19. November 2007
When playing with my new bluetooth hardware I was very pleased that it was supported out of the box. Anyway, I also missed something that would give me some indication that the hardware is working. (e.g. the first I did was to check dmesg)
When you look a Windows, they have those tiny notifications telling you that the new hardware was detected (or that it is not working or whatever). I think we should also have something like that. We now have HAL und dbus and I shouldn’t be that difficult to implement though I have no idea how this works in details. So take this as a proposal or tell me that it already exists (I didn’t find it):
There should three modes of operation:
1. Hardware is plugged in and supported
- Tell the user “Detected xy – new hardware is now working” (alexl pointed out that we should not do this as it is obvious. I would prefer to have this notification for the first time the hardware is attached).
- Propose some common operations: Open files for an USB-Stick, F-Spot for a digital camera, gnome-scan for a scanner, etc. Of course with a notification and not with an ugly centered dialog like Windows.
2. Hardware is supported but needs configuration
- Show enough information that the user can complete the configuration
- If there is no wizard to do this in a user friendly way, at least point the user to a (distro-specific) tutorial or at a place where he/she probably could find help.
3. Hardware is unsupported
- Point the user to a distro-specific update tool to search for a driver (=> PackageKit comes in mind…)
- If there is really no driver, ask the user to report a feature request, based on the device id. This should be saved in a database to see which drivers are needed by many people.
The most obvious case are of course USB devices but maybe also stuff like pcmcia and bluetooth could be detected that way. I think this would make hardware support on linux a lot more user-friendly. Personally I neither have the knowledge nor the time to implement that but maybe someone likes the idea!