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#1 2003-03-18 19:17:00

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Knoppix HW detect on AL

I was facing same problem what my friend wrote on Gentoo Linux, not being able to connect external devices with Arch Linux.
http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?p=245998

Knoppix has an excellent hardware detect. I did something unexpected. I installed Arch Linux base (0.4) and copied Knoppix base packages on top of Arch Linux. Believe or not it worked.

First I thought it will crash when updating with AL's packages (pacman -Syu) but everything worked fine. Same with additional packages. Only what I was no longer able to use Debian's "dselect" package manager when library files where updated. Not a big deal when succeeding to have a good HW detect (USB hdd storage, USB CDROM-RW, flashcard, etc.) and running AL packages and pacman.

As an idea, would it be possible for AL to use Knoppix HW detect packages, if modified?

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#2 2003-03-18 23:16:26

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

well i am assuming that the "detection" is a result of a very monolithic kernel with virtually every module in the kernel enabled. then there would be scripts likely that tie this all together likley kuduz or whatever it is called, which was integrated by Debian from red hat. Libranet also uses it.

personally while it is great to have autodetection of devices it usually comes at a great cost. namely the autconfiguration tool assumes "control"  of the configuration files and manual changes are virtually impossible or they must be done each and everytime the computer is rebooted or the device removed then reattached.

usb burners are a major task to get working in linux without auto detection. there is poor kernel support and drivers and what not are very very lacking and when you think of it it actually makes sense since the use of such devices is rare.

then there are vendors who do not allow the code for their drivers to be released (ie canon) and  developers must reverse engineer these drivers. this comes into play with many usb external devices. smart card well that is another area that is still very much under development. for one i know noone who needs/uses one.

anyway these are just some thoughts. while better detection is not necessarily a bad thing it is something that must be approached cautiously, especially here at Arch where many of the users may not even want such a service.


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#3 2003-03-19 04:17:16

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

sarah31 wrote:

anyway these are just some thoughts. while better detection is not necessarily a bad thing it is something that must be approached cautiously, especially here at Arch where many of the users may not even want such a service.

I agree with your points.... with HW detect users have no control over the system. If it detects wrongly (wrong x, sound or hardware config) user get stuck. The alternative is to have one "switch on/off" icon.

Some of AL users may not want HW detection. I am one of them   smile . But when you are not able to connect your hardware, spending days trying to config with no result, then HW detect system becomes a handy tool.... at least it gives the config information and user get to know does the hardware works on Linux. Another alternative when buying new hardwares or a computer is to test with Knoppix live CD.

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#4 2003-03-19 05:00:43

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

Agreed. I am one too that does not want autodect but in cases such as yours it can be hepful not only that but it may give you ideas on how to set up the device on your own. i learned alot from the debian/libranet/gentoo files when i used those distros.

an OPTIONAL hw detect is a good idea. however, i have no idea if it is practical or doable at this time.


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#5 2003-05-28 18:59:33

dp
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From: Zürich, Switzerland
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

first: there are not much "arch" linux (and other unices) users that are soundcard speciallists ... me neither

having control over the system is one thing - trying a lot of alsa-modules to work with your soundblaster is the other ... on a funny chipset you will spend days smile

what about adapting "sndconfig" or an other tool to "propose" you some lines (modules) for your configuration?

(i would do it by my own if i had an idea how to ... i'm a biology-student and a linux user, not yet developer)

to tell you the truth: the easiest way to set up some hardware in archlinux on a specific machine is --- as i do for myself:
-installing SuSE and copying the created config files out of sys
-running knoppix once and seeing what was identical with the SuSE-config
-formating the drive and installing archlinux
-doing some cut and paste jobs from the SuSE config to your archlinux-config files

i know some people using archlinux (in my region: switzerland) who do configure archlinux like me ---  its nothing wrong on it, but:

-it is not the "only" ARCHlinux that is used to use it
-it's a good reason to use SuSE or something else instead (where you cannot overview everything, but it is setup fast, and everything works --- in most cases)

-> to you developers: please have a look at the knoppix HW-detection! it's funny, but there are cases where MSWindows and different Linuces cannot detect a hardware, and knoppix works with it without problem

to say NO is easy, to learn fron the others is not that easy, but in most cases worth


The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed.

