.fdi files and HAL

Jono Bacon jono at jonobacon.org
Mon Jun 7 16:02:28 PDT 2004


> That would be ok, but I think in the ideal world it would be better if 
> the system told the user nothing and just prepared to use the device. 
> E.G. if it thinks its a storage device the system automatically mounts 
> it and displays it's contents. The system should only prompt the user 
> when it's not sure what to do. If the system is sure it knows what it's 
> doing, but it's wrong, then the user should open up some sort of device 
> management program and make the changes then.

I agree. I think transparency is the key here, but if the system cannot 
determine the device, that is when the user can select an .fdi. The 
obvious benefit of an online database of FDI files is that they don't 
need to be shipped with HAL.

>> Well, some kind of scoring system on the server side probably helps to
>> separate wheat from chaff.
> That sounds like a good idea.

Exactly. I think we essentially have two options:

  - A scoring system where people can vote on the accuracy of an .fdi 
file. This scoring could be made on the part of the general public 
(unlikely, most people will not want to care about this), or on the part 
of interested parties.

  - A debian-esque system could be set up to have certain people manage 
.fdi files. I think this will be flawed in if we can get enough people 
to manage .fdi files for the hundreds of devices out there.

What would be quite cool is if there was some form of Update My Hardware 
Information button in KDE/GNOME that would download the relavent .fdi's 
for the users hardware. If certain devices don't have .fdi files 
present, the user should then be invited to provide information about 
the devices that can be used to rebuild another .fdi file. If this 
information is already present (i.e. some other user has provided the 
details), the question will not be asked. The key thing is in keeping 
the interaction with users to minimum.

I am happy to look into setting this infrastructure up. We need to 
decide on a suitable and secure method of communicating between the 
website and the HAL client, but I can't imagine this will be too much of 
an issue. The main thing is making the system as automated as possible.


Jono Bacon - http://www.jonobacon.org/
Writer / Journalist / Consultant / Developer

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