I'm willing to write some code for this, but I realize most of what I need probably already exists and I just need some help finding it.
I'd like to put together a lightweight USB flash drive bootable distro that has exactly one reason to exist in the world. I want it to boot up and display what hardware has been found in the machine in a format that a non-linux type would be able to read.
Alternatively, it would be cool if I could use the results of the hardware detect to boot the computer off of a floppy straight from linux without rebooting.
Here's the reason for doing this:
I volunteer at local schools helping with their computer systems. We use Norton Ghost - sorry!. Anyway, I've put together a CD with a lot of floppy images that can be chosen from a menu. Each floppy image has a different network card driver or other configuration change. The user has to choose which image to load, and that's hard to do when you don't know what kind of NIC is in the machine. It's a PITA to open the computer up to look, and most of the people who use my disc don't know the first thing about anything but Windows.
I'm also willing to hear about any good way of doing the imaging in linux as well. The problem, however, is that the linux tools generally don't handle NTFS gracefully - and that's a must.
For ethernet card detection pciutils should be fine (display the name of the card using lspci) and hwdetect will help to show the correct module.
For disk imaging you can use one of the freeware alternatives to norton ghost like g4u (based on netbsd with ability to put images on ftp - not maintained anymore IIRC but still usable) or g4l - ghost for linux or partimage.
EDIT: An article about these tools...
Well, if using ghost, loading the module is unnecessary.
Thanks for the linkage.
But when you use g4u and load image from ftp it might be useful :-)