Video, Modem and SB Drivers: where to look for them?

I'm customizing a PC, if I'll want to install Linux,

1) should I check for the drivers *before* to choose the hardware?

2) Is each hardware manufacturer place the only one place where to check about drivers availability?. There is some place like LinuxDriverCentral?

I am thinking in
modem: Actiontec 56k Call Waiting Modem
sound: SoundBlaster Live! MP3+
video1: ATI Xpert 2000 32Mb AGP
OR
video2:Diamond ViperII Z200 32 Mb AGP TV Out
OR
video3:Diamond Stealth III Xtreme 32Mb AGP
 
julitoAsked:
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jlevieCommented:
If you're customizing a system and intend to run Linux on it at you certainly want to pick cards that are supported. The "packaged Linux" vendors, like RedHat, Caldera, etc all have Hardware Compatibiliy Lists (HCL) that list all of the hardware that's known to work in their version of Linux. I know that RedHat's & Caldera's are viewable online (www.redhat.com, www.caldera.com) and probably others are also.

You'll typically find that the supported hardware isn't going to be the latest & greatest. It takes time to develop drivers and the Linux community generally has to wait for the card to be released to even begin to start work. In the windows world the vendor gets to create the driver while they are getting the card in production.

Stick with stuff that's known to work, at least in the beginning. Some of the newer stuff that's not on the HCL can be made to work with patched drivers, updated modules, later version of X than is distributed with the OS, etc. It can be a fair bit of work and frustration to try to get unsupported cards to work.
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julitoAuthor Commented:
Hi jlevie

Your question seems to be OK, however I reject it in order to see more answer.

If nobody goes beyond you did the points will be for you.
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jlevieCommented:
BTW, have you checked any of the HCL's yet?
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julitoAuthor Commented:
Yes, I went to RedHat.

I did not find anything about Actiontec call waiting modem neither in RedHat nor in http://www.actiontec.com/  but it the last one has a nice "Linux Users (coming soon)" link.

What is "BTW"?

I also did not see any compatibility for AMD/Athlon?. It's a bit extrange RedHat site.

 
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jlevieCommented:
The Anthalon became generally available very late in the production of 6.1, as I recall. So there probably wasn't time for through regression testing. I doubt that the Anthalon processor would be a problem and I'm pretty sure that I'm seen some folks using it on.

BTW is an Internet acronym for "By The Way".

Of all the devices on your list the modem is probably the least concern, if it's an external modem that has an "AT" command set. And generally, in a Linux environment you're always better off to use an external modem in terms of compatability. I alway recommend external modems, even for windows platforms. An external modem can take a lightning strike on the phone line and you'll usually just loose the modem. When it's internal with direct connections to all the hardware its quite common to have most everything inside the box get fried.
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bernardhCommented:
Most of the times, the devices you want for your dream Linux machine are not supported by a single Linux vendor. But you can still make those devices work by using drivers from different vendors. I got drivers from SuSe and Mandrake work on my RedHat 6.0. Experiment...
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EatEmAndSmileCommented:
All drivers are under /etc/rc.d/rc.modules, besides video drivers, that are under XF86Setup. Run SuperProbe before to check out which video chipset you've got.
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julitoAuthor Commented:
"All drivers are under /etc/rc.d/rc..."  

EatEmAndSmile:  You forgot to tell us WHERE is that directory, it seems to be a FTP site, isn't it?.
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EatEmAndSmileCommented:
No, that's the absolute path on your own box.

 Just edit /etc/rc.d/rc.modules with "VI" and uncomment the lines for the devices you want to have support. These are called "kernel modules", they're not compiled in the kernel to avoid getting it bloated with stuff you won't use. So they're loaded only if you want, from that file.

 By the way, the word "drivers" in Linux is deprecated. In Linux, software that add support for devices or features are called "kernel modules" or just "modules".
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julitoAuthor Commented:
ok!,

I've never seen a PC running Linux yet.
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EatEmAndSmileCommented:
No problem, pal. Count on me whenever you wanna share some thoughts... By the way, a very interesting website to get Linux info is http://www.slackware.com/forum/ There's the cool advantage that you won't need "points" there to make questions.

 Later!
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jlevieCommented:
This has been effectively dead for 8 days so I'm going to assume that the comment when my first proposed answer was rejected should imply that the question is answered.
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julitoAuthor Commented:
Yes, it's enough.
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