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SubjectRe: A Desktop Linux idea: modulized open hardware database for the linux kernel config

andreas.thalhammer@linux.com wrote:

> Hello LKML!
>
> I am a Linux Desktop user since around 2001. Doing the math, that’s more than
> a decade!
>
> Having watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjRAKuis7T8 (LinuxCon 2013, Dirk
> Hohndel and Linus Torvalds on stage) I decided to share an idea I had to make
> kernel building easier for computer end-users:
>
> How aboud a free and open hardware database for configuring Linux?
>
> My idea would make a very simple to get kernel configuration for a modulized
> hardware and feature base. It should be some kind of open for everybody
> database in which everyone may participate.
>
> (This would off course only be of use for power users or developers. Regular
> users will use stock kernels from their Linux distribution anyway. BTW, I use
> Gentoo Linux.)
>
> An example:
> My computer is a PC. The motherboard is an MSI 890FXA-GD70, it has an AMD
> Phenom II X6 1090T in the CPU slot. So this setup would be the basic entry to
> look for, which will provide a kernel configurtion for this specific hardware.
> For example, the module for the Fintek F71889ED Super IO Sensor has to be
> selected (CONFIG_SENSORS_F71882FG) as well as CONFIG_SENSORS_K10TEMP for the
> CPU.
>
> I know lm_sensors has a tools for that already: sensors-detect. But not
> everything is covered there, is there?
>
> Then I would also combine this config with a config module for my graphics
> card. It is a Radeon HD 6770, so readonkms has to be selected properly. Some
> kernel parameters may also be wise, such as video=radeondrmfb, radeon.aspm=1
> and radeon.dpm=1.
>
> It should also be possible to combine this config with a config module for my
> monitor. This will show that the resolution of this monitor is 1680x1050.
> Unfortunately this resultution is not part of the VESA BIOS, so the kernel
> command-line parameter video=radeondrmfb will be expanded by 1680x1050-32@60.
>
> Some basic profiles may define how the PC will be used: i.e. as a file server,
> as a Desktop conputer or as a gaming computer. A "cutting edge with all the
> new features" profile may select everything that is usable for this computer.
>
> Every ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/AGP/PCIe expansion card can and will add some config
> settings to the big kernel configuration. I.e. if you had a DVB-TV card or
> whatever.
>
> A basic "All USB-end-user-devices" config module for all possible USB devices
> may select everything except those self-made stuff, like a thermal probe. On
> the other hand, specific stuff should be allowed too. I.e. the Digitus
> Cardreader All-in-one, USB 3.0 (DA-70330) – is a specific reader module
> required (CONFIG_USB_STORAGE_*)?
>
> In the end there would be a hardware database, maybe combined with a wiki,
> that includes developer information like hardware addresses and such as well
> as user reports and kernel configuration modules for that hardware.
>
> Jumping to a newer kernel will automatically set the new/changed
> CONFIG_SOMETHING for the selected profile.
>
> This would also be handy for Laptops and very narrow configured hardware such
> as Apple computers (my Power Mac G4 for example).
>
> A tool for this could go into the kernel sources. It would detect the hardware
> present in the system using everything that is available (e.g. lspci) and show
> a configuration menu (make config-alike) that will enable the user to select
> or deselect specific hardware config modules and profiles (i.e. "file
> server").
>
> Compiling a new kernel will then not result in searching the whole kernel
> config for new or changed options like it is now (just recently I had to
> change video=radeonfb to video=radeonkmsfb in my GRUB config).
>
> For kernel developers this could also be a very useful tool, because users can
> point to the specific hardware that makes troubles on Linux. And, like it is
> in a community, developers may be able to reach users willing to participate
> in testing new patches for fixing these troubles…
>
> This is just an idea. Now it’s out there – do with it whatever you like. The
> idea is hereby released under the GPL-2 :-)
> --
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> Please read the FAQ at http://www.tux.org/lkml/

So, you are saying that this should be available for power users only,
since it requires kernel compilation.

I have a few points to make.

1. Wouldn't power users know how to configure the kernel anyway for
their system?

2. What about future hardware upgrades (on both a laptop and desktop
machines).

3. What's wrong with stock distribution kernels?

4. Wouldn't this take a great amount of manpower for I guess minimum
benefits?
--
Aldo Iljazi
--
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