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BIOS-Approved PCI Cards For Laptops 482

Posted by timothy
from the to-benefit-the-consumer dept.
derek_farn writes "First there were printers that would would only work with vendor annointed ink cartridges; now we have laptops that will only boot with vendor annointed PCI cards. Keeping a list of approved PCI cards in the bios is one way of ensuring that customers renew their maintenance contracts. How else are they going to be able to plug in a PCI card released after the last BIOS update?" My HP laptop is several years old; can anyone confirm this?
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BIOS-Approved PCI Cards For Laptops

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  • Question~ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tektek (829733) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:07PM (#11737915) Homepage
    Is this just Compaq/HP? If so, just don't buy from them?
  • Yes, by all means (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HarryCaul (25943) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:07PM (#11737917)
    Please work to undermine the Great Strength of the PC market, the open architecture.

    Brilliant move.

    They should find everyoen who supported this decision and make sure they never work in any decision-making capacity anywhere again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:07PM (#11737918)
    We can keep our own list of venders who do this... ..and don't buy from them.
  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred@NoSpaM.fredshome.org> on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:11PM (#11737961) Homepage
    More likely they were all promoted and got free shares of stock.
  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:11PM (#11737964) Homepage Journal
    It's too bad TFA doesn't say what kind of mini-PCI card. He probably bought some generic made-in-god-knows-where card from JustDeals or somewhere like that. Now, I'm an opponent of the direction "Trusted Computing" is going, but in this case there's something to be said for a manufacturer locking out shitty peripherals so they don't kill your system. It saves them one more support headache. Apple does the same thing. Sure, lot's of us Mac-heads bitch about it (myself included sometimes), but at the end of the day we can always brag about how plug-and-play Macs are. It looks as though PC manufacturers are following in footsteps of Apple again.
  • Non-Issue (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:13PM (#11737978)
    Laptops have a lifespan of 2-3 years typically -- by the time this is an issue, the next generation laptops will obviate the older.

    I personally would vote with my feet. Companies who try to tie you to proprietary solutions are not on my short list of where I spend my money.

    And yes, that would include Apple.
  • by whereizben (702407) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:13PM (#11737981) Journal
    Which is what the blogger is referring to. Those cards, if I am not mistaken, are the kind of "built-in" cards that you can install, typically under the keyboard, but that you don't remove and re-install all the time. I think you are thinking of PCMCIA cards that you take in and out all the time. And in response to what the blogger is posting, he could remove the MiniPCI card and it would boot fine, and then revert his BIOS back to his old version (unless for some reason it had some VERY critical fix) and then put his card back in and simply not do the BIOS updates unless he really, really has to. But so basically, you don't have to worry at all, me thinks :)
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:16PM (#11738009) Journal
    The capitalist way would be to just sell your services re-fitting/flashing BIOS's with this turned off, of course since the DMCA came into effect capitalism now comes second to campaign financing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:17PM (#11738014)
    ...because apple does not market it as a miniPCI slot, but rather an AirPort card slot. It doesn't claim to be something that it's not - a place to plug in whatever you feel like plugging in. It's there just for the AirPort card, and nothing more.
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:18PM (#11738027)
    No, that seems in line with how capitalism works in this day and age.....
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:20PM (#11738053) Homepage
    Seems to me that if they don't want their computer to be compatible with PCI cards, they shouldn't advertise it as being compatible with PCI cards.

    But maybe I'm crazy.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:21PM (#11738057)
    What I don't hear about is apple and there slots not taking anything but "AIRPORT" cards? why is nobody bitching about that?
    Because Airport is completely proprietary. I don't expect to be able to put a 3rd-party card in my iBook's airport slot because there are no 3rd-party cards that would fit. On the other hand, if IBM or anyone else advertises that their laptop has a [standard] mini-PCI slot, then it damn well better actually be a mini-PCI slot! And it should work with any [standard] mini-PCI card.

    (note: this is not Apple fanboyism -- I don't complain about the proprietary slot on the lid of of my Compaq laptop either.)
  • Paramoia? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by taniwha (70410) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:22PM (#11738070) Homepage Journal
    Is it really trusted computing platform that's the reason for this? (could well be but let me play devil's advocate for a moment) - if I put my hardware designer's hat I'd worry about all sorts of issues around people installing random miniPCI cards in a laptop, esp one I was responsible for the RMAs for (power, heat, physical form factor [shorting components], RF interference to internal components, FCC etc)

    I'd want to make sure that customers weren't trashing laptops by putting in things that destroy them then quietly removing the offending card and returning them for repair.

