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SubjectRe: [OFFTOPIC] Re: *** next draft - press release ***

> From: Matthew Kirkwood <weejock@ferret.lmh.ox.ac.uk>
> Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:36:44 +0000 (GMT)
> To: Alan Cox <alan@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
> Cc: Ben Hutchings <womble@ferret.lmh.ox.ac.uk>, hocks@rzri6h.gsi.de,
> linux-kernel@vger.rutgers.edu, jg@pa.dec.com
> Subject: Re: [OFFTOPIC] Re: *** next draft - press release ***
> -----
> On Mon, 18 Jan 1999, Alan Cox wrote:
>
> > > * Poor ISA PnP support. It's difficult to support well at all, but
> > > the fact that it's currently done by a user-land tool that is
> > > independent of kernel resource allocations is a serious problem.
> >
> > No thats not the problem really. The problem is that isapnp has a user
> > interface flaw (it hasnt got one basically). If you had a nice
> > Gnome/KDE/whatever GUI front end to isapnp you wouldnt even have noticed
> > it wasnt in the kernel.
> >
> > Its a user-interface problem.
>
> I disagree here. For something as simple as ISA PnP, doing the hardware
> access is userspace is not good.
>

I agree with the disagreement; to claim PnP is a GUI problem is putting
one's head in the sand.... I don't have a religious argument against
probing hardware from user space (maybe this is from my X days... :-))
though.
I note I plugged in a SoundBlaster 64 Awe Gold over the weekend under
both Win98 and Linux.

On Win98, it was detected automatically, and the addresses, IRQ, etc all
set up automatically; Win98 went and found the right driver, and installed
it, configured the hardware properly, without me having to know anything
about the device or its potential configuration. Plug and Play was exactly
that, in this case, despite the normal disparaging remarks of "plug and
pray".

On Linux, why should we have a GUI to do something that can be autoconfigured?
Even better than a good GUI is NOT having to configure something at all
(from the end user's point of view).

As Linux goes mainstream, it needs similar polished installation
and configuration; Linux also lacks facilities to automate/ease 3rd party
driver installation when new hardware is detected not in the stock
kernel distribution. Much as we might like it, I don't expect that all
device drivers will come in the standard kernel distribution, and some
won't come with source (sigh... wish it weren't so, but this is my realist
expectation). The number of drivers and frequency of update make me think
that any completely centralized solution won't scale.

- Jim


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