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Thread: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

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    Default openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    I was just looking through the HCL to see if a motherboard and graphics card is supported for an install I was going to do for my dad.

    I appreciate the effort made setting it up the HCL and that it basically relies on users adding to it but this is also the problem. I don't think most users will bother adding to it, especially new users. First, most won't know it exists and second, the format of the HCL is not the most friendly to use or add to. I think a DB based setup would be better with a simple form for adding any new hardware or editing any existing stuff. If the hardware works they'll just be happy and forget about it. It started me thinking on how it could be better maintained and kept up to date more reliably.

    I think one way would be to prompt a user to answer a quick survey after they have installed openSUSE (perhaps a week or two after the install so they have had time to make sure they've had time to check most things). The survey could automatically pull all the hardware info from the system into a form and ask the user to comment on various aspects like if do all the features / functions work as expected, etc. This can be a combo of check boxes and comment boxes. The data can then be submitted to a DB where the it can be manipulated by web based front end to do searches etc. There could also be a scoring system which ranks the hardware by compatibility. I.E if a piece of hardware consistently gets marked as being fully compatible then it ranks better. A little like the Ubuntu HCL.

    I know many people may find it too intrusive, receiving being prompted to fill in a form or would have security concerns about data harvesting. However, if it's presented that it's for the good of the community and that it's a chance for a user to give something back to the community by them contributing to keep the HCL live and up to date i think most will take the time to complete the form. You would always have the option to opt out. It can only result in making the experience of using openSUSE more enjoyable for everyone in the long run and make it a lot easier (and more reliable) to choose compatible hardware.

    At the very least I think that there should at least be a friendly reminder or alert notifying a user of the existence of the HCL and asking them to add to it. I think this alone would get more data added.

    Don't take this as criticism of the current HCL as it's better than not having one at all. These are just my thoughts on how it could be improved and made more useful.

    I know what you'll all say now - "Great when are you going to start?" Unfortunately, I don't really know anything about creating DBs and web front ends to read and write to them or write scripts to scan the installed hardware and populate a form with the data. I am willing to help in other ways if I can though. So this is just an idea I'm putting out there.
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  2. #2
    platinum NNTP User

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    it is a *really* good idea....when are you gonna implement it? ;-)

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    Absolutely... it would be good to have a web interface for searching/extending the current HCL entries.
    The wiki is a bit uncomfortable to these actions.


    ps.: i'm up for some scripting
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  4. #4

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    This is already there if people wish to use it though there is some abstraction for example rather than looking for mobos' you need to search chipsets.(Though it maybe possible to search via mobo and I just missed it)

    Smolt - openSUSE

    What I didn't find was a way to narrow it to OS, but in theory Linux is Linux and if you play the ratings game I expect it'll be highly likely to be compatible. i.e more ticks then go for it..
    Man first, have a try at Info, have a look at Wiki, if all that fails Scroogle!!!!!
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    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    I can't see how smolt helps to set up a HCL like (Home Page - Ubuntu Linux Hardware Compatibility List)

    ps.: Mobo?
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  6. #6

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherMonkey View Post
    This is already there if people wish to use it though there is some abstraction for example rather than looking for mobos' you need to search chipsets.(Though it maybe possible to search via mobo and I just missed it)

    Smolt - openSUSE

    What I didn't find was a way to narrow it to OS, but in theory Linux is Linux and if you play the ratings game I expect it'll be highly likely to be compatible. i.e more ticks then go for it..
    Hmmm, that looks interesting. I just tried to get my profile password and got a whole lot of errors terminating with ValueError: too many values to unpack.

    I do remember smolt popping up once some time ago but ddn't realy know what it was for.

    From the quick look I just had of smolt it seems more geared towards developers rather than a user but it's good to know it's there.
    IBM Thinkpad X60s | Intel L2400 | Intel 945GM | 3GB | openSUSE Tumbleweed
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  7. #7

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    Not sure how you got to "for developers" it is to promote linux hardware usage to show hardware profiles for linux.

    I have to admit I found the web search very clumsy to actually find useful, for example I tried my ethernet chipset first using the vendor, but found the vendor when I just searched the chipset.

    But like anything it is only as good as the people filling it in, it seems to have a lot of auto-generated profiles that have no ratings(A popularity contest should still win though).

    As for errors can't help just knew that Smolt did what was requested. I'm surprised you're getting problems I thought it was on one of the official repos. Perhaps try a separate post see if someone else can help.

    Mobo would be under system of sorts but I agree specifically, mobo as the search is now, is not easy to find but a mobo is made up of chipsets.
    Man first, have a try at Info, have a look at Wiki, if all that fails Scroogle!!!!!
    If I've helped click on the Rep button I don't know what it does but it sounds cool.

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    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherMonkey View Post
    Not sure how you got to "for developers" it is to promote linux hardware usage to show hardware profiles for linux.
    ...
    I can guess how many newcomers are using smolt to see is their hardware supported...
    Smolt have a couple of entries... of course, because it auto-generates some profile on the first installation, and you can submit it very easy.
    HCL is something different from my point of view... First of all, it's not auto-generated, it have a lot of comments, and contains useful data - not like smolt, where every single controller is being addressed.
    I still think that it would be great idea to set up an extensible database from the openSUSE HCL entries.
    http://mydailyhash.wordpress.com/
    http://yami.googlecode.com/

  9. #9

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    I can guess how many people have looked at hcl and thought wtf my xyz is not on it or that was version xyz.

    At least with a smolt way you do have a snapshot of what its been installed on..

    Like either way it depends on the users but given a choice between and outdated and waiting for user contrib or a quick snapshot of 100,000's of installs I know which I would prefer.

    Mmm am I going to run a cli command or learn how to write a wiki page. I think we both know the answer.

    Smolt could be so much better if people edited and amended ratings, and if such a simple thing is having trouble getting user contrib can't imagine any thing else will succeed
    Man first, have a try at Info, have a look at Wiki, if all that fails Scroogle!!!!!
    If I've helped click on the Rep button I don't know what it does but it sounds cool.

  10. #10

    Default Re: openSUSE HCL - an idea to improve it

    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherMonkey View Post
    Smolt could be so much better if people edited and amended ratings, and if such a simple thing is having trouble getting user contrib can't imagine any thing else will succeed
    This is just it. I don't think most users, especially new ones even know it exists let alone what to update it. I have a vague recollection of smolt popping up when I installed 11.1 but I didn't really know or understand the significance of it. Perhaps the message should be clearer and explain the significance and ask the user to go and update his profile. I don't remember clearly but as far as I remember there was no explanation on how to edit the profile or even get your password to do so. This should all be made clear in a simple and a way that will encourage a user to spend the time to update the profile. I think an automatic reminder after a week or so of the installation should be made giving the user his password and link to his snap shot so he can update it. The key is informing the users of the HCL or smolt and asking them to update it otherwise you'll never get any real volume of users doing it.

    I can see the benefit of having the automated smolt snapshots but unless the profiles are are updated to reflect actual compatibility or useability then it's almost meaningless. Just because a particular piece of hardware appears more frequently in the installations doesn't mean that it is completely compatible with Linux but only that it's a common piece of hardware.

    I think it would be helpful if smolt improved it's frontend interface to make searching easier for a start.

    At the moment neither solution is perfect. I still see a benefit in having the openSUSE HCL put into a DB though.
    IBM Thinkpad X60s | Intel L2400 | Intel 945GM | 3GB | openSUSE Tumbleweed
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