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#1 2004-05-19 19:51:04

punkrockguy318
Member
From: New Jersey
Registered: 2004-02-15
Posts: 707
Website

Hardware support and Arch Linux

Okay, I'm going to tell a story.  Yesterday, I borrowed a webcam from my neighbor.  I plugged in the webcam, and was ready to start webcamming.  But, as I figured the webcam needed to be configured.  I went through the Arch Linux docs but found no information on webcams.  Next, I searched the package database for webcam drivers, but found none.  After that I did some searching on google and some chatting on IRC.  I finally found the correct driver, but the release version would not compile correctly.  I CVSed and got the latest version and the driver compiled fine, after fiddling with the makefile a lot.

Next, my normal user didn't have permission to the webcam...  After researching devfsd.conf, I found a way to add normal user permissions to the /dev/video0.

I got gnomemeeting from pacman, and was ready to start a webmeeting, but even after opening all the ports on my router, it didn't work.  I then gave up and booted into Windows.

When I booted into windows, Windows automatically detected and configured my webcam.  I went into NetMeeting, placed my call... and boom!  Everything worked!

I'm not saying that everything should just be "Boom!" and configured... But its seems a waste of time to go through a bunch of that mess just to get a webcam configured...

I think it would be a good idea to get a compilation of drivers and put them in packages... webcam-drivers, scanner-drivers, and other devices.  Also in these drivers it should be asked at the end of installation if you would like for pacman to do required configuration (like adding the devfsd.conf line).  It's not manditory, no one is forcing you to do it.  Also to go along with this is a list of hardware devices on the documentation, what modules they need, what packages they're in, and any other configuration notes.

So, all one would have to do to configure a device is..
1)  Go to the docs and search for the device
2)  Install neccesary packages
3)  Read extra configuration instructions on docs
4)  Enjoy!

As Arch Linux as it is now, if I get another peice of hardware, I can't count on being able to configure it and use it within a day.

I know that Arch Linux is not a newbie distro.  I can configure all the hardware if I give myself enough time, but some of this work I feel is uncessary.  What are your thoughts on this?  Flames, questions, suggestions, whatever, post them.  Thanks!


If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   1 Corinthians 13:2

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#2 2004-05-19 19:58:37

Zephirias
Member
From: Pennsylvania, USA
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 179

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

I agree. I think that it shouldn't be hell just trying to get something like that to work...


"Technically, you would only need one time traveler convention."

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#3 2004-05-19 22:22:08

thydian
Member
Registered: 2003-07-08
Posts: 15

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

Would the Wiki be a good home for hardware howtos?

That's where, for example, I learned how to get my simple USB keydrive up and running. As simple as it was to initialize in the end, I certainly didn't know the two or three required modules starting out.

Since I don't know how much insight an Arch maintainer has into the world of hardware they support I don't know how empowered they will be to come up with a "comprehensive" list or document. Maybe it's easier than I think...I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable than myself to answer that.

Please add your experiences to the Wiki though as a Howto...I have a webcam sitting around here somewhere that would be fun to use...

In terms of autoconfiguring, I'm torn. Although I don't like the stress of spending days Googling and the like for tidbits of info to get a configuration right, I also don't like the mystery behind automated tools that sometimes do and sometimes don't work.

Hmmm...it didn't work...why? What did the automated tool do? Which files did it modify? Where are they? Everytime I migrate to a distro that configures stuff for me, I always find myself leaving sometime later to go back to a distro that doesn't. Bah...

Someday in the future when those tools do work 99% of the time, you can bet I'll take advantage though!

Good luck!

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#4 2004-05-19 23:07:57

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

Well... As far as I know that's hotplug's job. You plug something in, the kernel detects that, calls hotplug and the right driver (if present) is loaden. Devfs or udev should be somehow configured that users always have access to such devices.

As far as webmeeting/netmeeting/whatever: Either you need to forward some ports, or you connect to the other's pc, or it all goes via some central server (like most IM stuff...).

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#5 2004-05-20 04:36:19

Xentac
Forum Fellow
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2003-01-17
Posts: 1,797
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

I haven't yet used a webcam in arch.  Our family only has one and I don't normally use it.

If you want to send the developers all the hardware you want supported, we can support it.


I have discovered that all of mans unhappiness derives from only one source, not being able to sit quietly in a room
- Blaise Pascal

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#6 2004-05-20 04:49:41

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

thydian wrote:

Please add your experiences to the Wiki though as a Howto...I have a webcam sitting around here somewhere that would be fun to use...

Please please please do this! smile

Dusty

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#7 2004-05-20 04:58:10

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

Another thing, if you do want stuff to work out of the box, do use Windows.  There's no shame in that. smile

This is just personal opinion but: I find Linux more enjoyable and easier to configure than Windows. Windows is great for doing stuff automatically, but when something doesn't work, you are totally stuck. Documentation for more difficult problems is harder to find in Windows. Usually the manual says "press ok and it should..." but doesn't say what to do if you press ok and it throws a cryptic error.  At the worst, (and this is a pretty bad worst) with Linux, if hardware doesn't work, you write a device driver for it (something I'm not about to attempt, mind you). With Windows, if it doesn't work you take it back to the store and they say "it should work but..."

I guess the point is you might have more luck with first time chances on Windows, but if it doesn't work first shot, Linux will get you up and running faster.

I had so much trouble getting USB support under Windows 95... compiled my first Linux kernel and my digital camera worked... ah the memories! smile

Dusty

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#8 2004-05-20 18:12:08

yak8998
Member
Registered: 2004-03-01
Posts: 143

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

(psst you need win95B for USB support  big_smile  )


"Ignorance is bliss, for stupid people."
"open-source is [...] programming Darwinism."
Vaughan-Nichols

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#9 2004-05-20 21:30:59

dp
Member
From: Zürich, Switzerland
Registered: 2003-05-27
Posts: 3,366
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

yak8998 wrote:

(psst you need win95B for USB support  big_smile  )

( ... but it will only work, if your dog is quiet and the computer is standing upside-down and you have a nice wallpaper --- all important parameters for win95B :-) ... )


The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed.

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#10 2004-05-20 21:59:48

Dusty
Schwag Merchant
From: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-18
Posts: 5,986
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

Yeah, I was young and stupid then (now I'm only one of those, pick one wink), but I actually had the lastest version (c, I think?) We got it moments before Win98 came out, boy was I burned.

It wouldn't work, as dp sayd, cause of the dog being so loud.  But I didn't know that then... :-D

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#11 2004-05-22 02:06:32

punkrockguy318
Member
From: New Jersey
Registered: 2004-02-15
Posts: 707
Website

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

Dusty wrote:
thydian wrote:

Please add your experiences to the Wiki though as a Howto...I have a webcam sitting around here somewhere that would be fun to use...

Please please please do this! smile

Dusty

I added a howto in the wiki. It's pretty poor now, but I'll fix more later.  I think some drivers should be added to the official respitories.


If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   1 Corinthians 13:2

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#12 2004-05-22 10:50:21

lanrat
Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2003-10-28
Posts: 1,274

Re: Hardware support and Arch Linux

I tried to run my samsung mpc-c30 webcam

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 055d:9001 Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. MPC-C30 AnyCam Premium for Notebooks [pwc]

But pwc driver in 2.6.6 kernel is not included because it's considered broken :-( According to the information from the author it's not really broken but he refused to change anything for now: http://www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam/
I hope this will be fixed soon (maybe with the next kernel release).
This driver is generally for philips webcams. When it works ok I'll try to add it to the wiki.

BTW I've just edited your howto to change small typo in the first url to sourceforge.net (qce.ga to qce-ga).

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