Linux compatible hardware

The following is some information on hardware that I've used with Linux, but haven't noticed mentioned anywhere in public (as well as some that is), and I couldn't find any way to add information to the hardware compatibility lists I was looking at.  So I've written about them, here, where somebody might be able to find it.  Some of the motherboards are quite old (around 1998 vintage), but the rest are fairly recent (around 2002–2003).  Any prices mentioned are in Australian dollars.

I've used Red Hat 7.0–7.3, 8.0 & 9.0 Linux, and Fedora Core 2–7 Linux quite a fair bit with most of this hardware.  I've occasionally tried Knoppix and Suse Live Linux with them, too.  But I haven't really been able to try any other distributions, as any that I've tried to install have failed to install.  And other than printer configuration, all have worked just by plugging them in and booting up the computer.  I haven't had to do any hand configuring of anything to use them—either they were directly supported, as-is, or the kudzu tool sorted them out.

I/O cards:

Dolphin Serial Ultra Power Series
1 ultra high speed (up to 921.6 kbps) RS-232 serial (16C650 UART) port
Model:  FASTPCI-4027

Works on Red Hat 9.0 Linux, with Linux's own drivers, but not quite as expected; it had a higher tty port than I expected, and the chipset seems to be recognised as a multi-port device, despite only having one port on the card (Dolphin makes similar multi-port units; they probably just omit the extra connectors and use the same main IC).


A generic (no identifiable brand) 5-port USB card
Marking on the board:  UP215-N101

Works with at least Fedora 7 (I haven't tried it on others), I just plugged it in, turned on the computer, and made use of it without any user interaction.  Uses a NEC D720101GJ chipset, there's nothing to indicate who makes the card, but it's virtually identical to a Welland UP-215 board, and this card has that marked on the printed circuit board.  Supports USB 2.0 and 1.1 specifications, high speed (480 Mb/s), full speed (12 Mb/s), and low speed (1.5 Mb/s).  It has four ports on the backplane, and one internal (they're all female A-type sockets, there's no header pins).  Bought for $30 around the end of 2007.

See:  (That's not this card, as far as I know, but one very like it.)

Network cards:

Dolphin Ethernet 10/100 Mbps Ultra Power Series
Model:  FASTPCI-6003

Works directly with Red Hat 8.0 & 9.0, Fedora Core 2 & 3, Linux's drivers, Kudzu can automatically sort it all out for you (as a RTL-8139 chipset NIC).  Worked fine with Ubuntu, too.  Bought for around $A17 (November, 2003).  Uses UTP or STP cabling.


Surecom 10 Mb/s coax/UTP/STP PCI Ethernet Adaptor

Works directly with Red Hat 8.0 and 9.0 Linux's drivers, Kudzu can automatically sort it all out for you (as a RTL-8029AS chipset NIC).  Bought for around $A30 (October, 2002).


Surecom 10 Mb/s coax/UTP/STP ISA Ethernet Adaptor

Works directly with Red Hat 8.0 and 9.0 Linux's drivers, Kudzu can automatically sort it all out for you (as a RTL-8019AS chipset NIC), however ISA plug and play support doesn't seem to work well with some computer hardware (this card worked find on one PC, but not at all on another).  The card came set as a non-plug and play device, and required using the DOS-style bootdisk to reconfigure it (it's software setable to plug and play, auto-configuration, or to a manually set IRQ).  Bought for around $A30 (October, 2002).



Labtec Media Wireless Desktop keyboard and mouse

It's a PS/2 unit, working fine on Fedora Core 4 Linux, though needs some tweaking of keymap files if you want to use the extra keys, but otherwise it just works if you do nothing more than simply plug it in.  The wireless range is rather short, though you want it to be so for security reasons.  The keyboard and mouse each use 2 AA batteries, but I have no idea how long they'll last yet; and the receiver plugs into both keyboard and mouse ports with a little Y-lead, has status LEDs for the keyboard's num lock, caps lock and scroll lock indicators, and another to indicate activity of the keyboard or mouse.  Bought for $AU40 in September 2005.  Quite nice to type on, it's reasonably solid (doesn't bend or twist), but not too heavy or light (sits well on your lap).


Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 v1.0

A USB keyboard, with a few extra multimedia keys that can be made use of in Fedora Core 5 & Fedora 7, at least, once you play around with your keyboard shortcut preferences (though only some audio players pay attention to special media keys).  Like a lot of keyboards, the cable is a bit short if you were going to use it with a tower case, where it'd have to reach across the desk and around the back.  This keyboard has a slight curve to it, that's not quite so extreme as the original split-at-an-angle keyboards—it seems reasonably nice to type on while you're sitting down, but not when standing up, nor if you're typing with just one hand (I think you'd want one that curved in the other direction, for that).  The keys don't travel quite as much as most traditional desktop keys do, but it's not quite as limited in travel as laptop keys.  The keys have shallow slopes to their bevelling, don't have sharp corners, and is quite nice to type on, though I think the space bar doesn't really travel enough for anybody used to touch typing.  I bought a couple of these for around $AU40 from KMart and Target, in South Australia, in August, 2007.



Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse
0103 part number X09-13935

It comes as a USB mouse with a PS/2 adaptor (no drivers supplied, for anything, in the box), selling for $A29.95 (bought December 2003).  I connected it to my computer's PS/2 port, and set up as a PS/2 wheel mouse, it worked fine with Red Hat 9.0 Linux in the GUI mode, but GPM went nuts in a text-only screen mode (though this PC has really crap hardware).  Then I tried the USB connection, and it worked fine in both text and graphics modes.  It also works fine as an USB mouse with Fedora Core 2 and 3 Linux.  I haven't tried it with any other versions of Linux.


A4 tech Optical GreatEye Wheelmouse
Model:  SWOP-35

A PS/2 mouse, works on Red Hat 8.0 & 9.0, and Fedora core 2 & 3 Linux as a PS/2 wheel mouse.  Selling for about $A39.95 (bought 2002/2003).  However, on some hardware it likes to race all about the screen, and click all over the place, in a random fashion (a hideous PC Chips motherboard, and a Hewlett Packard 6617).  I suspect a poor power supply to the mouse, or lack of shielded cabling, as an extension PS/2 cable made things a lot worse, or made the mouse fail on some systems where a short lead worked fine.  On the some of same hardware that didn't like this mouse (PC Chips motherboard), the above Microsoft mouse worked fine; and on one of the these computers, a simple two-button A4 tech normal ball mouse also did the same random madness.


A4 tech Fashion X5 Shining Optical Mouse
Model:  OP-50

A USB/PS/2 (using a dongle) mouse.  Works on Fedora core 4 Linux as a wheel mouse, and needed no configuration, just plug it in and it works (NB:  I only tried using it as a USB mouse).  Selling for about $A25 (bought October 2005).  Fedora's hardware browser identifies it as a “Belkin F8E842-DL“ mouse.


Rock 3d optical mouse

A combination USB or PS/2 (via a dongle) mouse, with wheel, works on, at least, Fedora core 4 Linux.  Selling for about $A20 (bought August 2005).  It's simple, it's cheap (it even smells and feels cheap, too), but seems to work quite fine.  I just plugged it in and it worked.



Seems fine with Red Hat 8.0 & 9.0, Fedora Core 2 & 3, Linux, all the on-board devices seem to be supported, though this board is a pig to boot from CD-ROM drives if you have other ATAPI devices on the IDE bus (e.g. Zip or LS-120 drives).  Ubuntu required me to set a “nodma” option before it'd boot without hanging while trying to automatically configure its fstab file.

It has an AGP slot, four PCI and two ISA slots.  Two 33 MHz and two 66 MHz UDMA IDE drive ports (the 33 MHz ones can be disabled, at least), one floppy drive port, two serial ports, and one parallel port.



