distinction to be drawn between software working on our system, and Pogo Linux having the ability to support said software. We really want to have that super next-level understanding of a given operating system before we'll claim that we support it. We want to be able to answer just about any question that would come up, barring operating system level flaws that would require developer intervention. So while many Linux distributions may 'work' on our hardware, we choose the few that we 'know' to support.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Related to this, aren't most of the hardware compatibility and driver problems at the Linux kernel level? If so, then that would seem to mean that the Pogo hardware configuration should work with most any up-to-date and well-built Linux distribution, does it not?
Jesse Keating: This is true, barring custom configurations done by each Linux distributor.
MozillaQuest Magazine: While working on the Pogo review and also the reviews of the OSs and distros, I have worked with both Jesse Keating and Cosmo King -- both very helpful, knowledgeable, cooperative, accessible, and impressive Pogo People. I noticed that Jesse is the technical reviewer for the just-published Fedora Linux 2 Bible, the Fedora Legacy Project Leader, and also an RHCE.
Tim Lee: We have many interesting individuals who work at Pogo Linux that come from all sorts of backgrounds. Some are published authors, and some are perfectly content to contribute in their own way. Linux has grown because of the selfless contributions of so many individuals that do it because they love the community, not because of the glitter of fame. We value these types at our company, because it's through their work that Linux and our company has been able to grow at such a rapid pace.
The definitive computer hardware book:
Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 15th Edition, Scott Mueller, Que, ISBN: 0789729741. $60
Acing the LINUX+ Certification Exam, Patrick Regan, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131121553. $88
Beginning Linux Programming, 3rd Edition, Matthew and Stones, (Foreword by Alan Cox), Wiley. ISBN: 0-7645-4497-7. $40
Fedora Linux 2 Bible, Christopher Negus, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-5745-9. $50
Linux For Dummies, 5th Edition, Dee-Ann LeBlanc, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-4310-5. $30
Linux Network Architecture, By Wehrle, Pahlke, Ritter, Muller, and Bechler, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131777203. $50
Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals, Arnold Robbins, , Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131429647. $40
The Linux Process Manager: The internals of scheduling, interrupts and signals, By John O'Gorman, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-84771-9. $35
Linux Toys, Christopher Negus and Chuck Wolber, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-2508-5. $30
Operating Systems, 3rd Edition, Deitel, Deitel, and David, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131828274. $103
Principles of Network and System Administration, 2nd Edition, Mark Burgess, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-86807-4. $50
Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager, Mel Gorman, Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131453483. $60
How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing:
OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more
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