Right now, if you have a piece of unsupported hardware, Ubuntu does nothing, and you are stuck googling and scouring the forums to see if there are alternatives to getting your hardware working, or even just to confirm that your hardware really doesnt work.
I propose that instead of nothing, Ubuntu whisks you off to a wiki page based off of the hardware Identifier. There, I expect two main activities to take place; users can collaborate on alternative installation methods, and collaborate on advocacy for native linux support.
Some example cases:
3D Graphics older than 6 months. Ubuntu will probabaly have a driver in the restricted-drivers-manager, but is that it? Now it works, and who cares? Why not still link to a page where those interested can email NVidia whatever about their desire for native linux support. Or, if there is a way to donate money to the cause...
3D cards newer than 6 months. A person buying the latest graphics cards won't get support from Ubuntu till the next release, which could be 6 months away (AFAIK). The wiki page could include all the advocacy info previously stated, additionally it could have manual driver installation instructions, like compiling the driver.
NdisWrapper: I have a wireless card that I use ndiswrapper for. I got it working through having good luck through google, and the ubuntuguide.org website, which AFAIK is being slowly taken down. If I got a new card, I'm not sure how I would get it working. The wiki could hold all this info directly, and additionally, I would love to email someone about getting native linux support, even though I have the card working ATM.
Webcam: I bought a webcam on sale, and spent several hours trying to get it working, and googling for information, only to find that it is known that there is NO support for linux at all. It would be nice if I was just told that right away, and a wiki could do that.
SO, to restate the idea: Much hardware today (AFAIK) has a type identifier which OS's use to install the correct driver. Currently, if ubuntu has no support, it does nothing. I wish Ubuntu would pop up a message, and link me to a wiki page (based on the ID) where I could collaborate with other owners of the hardware.[....]