zicobarton
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:15 pm

I'm new(ish) to Linux so apologies if this is a stupid question.

If something (say a keyboard or wifi dongle) has Linux drivers will it work with the Raspberry Pi or will it need to have ARM drivers or Debian ARM drivers?

I just need to know what I should be looking out for when I come to buy peripherals.

Amazon has a wireless keyboard which is Linux compatible, would I be able to use it?

Thanks

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 25368
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Hi there,

Usually in Linux all the drivers are (sort of) built in. So plug in most things and they just work. For example, wireless keyboards and mice. Also many Wifi dongles are usually supported out of the box.

Some rarer devices might need extra drivers. If Linux driver are available on for example a CD, they will be x86 versions. They would need to recompiled for Arm.  That's where is would get a bit more complicated.

For example I use a Logitec wireless designed for the Nintendo Wii keyboard on my device, and it just works.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I own the world’s worst thesaurus. Not only is it awful, it’s awful."

dukla2000
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:02 am
Location: Reading.UK.EU

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:32 pm

zicobarton said:


I'm new(ish) to Linux so apologies if this is a stupid question.


Only stupid answers! As per JamesH they are mostly 'just there'. However you are correct there are peripherals that don't have Linux drivers and/or take a lot of work with Dr Google to get them to work. I moved to Linux about 7 years ago and so can't relate properly to the state of Windows today, but on my PC

- 2.4GHz wireless keyboard/mouse works out of the box

- all pendrives/external HDD work out of the box

- IDE DVB-T TV card works out of the box

- old DVB-T USB stick needed firmware copied off the supplied "Windows" CD and put in the correct Linux directory

- (very old) scanner also requires firmware file to be retrieved from Windows and put in the correct directory

- Mobile broadband dongle works out of the box.

- Wifi USB stick works out of the box

- mobile phone (very old - Sony Ericsson K770i!) needs a line added to a config file to be able to sync diary/contacts/messages

I have to admit that I only once got the remote control on my TV card to work but that is more because I am useless at the IR side of Linux. And can run the TV just fine without a remote.

Certainly worth doing a bit of homework before parting with cash for any peripheral, but in last 2 or 3 years things have become almost painless. My (Linux) distribution is SuSE, one of my most common search types on Dogpile is "suse product name and model number".

USB keyboard/mice it is hard to conceive a major problem. For sure getting all 57 buttons on some of todays gaming mice to work properly would be a challenge, but 3 button and scroll are fine
Daily driver: Pi3B, 64GB Samsung Evo+ @100MHz, DVB-T, onboard WiFi for internet, BT/USB dongle for KB/mouse, 250GB HDD via USB for media, Raspbian Jessie Lite with Openbox desktop.
Museum: Pi B

dukla2000
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:02 am
Location: Reading.UK.EU

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:33 pm

sorry double post - a nightmare with database errors (prop due to too much F5 on the home page!!!)
Daily driver: Pi3B, 64GB Samsung Evo+ @100MHz, DVB-T, onboard WiFi for internet, BT/USB dongle for KB/mouse, 250GB HDD via USB for media, Raspbian Jessie Lite with Openbox desktop.
Museum: Pi B

zicobarton
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:35 pm

Thanks for the quick reply.

Reading the reviews about the keyboard people are saying they plugged it in to their PC (Ubuntu and Mint were mentioned) and it just worked so hopefully it should work on the Raspberry Pi too - when it's finally released - argh hurry up!

If it didn't work, is recompiling for Arm something I'd do or something the manufacturer would do?

TheEponymousBob
Posts: 205
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:05 am
Contact: Website

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:37 pm

zicobarton said:


I'm new(ish) to Linux so apologies if this is a stupid question.

If something (say a keyboard or wifi dongle) has Linux drivers will it work with the Raspberry Pi or will it need to have ARM drivers or Debian ARM drivers?

I just need to know what I should be looking out for when I come to buy peripherals.

Amazon has a wireless keyboard which is Linux compatible, would I be able to use it?


As far as keyboards and mice, the dongle that plugs into the board will generally just be passing data that looks exactly as though it were a wired device - i.e. the fact that they happen to be wireless is strictly between the keyboard and the dongle.  While I've obviously not tried it in a real RPi, the fact that the wireless keyboard/mouse I got from Amazon didn't include any drivers gives me confidence it'll just work.

I'm not (myself) knowledgeable enough about wifi adaptors to say one way or t'other, but I know there are some compatible models listed on the wiki, and I'd take JamesH's word on that.

patrickhwood
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:12 am

Re: Linux Drivers

Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:08 pm

A lot of simpler devices (e.g., keyboards and mice) use standardized protocols over USB, so new drivers aren't necessary.  Wifi dongles are a different matter.  As new chipsets come out, new drivers are sometimes needed.  When buying something like this, I make sure that linux drivers are available.  For example, I have a Realtek rtl8192 wifi dongle that I picked up on eBay for around $6; it came with linux driver sources on a CD, which I had to build for both x86 and ARM.  Due to slight differences in kernel versions, the drivers had to be patched to work with my version.  As luck would have it, more recent versions of the kernel include the driver.

zicobarton
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Linux Drivers

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:55 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Assuming I'm lucky enough to get one ordered tomorrow morning I'll be heading straight over to Amazon to get the wireless keyboard.

Wifi can wait for now as I'll use the ethernet port.

Return to “General discussion”