Seems quite good with CentOS 5 and Fedora 7, at least (they're all that I've tried on it, so far).  They were able to use it without requiring me to do anything special.

It has a 4× AGP slot, three PCI slots, on-board sound (SiS SI7012 chipset) and video, two DDR-2 SDRAM DIMM RAM slots, two UDMA IDE (SiS 5513 chipset), floppy, one parallel, one serial, four USB 1.0 using a SiS OHCI chipset (two rear panel sockets, and headers for two more), one 100 Mb/S ethernet (SiS 900 chipset), one 15-pin game/MIDI, and PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports.

Asus laptop:  PRO31J series, F3JC mainboard

Seems very good with Fedora 7 and Ubuntu 7.10, most things work that I've tried, and fairly well.  I've written a full review of using Linux on the Asus PRO31J F3JC laptop on another page on my website.  Bought towards the end of 2007, about the only things that I hadn't got to work are the built in webcam (works on Ubuntu, not Fedora 7, but was working by the time Fedora 9 came out), the firewire port (haven't really had the chance to test this), and the memory card reader can't read MMC cards, but can read SD-RAM cards (I can't test the other card types, I don't have any).

It has a 1.73 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5200 CPU, nVidia GeForce Go 7300 graphics chipset, 15.4″ glossy WXGA LCD screen, DVI SVGA & S-Video outputs, 1.3 mega-pixel webcam, 1 gig LAN NIC, wireless networking, bluetooth, internal modem, four USB ports, Firewire, ExpressCard slot, flash memory card reader, internal DVD burner, internal SATA hard drive, and a two-button touchpad.


Seems very good with Fedora Core 5, at least (that's all that I've tried on it, so far).  It was able to use it without requiring anything special to be done.

It has an 8× AGP slot, three PCI slots, on-board sound (SiS chipset) and video (SiS 661 chipset), two DDR-2 SDRAM DIMM RAM slots, two UDMA IDE (SiS 5513 chipset), floppy, one parallel, one serial, six USB 1.0/2.0 using a SiS chipset (four rear panel sockets, and headers for two more), one 100 Mb/S ethernet (SiS 900 chipset), one 15-pin game/MIDI, and PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports.

Gigabyte 6WMMC7 version 4

Seems fine working with Red Hat 9.0 Linux and Fedora Core 3, though I couldn't manage to install Fedora to it using the network—I kept getting nonsensical errors or no responses.  In the end, I gave up trying to find the cause, and used a hard drive that I'd already installed Linux onto with another computer, then run Kudzu to reconfigure it for the different hardware.  I never tried installing Red Hat to it, one of these boards was used as a direct swap to upgrade an existing system—the PC Chips board listed elsewhere on this page.

The board has three PCI slots, a riser for a modem card, and a ZIF socket 370 CPU fitting.  On-board Intel 82801AA AC97 sound chipset, Intel 82810 graphics chipset, and 82801AA USB chipset (all of which can be disabled).  It also has two 66 MHz UDMA IDE ports, one floppy drive port, two serial ports, one parallel port, and a game/MIDI port (all of which can be disabled).

See:, get Gigabyte 6WMMC7 PDF manual

M571LMR (an unlabelled PC Chips board)

It works with Red Hat 8.0 & 9.0, Fedora Core 2 & 3, Linux, but this is hideous hardware.  Windows 98 Second Edition is crash happy on it, Windows 95 a bit less, though more useless.  The on-board sound, USB, serial port, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, LAN, and video is supported, but the on-board PC-TEL MODEM doesn't seem to be.

The board has two 33 MHz UDMA IDE and one floppy drive port.


Hewlett Packard 4L Laser printer

Works well with Red Hat 9.0 and Fedora Core 3 Linux CUPS' drivers.  It's a very old printer though, from around 1992.

