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Re: redesigning the debian installer

On Tue, Sep 12, 2000 at 05:24:41PM -0700, Joey Hess wrote:
> Hartmut Koptein wrote:
> > Another important point is an hardware detection database.
> This is left up to the modules that provide support for the various
> hardware. We need to pick a good hardware detection library for those
> modules to use, that's for sure. There are several. libdetect0 is
> already in Debian (but it's 155k! Urk!).
> We really need a hardware detection library that is modularized or can
> be modularized. There is no need to have code in the installer to detect 
> your sound card. And if you're installing from a floppy and the network, 
> you need NIC detection code, but code to detect a CD drive is
> unnecessary bloat.

Libdetect is modular in terms of detecting different classes of hardware
(CD drive, sound, ethernet, etc) via separate functions, so it can be
stripped down for the boot disks quite easily. After just a few of
minutes of commenting out detect calls, I was able to compile a
libdetect library that's "only" 46k and includes support for detecting
cdroms, ethernet, ide, scsi, isa, pci, usb, pcmcia, modems, and serial
devices. The lib could be further stripped down if necessary.

> Also, we have to keep in mind that hardware detection is a two-edged
> sword. It's great until it probes somewhere it shouldn't and crashes
> your system. Strictly passive hardware detectors avoid this of course,
> but they detect less hardware too (no ISA cards, probably).

Definitely. You might consider merely giving an option to use passive
detection on ISA cards, and probing all cards by default.

> Would some interested people like to get together and do some thurough
> research of the available hardware detection software, and present a
> report w/reccomendation to this list? Speak up if you're interested.

I'm interested in this, as I'm fairly familiar with libdetect, having
packaged it. Let me know who I need to talk to.

Dan Helfman
UCLA Linux Users Group: http://www.linux.ucla.edu
My GnuPG key: http://torsion.org/witten/public-key.txt

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