When we build a PC in which Linux is to be the main OS, we generally have to watch out for hardware that does not work well in Linux. This means searching in Google and going through forums, blog posts etc.
Knowing that this is generally a difficult task for most users, Canonical started the Ubuntu Certification Program for hardware last year. Originally the program certified only complete machines – that is laptops, desktops and servers – as Ubuntu ready and does not deal with the components that goes into them.
Today, though, Canonical has decided to extend it to the components as well and has released a database of over 1300 components – from processors to keyboards – which will just work with Ubuntu. Canonical compiled this list using the list of Ubuntu certified laptops, desktops and servers, and their experience with working on servers for enterprise.
This is indeed a very useful list for not only Ubuntu users, but also Linux enthusiasts everywhere. This means we now have a centralized database from which we can make sure that our next machine will work well with Ubuntu (or Linux in general).
This is what Victor Palau, Platform Services Manager at Canonical, said
There has not been a comprehensive, up-to-date freely available catalog like this for a long time. By making this open and easily searchable we want to speed the component selection for Ubuntu machines, and allow us and our partner manufacturers to focus on the value-added user experience.
While the list is great from the normal user’s point of view, some proponents of free software may complain that Canonical has not made any distinctions between hardware for which open drivers are available and those for which only proprietary drivers are available. The recent decision from the Debian community to remove the proprietary firmware from the kernel of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” indicates that people still care about this issue.
Personally, I too think that it would have been better to separate the hardware with proprietary drivers from those with open drivers. But Canonical has done a good job with this database and we should not let that spoil the mood.
You can view the components catalog here.
In case you want to see the list of certified machines, you can see the here.