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Linux Hardware Detection Project 70

jesus writes "The crazy kiddies over at Linux Mandrake have started the Lothar Project . The goal is to make hardware detection and configuration easy. The code is in CVS and they need all sorts of different people and furry animals, so take a gander at the page, look at the pretty screenshots, and contribute to world domination. "
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Linux Hardware Detection Project

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually I have been hoping that the rising popularity and widespread use of Linux will finally be able to kill the while idea of Plug-n-Pray altogether. Sure it's great if it works but if it doesn't you're just screwed. And that is aside from the fact that jumperless cards are just a way for manufacturers to save a few cents on the card and make the software do a little more work.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, we want to attract the masses but not at the cost of Linux's flexibility. User friendliness should only go as far as allowing the user to maintain complete control if necessary. In this case it is a moot point I suppose since you don't have to use this program to set up your hardware. But in the tradition of Linux I agree that it needs a nice non-X interface.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lothar, Laetos [], GTLinux [], and the new OpenLinux all look very interesting in bringing Linux to the public by making it easier to install than W9x (face it, that's not a high bar).

    Leatos seems a bit odd as the naming suggests that it is a new OS, not a distribution, but that may be sound marketing for the French market. Still, the code is GPL, so more power to them.

    LinuxGT have picked their own logo, and when it was last up the website had now infor about license or source code, but I imagine they will get round to that.

    Rather than everyone creating easy-install distributions, it would be nice to see more distribution-independent tools, like linuxconf.

  • Is it just me, or does the "source coming soon" bit seem to be getting used more often these days?

    It seems like companies could (theoretically, I'm not making accusations here) use these delays to give them a competitive edge over their competition (say, Caldera and Red Hat).

    I haven't read the GPL lately, but does it allow for this kind of staggered release schedule (even if it's not by very long)? Or are these companies theoretically releasing the code under two licenses (the initial binary license, and then re-releasing it under the GPL when the source comes out)?

    Delayed access for others to stuff that you've done sounds an awful lot like the protection under patent law for X years. Except the time frame is greatly reduced in this case, of course.

    Stuff to think about.
  • I would think the most important time to do hardware detection is when you are first installing the operating system. You don't want the X Window System running for the initial install, so why isn't this using a character mode. Possibly include a pretty X11 frontend for later use, but this program begs for having a Text user interface.
  • I would think the most important time to do hardware detection is when you are first installing the operating system. You don't want the X Window System running for the initial install, so why isn't this using a character mode? Possibly include a pretty X11 frontend for later use, but this program begs for having a Text user interface.
  • For what it's worth, Caldera's OpenLinux 2.2 installer will be released under the GPL in a month or two according to Caldera folks at thier Comdex booth. That will certainly give this (and similar) projects a good start at some code.

    And to those that say a text mode one should be done first, it's easy to run just a VGA16 X server to do the installer. I'm not sure how OL2.2 does it, but they have a nice, graphical program doing all the installation. It's prettier to look at, but not critical. Either mode is fine by me. The actual function is more important than the look.

  • Check out Basically it's a group project management system. Everyone downloads a copy of the source via 'cvs checkout'..

    People can commit new changes to the source tree via 'cvs commit'...

    You can get a diff between your source tree and the one at the repository via 'cvs diff'...

    You can update the current directory you are in via 'cvs update'.

    Basic commands to checkout source are:

    export CVSROOT=:pserver:user@host/directory
    cvs login
    [enter password]
    cvs -z3 checkout tree-you-want-to-checkout

  • Yes I know its a source code control system too!
  • --Surprised no one's mentioned it yet; I think it was Phil Hartman, who played "Lothar... Of the Hill People!" ==Wolfrider, happily using Mandrake (Festen) at home
  • Everything good eventually needs to come from RedHat, are you?

    I have nothing against RedHat, and I like the cycle you suggest, but then you aren't saying that are you?
  • I quote Anonymous Coward as my source.

    \me puffs chest

  • Package format really doesn't matter. Alien can convert between debs, RPMS, even Stampede's SLP's. Your out on a limb if you trust RPMs or any packaging system to manage your linux box for you anyway.

    But the DeFacto standard for Linux will always be...

    make install

    thats a fact.
  • Checking out the URL you listed for LAETOS, it appears that they are working together with mandrake (the emails for their hardware detection section are on the mandrake site)
  • This is an excellent example of how OpenSource can motivate even commercial OS vendors who release kernel source.
  • PCI pnp needs absolutely no assistance from the OS . The BIOS does all the work.
  • The devices don't NEED detected. They just need to be recognized and have their drivers loaded.

