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.