Benjamin Schieder


2005 October 15

Don't you just hate these whining idiots? Especially the kind that buys some exotic piece of hardware like a 23 button mouse or a keyboard with 42 'multimedia keys' and then bitches about how sucky Linux/*BSD/whatever is?
Well, I know I do. And although I know that these people are generally immune to common sense I post a guide on how to contact the hardware manufacturer The Right Way™.

Step 1 - Contact the hardware manufacturer BEFORE buying the hardware

Actually, this is really the most important step. Not just because it is the first one but because it is the one where you tell the manufacturer that he will be losing out on a sale.
Here's a nice template for use:

Dear Sir or Madam,

my name is INSERT_YOUR_NAME_HERE and I am interested in your product named INSERT_PRODUCT_NAME_HERE. As I am using INSERT_YOUR_NON_REDMOND_OS_HERE on the computer I intend to use your product with I want to know where to find help on getting your product running with that operating system on your site.

Kind regards,

Note a few things about that letter:

  • it is assumed that the hardware is supported on your OS

  • it is written politely

During the whole conversation with the manufacturer, NEVER EVER STRAY FROM THESE TWO RULES.

Step 2 - asking when it will be supported

Now, chances are you will get a response that the hardware is not officially supported. In that case here's what you should respond with:


I am sorry to hear that INSERT_NAME_OF_PRODUCT is not yet supported on INSERT_YOUR_NON_REDMOND_OS_HERE. When can I expect this to be the case?

Kind regards,

Note the same things about that letter again:

  • it is assumed that the hardware will be supported on your OS soon

  • it is written politely

See, it isn't difficult to be polite, now is it?

Step 3 - it will not be supported

Now, chances again are that you'll get a response saying that this will never change or not within the foreseeable future. Note that "soon" also falls under this category.
In this case, here's your proper response:


I am very disappointed that INSERT_COMPANY_NAME_HERE has this stand on supporting INSERT_PRODUCT_NAME_HERE on the INSERT_YOUR_NON_REDMOND_OS_HERE platform.
Please understand that I will not buy INSERT_PRODUCT_NAME_HERE in this case.

Kind regards,

The important thing is to really not buy the stuff then. And repeat with the next manufacturer.

If you have success/failure stories with these letters, I'll be happy to hear about them. Send them to me.

Why you should do this

Now you might say that just because you contact them about the hardware they probably won't start supporting it on your platform.
And guess what? You're right.
But also consider this:
Why do you cheer for your soccer team in a stadium?
Or for your favorite Formula 1 pilot?
Or for your favorite boxer?
Do you really think they'll score a goal more just because of you? Drive faster because of you? Hit harder because of you?
Hell, no! Not because of you. But because there are hundreds of other people doing the same thing!
And that's the same with hardware manufacturers. They won't support Linux/BSD/whatever just because of one possible sale. But they will for hundreds or even thousands of sales.

Call me a dreamer if you like, but at least I'm not just whining about my new hardware not being supported.

Category: blog