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I am running Linux Mint Rafaela 17.2 on my PC. I had to manually edit a file on my microSD card which contained the Raspbian OS for my Raspberry Pi. When I plugged it into my PC, using a MicroSD to USB adapter, I could detect the SD card, but it did not automatically mount, and the option to mount it in my Disks utility was greyed out. When I plugged it into my dad's Mac, it automatically mounted and let me do my work with ease.

Such a situation also happened before when I had to reformat a thumb drive that I badly messed up. When I plugged it into my PC, which was running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS back then, nothing happened. I forgot to check my Disks utility to see if it had been detected, but I know for sure it wasn't mounted, so I assumed it couldn't be read by my Linux. When I plugged it into a Mac, it did report an error saying it could not be read, but it did still detect it and allow me to reformat it and fix it.

So what differs between OS X and the two Linux distros I used such that OS X can handle more types of hardware?

  • I think that the Linux kernel also notices that a new device is plugged in, tho it may lack support for it. Check dmesg in a terminal directly after plugging in. – ott-- Dec 12 '15 at 21:14
  • Do you know what filesystem type is in use on the microSD card? (That may be more relevant than hardware questions, actually.) NTFS, FAT32, HFS, ext4...? – Wildcard Apr 13 '16 at 5:56
  • @Wildcard, I'm fairly certain it would be ext3 or ext4, as it uses Raspbian, which is based on Debian. I didn't check though. It didn't show me in installation, as I used the NOOBS software to install Raspbian. – Rohan Apr 14 '16 at 6:03
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Mac OSX even if belonging to the UNIX family (based on nextstep and containing BSD userland) is still a proprietary system and comes with its own set of drivers. These may well provide better support for some hardware than drivers shipped with ubuntu

  • So if that is the case then wouldn't Windows also provide better support? I, however, had the same problems for the second scenario with Windows. – Rohan Dec 12 '15 at 22:40
  • @Rohan, why would "Mac has better support for some hardware" imply that Windows would also have better support for the same hardware? I don't follow the logic there at all.... – Wildcard Apr 12 '16 at 2:27
  • @Wildcard I think he said that because Windows also ships with it's own proprietary drivers, and that is the justification suggested for the Mac having better hardware support, so he though that Windows' [proprietary] drivers should also detect the Hardware like the Mac did. – Ankush Apr 12 '16 at 3:36
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    @Ankush, thanks. I did actually gather that. It's still illogical. ;) Mac comes with its own set of proprietary drivers; Windows comes with yet another set of proprietary drivers. Their performance may therefore vary compared to the open source drivers of Ubuntu. They may be better, or worse. Given the evidence of the question itself, it looks like Mac's drivers support this specific hardware better than Ubuntu's. To conclude anything about Windows' driver quality from this is a non-sequitur. – Wildcard Apr 12 '16 at 3:54
  • @Wildcard I apologize if that was a poor question, I have no understanding of how drivers work and what would perform better than others, so I have no knowledge on the topic to even logically discuss any aspect of drivers. – Rohan Apr 13 '16 at 4:28

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