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#6 2003-05-28 20:18:12

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

i never said no. i said it should be OPTIONAL. I also think it needs to be hacked a bit in order to be able to live with devfs. disabling or otherwise a base system feature is just not very desirable for me. I am sure the scripts can be hacked to work with arch linux without having to do any of the required changes.

my main concern is always that a package conform to and not alter the "arch linux" way. It is just not a good idea to install a system then have to change it in order to find out how to get your hardware working. HWD should be able to work within the existing framework for the sake of the user wanting it.


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#7 2003-05-29 03:33:03

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

sarah31 wrote:

i said it should be OPTIONAL. I also think it needs to be hacked a bit in order to be able to live with devfs. disabling or otherwise a base system feature is just not very desirable for me. I am sure the scripts can be hacked to work with arch linux without having to do any of the required changes.

my main concern is always that a package conform to and not alter the "arch linux" way.

For everyone's information, these were the main points I kept in mind (after speaking earlier with sarah31) when hacking Knoppix's HWD for Arch Linux usage.

1. Made it "optional" by removing all boot scripts. Now its a manual start /usr/bin/hwd.
2. Changed the partition search criteria to find devfs (/dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/disc) instead of standard partitions (/dev/hda, /dev/sda, etc.).

## Scan partitions
 if [ -f /proc/partitions ]; then
 partitions=""
 dma=""
 pold="no_partition"
while read a b c p unused; do
## Workaround for a /proc/partitions bug
 [ "$p" = "$pold" ] && break
 pold="$p"
 case $p in
     ide/host?/bus?/target?/lun0/disc|scsi/host?/bus?/target?/lun0/disc)

partitions="$partitions /dev/$p"

To make it easier for users to mount devices, its requested to keep the compatibility mode for old devices (standard parititions)  in /dev/devfsd.conf untagged. Its untagged as default in Arch Linux.3. All auto config setups (fstab, XF86Config, network, etc.) are removed.
4. Doesn't require or change any of the existing setup or system of AL. Only provides information how to config manually.

More inforamation on topic "Hardware detect manager for AL":
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=580

dp wrote:

having control over the system is one thing - trying a lot of alsa-modules to work with your soundblaster is the other ... on a funny chipset you will spend days smile

what about adapting "sndconfig" or an other tool to "propose" you some lines (modules) for your configuration?

When hacking Knoppix, I found sndconfig, mkxf86config, mouseconfig, kbdconfig, and wlcardconfig. So far I only worked on the base script (knoppix-autoconfig) so I cannot say much about the other scripts. Mkxf86config and mouseconfig may not be needed when xf86cfg does a good job, but the other scripts could be useful.

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#8 2003-05-29 04:28:07

sarah31
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From: Middle of Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

Good job markku, i admit i have not been following recent changes to your app as i am not the one that has the "power" to include it in any place other than unofficial/unstable. i believe that would be rather a pointless place to have it as it would be much better placed in the installer or in the official packages (if judd feels differently then heck i guess it will be be up to myself or Xentac to include it in the trees wink ) . Anyway, if it now requires no changes to files, even temporarily, then that was my main concern for having it even as an unstable package.


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#9 2003-05-29 17:37:24

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

sarah31 wrote:

i believe that would be rather a pointless place to have it as it would be much better placed in the installer or in the official packages...

Where to place the HWD package depends on the usage.

Form my experience and comments I have received, HWD runs well on AL's default kernel so its helpful when booting for the first time a newly installed AL and running it before doing any major config. HWD provides the name of modules for soundcard and Ethernet card (or PCMCIA card). Tells how to connect the network. User can use the mouse, video card and monitor info when running xf86cfg or rename the auto generated XF86Config.hwd to XF86Config (which in most cases will work fine). These basic setup info saves time and makes the config easier.

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#10 2003-05-29 20:55:35

beniro
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From: St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Registered: 2002-12-31
Posts: 312

Re: Knoppix HW detect on AL

Speaking as the resident newbie here (the type of user that HWD would be targeted towards), I think that if this package is included in Arch, it should be prominently displayed and readily accessible on either install or first boot, because the users that would get the most out of it will not be ones to go and "find" it.

Did I make that clear?  I'm having a hard time stating my thoughts...  sad

Keep up the good work!  smile

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