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Old 09-25-2003, 02:12 AM   #1
kwixson
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Back To Basics: Hardware on Linux


I cannot, for the life of me, find the direct answer to this question anywhere in my Linux distro docs or in searches on the web. If there are such, please point them out to me.

The question is: how do you deal with hardware in Linux vs. how it's done in Windows?
+ How do you install new hardware?
+ How do you configure the hardware you have? (i.e., scanners, PDA's, flash media card readers, etc.)?
+ How do you update drivers for the hardware that is already installed?
+ How do you remove hardware (and associated software) from your comptuer?

In Windows, when you want to do anything with hardware you go to the Device Manager where you can click on "update driver," and "uninstall," etc. In Windows when you want to install a new USB device you double click on a program that came with the hardware, which installs a driver on your comptuer, then you plug in the device.

Please discuss the ways and means of hardware on Linux as it relates to a Windows user's experience.
 
Old 09-25-2003, 02:44 AM   #2
J.W.
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Registered: Mar 2003
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Kevin, I think your question is too broad to be answered in a single post. A lot of newly installed hardware is auto-detected and doesn't require the user to do much of anything; other hardware may come with installation notes/hints/readme/etc materials that are particular to the device; other hardware may not be compatible with certain versions of Linux (as seems to frequently be the case with the latest video cards).

In short, it depends. Do you have a specific device that you are having trouble with? If so, either searching this forum or posting a new, detailed thread might yield the info you are seeking. -- J.W.
 
Old 09-25-2003, 03:09 AM   #3
kwixson
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Thanks for responding, J.W.

A "broad strokes" kind of response is what I'm looking for and I certainly hope that it can be answered in a single post. I'm not worried about any specific device, or category of devices, but rather a discussion of hardware in general, especially in terms of broad concepts as they relate to a Windows user's experience.

I described the Windows process in my question as an example of the depth of detail I'm looking for in an answer in the Linux side. What I'm really fishing for here is a variety of responses from which I can draw the most illuminating description, which I can then pass on to people I talk to about Linux, and one that can crystalize my understanding as well.
 
Old 09-25-2003, 04:10 AM   #4
carstenbjensen
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Hi,

As J.W. said most of the hardware is detected automatically by the Linux kernel, so there is really no use of an extra tool, like there is for Windows.
You can say that to people, who is interested in GNU/Linux.
It's all in the kernel.

If you have hotplug installed, it will automatically detect the USB hardware (and other) at boot and install the kernel modules needed to use the hardware.

Some more exotic hardware needs a little tweaking, but often it 'just works'.

Peace!
Carsten B. Jensen
 
Old 09-25-2003, 04:55 AM   #5
Theoutdoorsman
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Ok.............Let's start here then. I have Scanner that I can't get to work. It's a Canon Canoscan FB 620U. I'm running Mandrake 9.1. How do I locate and install drivers to get this thing working? It's been driving me nuts !!!!!!!!! Like Kwixson, I am familliar with the Windows meathod of installing and updating, but not with Linux. How's that for starters? Maybe this will help both of us. Sorry to take over your thread. Hope you don't mind.................ALAN
 
Old 09-25-2003, 05:00 AM   #6
whansard
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mosquitoville
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generally you don't install drivers in linux. the hardware
support is more generic where you don't have drivers
for a specific brand of device, you have kernel support
for a specific type of hardware, with a specific chip or
range of chip versions.
for example, if you have a sound card, the brand doesn't
really matter. the chip on the card does. say something
like ymf724, then you need support for that chip built
into the kernel. you may have to configure it yourself,
or you may not, depending on the version of linux.
video hardware is set up thru xfree86.
i don't have to keep driver disks around for my hardware,
cause the support is already there. i can pull hardware
in and out of my computer, and move stuff around in
different slots, and i don't have to go thru the
"new hardware detected" stuff.
BeOS was the same. if it had support for that type of
hardware, it would just work. with some pieces of
hardware, you have to do some configuration, but it
varies so widely from device to device that there is
nothing generic to say.
the best thing to do is search google for the device,
and linux, and you'll find how to get it working.
 
Old 09-25-2003, 09:37 AM   #7
carstenbjensen
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Quote:
Originally posted by Theoutdoorsman
Ok.............Let's start here then. I have Scanner that I can't get to work. It's a Canon Canoscan FB 620U. I'm running Mandrake 9.1. How do I locate and install drivers to get this thing working? It's been driving me nuts !!!!!!!!! Like Kwixson, I am familliar with the Windows meathod of installing and updating, but not with Linux. How's that for starters? Maybe this will help both of us. Sorry to take over your thread. Hope you don't mind.................ALAN
As far as I can tell, the Canon CanoScan FB 620U is currently unsupported by SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy)! I guess, your out of luck here (at least until it is supported...).
I feel with you, I once bought a HP ScanJet 3500c, which will never be supported (it has no processor...!).

Peace!
Carsten B. Jensen
 
Old 09-25-2003, 06:16 PM   #8
whansard
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linux can only have drivers for stuff that,
1) The specifications and interface are released by the
manufacturer.
2) is close enough to something else that the linux people
have specs for.
3) someone takes the time to reverse engineer the driver.
4) the manufacturer creates linux driver code themselves.

you could well understand the linux kernel, if you
opened up a kernel configuration tool, and looked
at the hardware support, you would see that you
can add or remove kernel support for different hardware,
or make the support a module, which is close to the
windows driver type of file, which you can load with
a command like modprobe.
there are specific tools like sndconfig from redhat, that
have setups built in for many sound cards and will
set those up for you. xfree has its own drivers for
video, so thats set up there, except for framebuffer
stuff, which is kernel.
for some modems you must have configured kernel
source on your machine for the modem driver to get
at to build itself correctly. It's really like each time you
build a kernel, it's like a different version of windows,
and you can't use drivers from different versions
usually.
the best way is to search on google, and see how
someone else set up the hardware, and do what they
had to do. a lot of times there will be specific kernel
patches for the hardware. this is kernel source that
gets inserted into the kernel and then you recompile.
i hope that helps some.
 
  


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