Hardware Detection for GNU/Linux

Josh Triplett josh.trip at verizon.net
Wed Jun 2 23:48:55 EEST 2004

I have written an informal design specification of a hardware detection
and configuration system for GNU/Linux.  The paper is available at
http://linuxlab.cs.pdx.edu/~tripletj , in PDF and PostScript formats, as
well as the original LaTeX source and supporting files.

The document discusses:

* The architectural choices in GNU/Linux that affect the design of a
  hardware detection and configuration system.
* The current state of hardware support in GNU/Linux.
* The ideal scenario, in which everything works automatically.
* The design of the hardware detection and configuration system,
  including division into layers and components, existing software which
  provides some of the components, and remaining work needed to create a
  finished solution.
* The implementation of the ideal scenario, with discussion of how it
  works behind the scenes.

Project Utopia is currently working on the GNOME components of the
hardware detection system, as well as some of the underlying layers.
However, the documentation for Project Utopia consists primarily of
weblog entries and mailing list messages, making it difficult for new
developers to learn how the system works.  My paper attempts to document
the architecture of the hardware detection system, targeting several
different groups:

* Developers interested in getting involved with development of the
  hardware detection system.  This will help bring in more developers to
  Project Utopia, as well as expand the scope of the system to include
  other desktops and automatic installation of applications.
* Developers wanting to make their user-level software work with the
  hardware detection system.  This will help speed the integration of
  the system into the GNU/Linux desktop.
* Users who want to know how the hardware detection system works.

I am also interested in helping to implement the hardware detection
system, particularly the KDE interface/policy layer and on-demand
installation of applications.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments.

Josh Triplett

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