    What's not there now (and what this project seems to be) is a database of vendor/device ID's cross referenced with the appropriate kernel module with a nice GUI on top.

    Once you know what module to load, the module does all the work from there. Knowing to load module foo is the biggest problem.
  • hey..what window manager/theme are those screenshots runnin? /me *really* likes the looks of that. :)

    If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed...
  • I think it's safe to assume (like Win9x does) that you have a 16-colour VGA graphical display, or monochrome at the very least. If it just run XF86_Mono or XF86_VGA16, then there probably wouldn't be too much trouble.
  • But remember, this works both ways. Redhat has GPL'd all their detection code, which should give the Lothar group a jump start.

  • by slothbait ( 2922 ) on Thursday April 22, 1999 @11:54AM (#1920686)
    Mandrake's original draw was the whole KDE+Red Hat thing, which appealed to a lot of people back when Red Hat refused to touch K. I expect that the existence of Mandrake helped push Red Hat to include KDE in RH 6.

    Now that an "alternative" Red Hat that includes KDE isn't needed anymore, though, I was wondering what Mandrake would do with themselves. Well, apparently they've found a very worthy case to pursue. Even if this project doesn't suceed (and I hope that it does), it will pressure Red Hat to improve *their* hardware configuration support, just to stay up with the "competition".

    I see this cycle continuing: Red Hat overlooks something that the users want, so people put together a "better" Red Hat that addresses these issues. In order not to lose users, Red Hat realizes that it must develop these features for it's release. And most will happily stay with Red Hat as a result.

    This is all As It Should Be, as far as I am concerned.


    //"You can't prove anything about a program written in C or FORTRAN.
    It's really just Peek and Poke with some syntactic sugar."
  • This is one of those projects that should and will stand out in the community. This a required step in Linux's continued expansion. I applaud the effort of the folks over at madrake. A few suggested considerations (which have most likely alrady been considered, but would enjoy hearing thoughts on them):

    Linuxconf tie-ins?

    Great work guys!
  • if someone know QNX [], they sell their OS on a CD and there's a standalone floppy disk that boot into Photon (their GUI) and a little program detect everything in your computer and display it as a tree, like in windows/control panel/system/peripheral (it's not their demo disk, it's the boot one for the CD, i don't know if they can make it available to everyone?), i use it sometimes in computerstore to check compatibility, i'm looking for a notebook that can run QNX and BeOS fully. also there's some dos freeware programs that identify a lot of hardware, i remember one written in TP with sources.
  • ..or does this look an awful lot like the Windows 95 "Device Manager" screen?

    I think it does. Sure, it makes it more accessible to the win95 crowd, but at what point do we have to start worrying about "look and feel" copyrights? I think that can of worms might be a potential backdoor for Microsoft to start taking out Linux developers with legal threats, one at a time. Lothar looks like the device manager. Lyx looks like MSWord. xs looks like Excel. aXe looks like Notepad. Sure, it wouldn't stand up in court, but who among us has the raw lawyer capacity to match the MS Legal Department (tm)?

    Or maybe I'm just being overly paranoid.

    Another point, I saw someone else make a comment in the direction that a console-only utility would be more useful for the original install process; I think that should be more important than a user friendly GUI to play with. Personally, I already know what's inside my box, so "cd /usr/src/linux; make xconfig" works for me.

    Leapfrog, the mediocre.

  • I have no probs with using Plug 'n' Pray ISA cards under 2.2.x .. my SBAWE64 works fine including midi .. a simple run of 'isapnpconfig' (or is it isapnptool .. can't remember atm) works wonders.

    It's sort of ironic that you "can't remember atm" since if it were truly "Plug 'n' Play" you wouldn't have to remember.

  • ...that just because M$oft controlls the idiotprone^H^Hoof software, people shouldn't even bother trying to write it for Linux? That's bass-ackwards thinking....
  • Gee.. hardware autodetection... like BSD has had since the early 1980s?

    Wow... I'm impressed...

  • I have been know, when it's late at night and there is a full moon, to install new hardware in my system.
  • Guess it's time for me to change my nick.

    Anyway, the Lothar project seems to be quite interresting and a good effort to help the new generation of linux users.
  • Use what you like. Enjoy life. Don't let package competition be a source of stress. Debian has reduced my stress a lot. Thanks everyone at debian. Thanks a lot. I mean it.

