.fdi files and HAL

Ikke eikke at eikke.com
Mon Jun 7 23:54:03 PDT 2004

> 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.

I'im not convinced. Take a notebook user. Notebook users use a lot of (USB)
hotplug devices: cameras, usb sticks, hard drives,... Quite sometimes
devices which aren't theirs, like, you get some USB harddrive from someone
else to copy some data, or grab some pictures. But: notebooks aren't
connected to the net 24/7 (not at all ;-)).
If an online system would be implemented, it should be possible to sync the
whole DB to one's harddisk too. It won't ever eat much space, isn't it?

> 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.
Indeed, most users won't care. I tought project Utopia, and with it projects
like Hal, were there to simplify stuff, also for first-time users.
Ex-Windows users? Did you ever have to enter device information in Windows?
Or give scores to device recognition? I'm not saying Linux should be a clone
of Windows at all!!! But I guess users expect the same useability. And this
is one of the items to work on.
I don't think it's good publicity if you have to ask the user if the
hardware is recognized correctly.

>   - 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.
Then all maintainers should also own the device(s) they maintain... Dunno
about you, but I can't afford 10 digital camera's, 10 MP3 players and
whatsoever ;-) (cant even afford 1 :-p)

> 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 think the interaction you describe here is already too much :-s
And try to stay DE/WM-agnostic if possible... I still think Hal should have
no GUI bindings at all.

> 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.

I think we should interact with hardware vendors too. Give them an easy
interface to add their (new) product's data, convince them why they should
take care of it,...

Greetings, Ikke
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