Kyocera FS-400 Laser printer

Works with Red Hat 9.0 Linux CUPS' drivers, though only if you pick the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 3 drivers (this is just one of the emulations that the printer supports; it also supports IBM Proprinter, Epson LQ-850, Diablo, and line printer emulations). If you pick the driver intended for this model printer (CUPS' Kyocera FS-400 driver, with the printer in HP-LJ3 emulation mode) you only get the top third of the page printing.  Bought for around $A110, second hand (April, 2004), with new replacement toner cartridges around $A50 (supposedly prints 1200 pages each, but I've only managed about half of that—plain text printing, mostly).  Uses parallel port cabling.


Mustek 1200 CU

It's actually badged as an Olympic OTC-1200 CU scanner, but if you check what's really inside, it's a Mustek.  It's USB, with its own, separate, power supply.  It works with XSane on at least Fedora Core 4 and Fedora 7, I can't really remember what other Linux releases that I've tested it with (perhaps Red Hat 8.0 and 9.0 Linux, and Fedora Core 5).  It, allegedly, scans up to 600 × 1200 DPI, at up to 48 bit colour resolution, with the packaging making even more outrageous claims about higher scanning resolutions that are completely fake (achieved by bit doubling in software, so you aren't really increasing the resolution).  The colour response isn't too bad, but I've seen better on another scanner we have, that doesn't work on Linux (both have been used on another OS, before).


Cyberdrive 52× 24× 52× CD rewriter
Model:  CW099D

Tried with Red Hat 9.0 Linux, and seems to work fine (burns rewriteable and write-once discs).  It's a cheap drive and looks a little tacky (both the packaging and the drive, itself).  The box is covered with awards, though most I've never heard of, and some for other models made in 2002), and it came with Nero (burning software for Windows).


Gigatech external USB 2.0 to SATA & PATA IDE 3.5″ HD enclosure

I plugged a very large (320 gig) SATA drive into it, and just started using it (tried with FC5 and FC7), no hassles with having to do anything configuration-wise for the enclosure, just whatever you want to do to manage using your hard drive in the usual way (the computer doesn't know, can't tell, and wouldn't care, whether the drive was IDE or SATA, every USB-attached drive that I've seen is treated as if it were SCSI).  There's sockets, and short connector cables, supplied for the data and power cabling as used on both types of drive, you simply use the ones you need and remove the ones you don't.  For PATA drives, you'd jumper them as master or single drives, depending on which technique your drive uses for when there's no slave drive sharing the ribbon cable.

It's an all-metal enclosure, with a fair number of air holes all around the edges, and no fan.  It only gets luke warm, it seems to have adequate cooling, as it is.  Though I'd be careful if stacking drives, or if putting it somewhere with restricted airflow.  On the other hand, I'm not thrilled about enclosures that need fans for cooling, especially plastic enclosures, the fans don't seem adequate, they make a racket and seize up all too quickly.  A metal enclosure uses the entire casing to dissipate heat, without needing any moving parts.  Bought for about $50 around the end of 2007.

Addendum:  This enclosure, like many other cheap ones, has a rather crappy power supply.  It gets incredibly hot, and the switchmode power supply radiated so much crap (several volts across the length of the drive's own USB cable) that it causes my ADSL modem to keep on disconnecting.  It still does this even when I disconnect all the network cabling between the modem and the computer the drive is connected to.  This is the third external drive enclosure I've come across to exhibit this interference behaviour, on more than just my modem, and they're all different brands.


LG multi DVD recorder
Vendor code:  HL-DT-ST
Revision:  JL10

Works fine with Fedora Core 5 (haven't tried burning with it using other releases, but have used it to for installing FC6 from self-burnt DVD install discs).

Samsung writemaster DVD burner
Vendor code:  TSSTcorp
Model:  CD/DVDW SH-W162C
Revision:  TS10

Works fine with Fedora Core 4 (haven't tried it with other releases).

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