    I've never been happier with a box. Just be happy and ignore all the hate.
  • This is one of the best software projects I've seen come about in a while...
    Hope it fulfills my expectations...
    What about USB? Just a thought...
  • Appears to be some Enlightenment/GNOME derivative...
    Could be wrong...
  • I have no probs with using Plug 'n' Pray ISA cards under 2.2.x .. my SBAWE64 works fine including midi .. a simple run of 'isapnpconfig' (or is it isapnptool .. can't remember atm) works wonders.

    The world will be a better place anyway when ISA is dead and gone.
  • I hope this will have pnp isa cards included. Not that its hard, but if Linux is gunna move to more desktops...we need this :)
    Just my $.02
    Natas -Civ: CTP for Linux!
  • It's GPL, when it gets to a good level, RedHat will simply adopt it in their distribution (or simple grab the detection code and add it to their existing detection program).
  • The link was down for me but, CVS is just yet another version control system which has rcs at its core.
  • No. M$ sees someone developing something, develops something kind of like it, but inferior, and then forces it's OEMs to bundle the software with new computers. Then it declares their product the standard, and makes sure the next release of windows makes it impossible for the original to work.

    This is simply putting money in places where it will improve Linux as a whole. After all, anyone can download KDE, neh?

  • The GTK Theme appears to be Marble3D. The window manager looks to be E, but I am not sure which theme.
  • Hmmmm.... ok, but I mean better hardware detection of such devices as well :)... Sorry for the confuzzlement.
  • *Flame shield on*

    Why make the statement about 'contributing to world domination', when this makes you sound terribly like Microsoft? I really don't understand how one can be against a certain train of thought, yet pronounce the same desire...

    No matter how much I wish to see everyone putting the right OS in the right solution, there are still comments like this. When will people realise that the world needs more than one OS?

    *Flame shield off*

    Besides that, I can't wait to see better PnP in Linux...especially with the amount of PCI / USB devices that are reliant on this. PnP would boost even more interest in Linux in more situations, all that's needed then is a little more help from hardware makers.
  • Check
  • That's there is to it
  • Check out S3 they chose to sue Nvidia for a vague patent issue instead of working on their hardware.

    Who's on top now?
  • Who the hell wants it.

    Linux isn't/shouldn't be made to be the perfect OS for servers, workstations, $1500 recipe books. Linux shouldn't be caught in the Microsoft balancing act of sometime down the road saying... Well we put the X11 library in the kernel mode because Quake users wheren't able to get the same performance that they can in Windows 2000. Making a H/W detection/PnP managment program in X11 is already going that road. UNIX doesn't have a windows mode. X11 happens to be a nifty program added onto UNIX to give it a window look and feel. Because that is true, hardware config shouldn't rely on this non-essential package being there.

    Linux is just an open source Microsoft if it continues down the path of trying to be everything. State what Linux is and make it the best whatever it is.

    I'd truly like to see this project done in a platform/OS independent architecture. Why not first create the software by laying out the specs and then let people implement those specs for different OSes. (Say using a unified fingerprint DB and a set of API's to speak to the configuration/detection program.) Then you could write a unix/windows/solaris/SCO/BeOS/JavaPC... Interface to this project. If all the program did was report the current configuration and allow you to change it in hardware then you could have a different program for different OSes to use this same data to modify their system configuration files.

  • Well, thats a pretty easy question to answer.

    The project is to attract the masses to Linux.

    The masses want a GUI.

    Simple enough
  • It's a pretty decent idea, except that U tend to run into ordinary people.
    They combine h/w and components to defeat most programmers. Plus, put s/w thru torture tests that cant be imagined.
    Finally, what about the idiot factor? The old line about the struggle between software trying to outsmart the biggest idiot and all that...
  • What happend if you're running a server with vt100? you probably dont want a screen and a videocard on a server!

    so i think it's a must to have a console version of this tool.
  • This is realy good for the Linux community...

    At The moment Linux is in The Center Of Attention, I Don't Know about other countries but here in Finland Linux is in almost every computer magazine.. and seems like the magazines are getting interested in Linux too.. but almost every Magazine is saying that Linux needs a User Friendly Configuration tool.. which we have.. Linuxconf (well closest one i think). But most of the problem is in The Hardware... if This project goes on as it should.. i think it just make a BIG difference in Linux!

    now We Just have to stand up to The commercial Operating Systems.. and Show What the Linux (Community) is ready for!

    WAY TO GO Mandrake!!

I am a computer. I am dumber than any human and smarter than any administrator.