Smolt now with Hardware Rating Database and Wiki

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.

Smolt web interface

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.


3 thoughts on “Smolt now with Hardware Rating Database and Wiki”

  1. Thanks for highlighting some of the new features in the update. I had taken a quick look when I saw that announcement that Smolt had been updated, but didn’t get a chance to actually look at the new features. I’m going to go take another look now!

  2. It’s definitely worth a look – although the Wiki is quite empty yet.
    But that’s partially due to the fact that the Smolt team still has some things to learn when it comes to marketing and advertisement. 😉

  3. I also thought a hardware device database would be something great to hit hardware vendors over the head with.

    We could then have someone that goes to hardware vendors and says “Look, your competitor, who has linux drivers, is selling a 100K more units than you. If you want to break into this market, we can set you up with kernel developer who you can provide the specs to (possibly under a NDA) and they will write you a driver and get it into the main kernel line for 20K.”

    I think this would be a great way to help support kernel developers and get a lot of quality open source drivers written. With a big enough user base, it shouldn’t be pretty easy. If there is, say, 3x the number of actual Linux installs as Fedora ones, then 20K should be pretty easy for a company to justify if they were showed they were missing out on a possible 100K sales (all you would need is a profit margin of 20cents/device).

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