[Slackbuilds-users] Slackware and Plug'n'Play for removable devices

Niki Kovacs contact at kikinovak.net
Sat Feb 17 12:48:27 UTC 2007

Hi list,

I want to address a subject that is, I understand, slightly controversial.

Context: I administer a network of eleven public libraries that are 
currently migrating from Windows (or no PCs at all) to 100% Linux, 
servers and clients. About one half of the machines are used primarily 
as clients for the database management software (PMB -> 
http://www.pmbservices.fr), a free PHP webapp that runs great. The other 
half of the machines is for public access, so people can use them for 
various tasks.

I'm working at this since the end of August, and after having watched 
users every day, I have established a list of things that are vital. One 
of the items on my list is hassle-free plug-and-play handling of 
removable devices: CDROMs, USB sticks, cameras, the odd flash card, and 
even floppy disks. Users come in every day with their data on various 
devices, and I've put a lot of time and thinking into getting this to 
work... without necessarily finding a satisfying solution.

Ah, yes. One other thing is that on about one third of the machines, I 
am limited in terms of hardware. There are still many P-III 500 machines 
around here, with 64 to 128 MB of RAM. Since I have to create a 
homogenous environment that looks the same on all machines, I didn't 
have many other choices than opt for XFCE, which is also my personal 
favourite, especially the latest 4.4.0.

Currently, I chose a Slackware fork named KateOS, developed by a small 
team of polish developers. It's XFCE-focused, it uses a 2.6 kernel only, 
it includes all the things that I miss in Slack, like dbus, hal, gamin, 
pmount, ... to make plug'n'play just work... although even this needed 
some manual readjustment. On the other hand, it's not as rock-solid as 
Slack. For example, it uses a rather recent version of X11... which 
crashes on older hardware, while Slackware's X version remains stable.

I've tried to build a working dbus/hal for Slack 11.0 and... well... I 
didn't fail, I didn't succeed. I know the various problems related to 
using HAL, you have to build it against 2.6 headers, and you can only 
use up to, because versions after that require PAM, etcetera 

My question to you on the list: if someone has a *working* HAL - by 
working I mean: which builds out of the box on a stock 11.0 Slack 
install - would it be possible to publish it on SlackBuilds.org? 
Eventually with a BIGFATWARNING.readme file? Sadly, the impossibility of 
handling removable devices automagically was a showstopper in using 
Slack... the only showstopper on the list. All the other things I could 
handle... even the missing base GNOME libs.

Any suggestions for this?



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