Smolt, a hardware statistics collecting program, got a major update. It now supports hardware rating and is connected to a Wiki to share solutions for hardware problems.
Mike McGrath announced the upgrade some days ago. While the announcement is quite short and was probably missed by most of the readers the changes are indeed very far reaching. With Smolt the first wide spread hardware data collecting tool for Linux is now able to not only collect data but also to collect workarounds and solutions. The data collection will enable other users to test specific hardware if it is supported by Linux – or not. This will in return intensify the pressure on hardware vendors to release better drivers.
The new web interface can be called by a unique link which is generated by Smolt for each machine profile. At the web page the user can first rate the current state of the hardware (if it works out of the box, with 3rd party support or not at all). Second the user can click on a link of a particular hardware bit to access a Wiki page. There the user or others can fill in work arounds or other useful information to deal with that bit of hardware.
Compared ot other hardware databases for Linux Smolt has the advantage that it is quite wide spread (with more than 180k users) and that it is distribution independent – at least in theory, not in total numbers yet. But that’s hopefully just a matter of time since it now does not only collect data but also can be used to deliver workarounds.
Also the next improvements are already in development:
Soon we’re going to come out with some client tools to scan for errata that exists in the wiki.
I hope that this will result in a userfriendly GUI similar to the one Ubuntu uses.
But of course at the moment there are still some rough edges: the data at the web interface can be changed by anyone given that he/she has the link. A one-time password login or similar could help here. Also a Wiki is a difficult thing to manage, especially if it is open for everyone. There will be a first spam wave and it will take time to smooth such problems out. But its a good start – so check your smolt link now and start filling in the data.