  • by radiojock (542397) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:23PM (#11738074)
    When you buy a laptop, it IS proprietarty! Can you go to Fry's and just buy a laptop Mobo? or how about a case?... So, while we are at it, Why don't we just start cramming in non-standard batteries into our laptops! You buy a laptop for it's current features, not it's upgradabillity. If you want to expand it, there are USB/1394 devices that will allow you to do that.. I just went to fry's and picked up a junky 9.99 usb2.0 G adapter...
  • Funny. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FreeLinux (555387) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:23PM (#11738077)
    Your post is hilarious because IBM has been known to be doing this for some time now. You ahve been fortunate to only use IBM whitelisted products so far.

    In fact your post reminds me of an incident I experienced a few years ago. I was approached and reprimanded by a WWII veteran for driving a "Jap car". At the time I was driving an Isuzu. After the man was finished reprimanding me, he jumped into his Chevrolet and drove away. I burst out laughing because the particular model of Chevrolet that he was driving was actually a re-branded Isuzu.
  • by http101 (522275) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:29PM (#11738107) Homepage
    If Carly were still in office, she'd probably find a way to convince you that your printer is out of ink and you need to buy refills!

    Aside from that, if this under-handed marketting strategy is going to keep us from running servers/workstations, what's next - BMWs whose engines suddenly stop working because there's a Fram oil filter installed? What if I decide to use a generic dollar-store bulb in my socket instead of the "approved" Philips bulb? Based on this theory, can you imagine what would happen if I were to eat a bag of knock-off raisin bran?

    It sounds to me that this is just a marketting gimick to screw customers over and force them to buy what the manufacturer wants you to buy. God forbid I should find a better alternative to what the manufacturer wants me to buy.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:31PM (#11738117)
    Your misuse of apostrophes is making my eyes bleed... Not one of them was needed :-)
  • by DLWormwood (154934) <wormwood@NOspam.me.com> on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:36PM (#11738163) Homepage
    Almost makes you want to buy a Mac doesn't it?

    I wonder if you'll get a +5, Troll for that...

    Seriously, Apple's always been blamed for being elitist for having a semi-closed architecture and many PC partisans took them to task for it. Now some PC manufacturers are starting to do the same.

    This is probably a sign of things to come. As computing becomes more and more dependant on the Internet to even provide basic functionality, security concerns are going to crowd out flexibility and "freedom." It's really a shame; this will only increase the barrier to entry to computing even higher than it is now. Already, classical shareware and freeware have nearly been killed by fears of viruses and spyware. (Interestingly, the Mac market's about the only place where a shareware developer can make a living from it.) There have already been opening salvos of FUD fired at the Open Source movement for not having a "certified" credential system for contributing programmers and writers. (Even non-coding projects like Wikipedia is starting to get brickbats from "established" editors and writers for not being "professional" enough.)

    The age of the garage developer is nearly, if not already, over.

  • by magarity (164372) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:37PM (#11738169)
    He probably bought some generic made-in-god-knows-where card

    Look, *all* the PC cards are made in the same giant sized factory called "Taiwan". I ran into a problem with an HP Netserver that HP blamed on my Crucial branded memory by saying only HP branded memory was good enough. Of course the solution ended up not involving the memory. Heck, HP doesn't own a memory fab; they just slap their sticker on whatever they get the best bulk rates on. In the article about the mini-PCI card, HP has no legitimate way to claim only thier PCI cards have to be used or the dang thing won't even boot. It's one thing to say 'we don't support it because you installed a third party peice' and it's completely different to actively prevent even trying.
  • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:41PM (#11738199)
    Look, guys, Mini-PCI is not meant to be a route for user extensibility; it was meant to be a mechanism for the vendor to add individual cards to a standard motherboard. If you want to configure a high-speed a/b/g device, go through your USB ports.

  • by geoffspear (692508) * on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:53PM (#11738301) Homepage
    Right. I normally just expect my 2 HP printers and scanner, Lacie hard drive, Wacom tablet, Logitech mouse, and Palm pilot to not work with my Mac. I'm shocked every time one of these non-Apple peripherals works right.

    The only Apple peripheral I use at all is the keyboard that came with the machine. You're an idiot.

