Every so often I find a device which - inexplicably - doesn't include Linux support.
I've been very impressed with how well Ubuntu runs on the Lenovo ThinkPad X200. Everything worked out of the box - with the exception of the fingerprint reader (AuthenTec AES2810).
Now, I know that fingerprint readers can easily be defeated by jelly-babies, but it annoys me when something doesn't work.
The manufacturer of the fingerprint reader has a great developer community, so I contacted them. Here's their response:
Linux support for AES devices is not yet available.
But based on the increasing number of requests we are currently considering to release the technical specification to the Linux community to be able to integrate selected AES sensor devices to the Open Source projects.
We still need to finalize the related discussions with our legal team regarding NDA requirement for the particular developers and clarify all remaining concerns.
I will make a note to let you know once we come to a conclusion and will be ready to move forward.
Another plan is to extend our BSAPI SDK (currently supporting our TC devices under Windows/Linux/Mac) with AES devices support. The BSAPI is available for free download in it's Lite version.
However, it's not all good news:
since it is hard to predict how exactly and when we will decide to provide the support at the end I would suggest to be careful when blogging about it to avoid false expectations in the community.
I realise that Linux is currently a niche OS - but lack of open software support is a serious omission from any hardware manufacturer. I learned this to my cost when Creative stopped supporting the Hollywood DXR3 card - it was a cracking bit of hardware, but Creative decided that they didn't care about pissing off customers who had Windows XP.
If a hardware manufacturer won't allow you to use their hardware with any software you choose - guess what; it's not your hardware. You may have thought you bought it from them, but you didn't. You are only renting it until they decide they no longer want to support you.