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Re: redesigning the debian installer

On Tue, Sep 12, 2000 at 07:07:44PM -0700, Joey Hess wrote:
> Dan Helfman wrote:
> > 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.
> I was looking at the source and it is modular and seemed quite easy to
> read (where are the nasty bits hidden? :-).

Apparently you haven't yet encountered the code in the SuperProbe
directory. :) But that's video hardware anyway, and won't be necessary for
the boot floppies unless there's room for that sort of thing.

> I am concerned that it seems it always tries to detect ISA devices too,
> and there is no real delination of invasive and noninvasive detection.
> It is even possible to call a routine like the isa detection routine
> w/o having already probed the ISA bus? Can you just not call isa_detect()
> and pass in an empty list to such routines?

I just tried this, and it appears to work. If I recall correctly, the
Mandrake installer pops up a dialog box asking whether you want to really
probe ISA devices or not. If you choose no, it goes ahead and does only
PCI detection, etc. So it's definitely possible to turn off ISA detection
in libdetect, either at compile or runtime.

> This kind of thing (in Programming) does not enjender confidence:
>     I recommend to make a sync before all detection operation. Because
>     some criticals parts as isa, modem and mouse detection cand freeze
>     your system.

Not to mention confidence in x86 hardware..

> > > 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.
> Right, the user should be able to control this -- give them a choice of full
> detection, no detection, or just passive detection.
> > > 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.
> Are you on the debian-boot mailing list yet?


> We'll see who else expresses an interest.
> -- 
> see shy jo

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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