  • by Fluffy the Cat (29157) on Monday February 21, 2005 @03:54PM (#11738312) Homepage
    The FCC regulations don't actually require what IBM does - the closest is a requirement that you not be able to use unauthorised antennae with an authorised card, which is the direct opposite of IBM's solution. The amount of the planet over which the FCC have jurisdiction is also fairly small compared to the size of IBM's market...
  • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday February 21, 2005 @04:01PM (#11738390)
    What I don't hear about is apple and there slots not taking anything but "AIRPORT" cards?

    I'm using a Belkin 802.11g card in my Powerbook without problems and using an out-of-the-box version of OS 10.2. No third-party drivers needed. Even if I did need an additional driver, there's a difference between merely not supporting third-party products and actively preventing their use via whitelist.

    -b.

  • by dingfelder (819778) on Monday February 21, 2005 @04:04PM (#11738425) Homepage Journal

    Must be going by the old rule

    Actually, the old rule is:

    If you don't have anything interesting or insightful to say about the parent post, waste everyone's time by blasting the mofo for stupid grammar rule violations :D
  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Monday February 21, 2005 @04:05PM (#11738440)
    Bull, I say. Putting a WLAN PCI card in your desktop PC doesn't change its FCC certification!

    That's because the desktop PCI card comes complete with a built-in antenna. In a laptop, the antenna's built into the case and the card plugs into it.

    Because of this, it's possible to venture outside the FCC certification by using a different miniPCI card.
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Monday February 21, 2005 @04:20PM (#11738618) Homepage
    Er, if it's on the spec sheet, it's advertising. If it doesn't work, it's fraud.

    Now, since I don't know which particular models are in question, I can't check. But it seems pretty cut and dried to me: If you sell me something, and it's designed to not work as advertised, you've defrauded me.
  • by Karma Farmer (595141) on Monday February 21, 2005 @04:56PM (#11738909)
    Your Mini-PCI slot was never intended to be user upgradeable. Frankly, I always assumed they wouldn't be compatible between laptop vendors, models, or nescessarily even between two laptops of the same model that came off the assembly line on different days.

    If you want to upgrade to a better wireless connection, use a PMCIA card.
  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Monday February 21, 2005 @05:12PM (#11739053) Homepage

    (Even non-coding projects like Wikipedia is starting to get brickbats from "established" editors and writers for not being "professional" enough.)

    That's an entirely different issue altogether. Wikipedia is trying to present itself as truth when in fact it is merely presenting a gestalt consensus of the users (No, they are not the same thing. Reality is not subject to a democratic vote.)

  • by Bastian (66383) on Monday February 21, 2005 @05:30PM (#11739199)
    There have already been opening salvos of FUD fired at the Open Source movement for not having a "certified" credential system for contributing programmers and writers.

    I can give anyone a certificate right now. Just give me some scrap paper and a green crayon, and I'll certify you for anything. Heck, I'll even ask you a few lame questions first to make sure you're qualified.

    And that's about how I'll feel about certificates for as long as there are VeriSign certificates for spyware companies, MCSEs, and the like.
  • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Monday February 21, 2005 @06:56PM (#11739841) Journal
    > ....if you car detected something trivial like a non OEM starter and refused to crank

    You need to preceed that with "If the federal government required all combinations of starters and engines to be approved before sale, and . . ."

    In spite of the slashdot-grade bad description, this isn't about all peripherals . . .

    hawk
  • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysavNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 21, 2005 @07:19PM (#11739999) Journal
    "MicroChannel wasn't proprietary either; IBM successfully licensed it to other companies."

    I am forced to wonder what the hell "proprietary" means in your world.

    In my world, if you have to pay a licence fee to use something then it is "proprietary".

    Indeed, the Holy Grail of producing proprietary technology is to have it accepted as a defacto standard which effectively forces all your competitors to pay you a licence fee.

    This is what IBM attempted to do with MCA.

    Fast forward to the current day and you will see that this is exactly what Microsoft are busily attempting to do with their proprietary WMA+DRM codec. If they could only convince all the punters out there to start using WMA instead of MP3 then they would be able to charge licence fees to every personal music player manufacturer on the planet.

    1) Produce proprietary technology
    2) ????
    3) Attain overwhelming market dominance and defacto standard status
    4) Charge licence fees to every device manufacturer on the planet
    5) Profit $$$
  • Re:Funny. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flossie (135232) on Monday February 21, 2005 @08:03PM (#11740303) Homepage
    I once had a US-built car (a Jeep Cherokee). Never, ever, again! European or Asian, I don't care, but never again a US car. The notion of build quality just doesn't seem to apply to them.

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