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RE: [ PATCH ] RFC: Search and load drivers automatically fromusb-storage media



Hello John

Well I am back, after a bout of sickness :(

Read inline.

Regards,
Sandeep. 

-----Original Message-----
From: anaconda-devel-list-bounces redhat com
[mailto:anaconda-devel-list-bounces redhat com] On Behalf Of John
Summerfield
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 6:17 AM
To: Discussion of Development and Customization of the Red Hat Linux
Installer
Subject: Re: [ PATCH ] RFC: Search and load drivers automatically
fromusb-storage media

Sandeep_K_Shandilya Dell com wrote:

>>> I'm not sure that DELL would provide full support for RHEL, or even 
>>> the kernel, on one of its servers.
>>>
>>> And if you think I'm difficult, go to debian.org and read some of 
>>> the
> 
>>> discussions about non-free bits in the kernel!
>>>
> <sandeep>
> This is not about free and non-free stuff, that is a differnet topic.

I've been having trouble discovering just what I would be getting should
I buy a Dell server, and your technique could well be used to mask
non-free software.

I've been using Linux for about ten years now, and I've become
accustomed to doing things a certain way. I become uncomfortable when a
vendor wants to do things differently, and I really do not like
phone-home software.

<sandeep>
There are lots of people who call Dell asking for drivers when they fail
to install an OS and anaconds says no harddisks found when it does not
find the drivers for disk controllers. The two approaches we could take
to fix this
1. The method we are discussing in this email
2. get the driver into a future update of the OS( we are already doing
this), we still need 1 to take care of the problem currently.

> This a
> method to solve a problem that customers have.

To further clarify things in my mind, I went to Dell.au's website and
chose a server we might conceivably buy where I work. I settled on a
Poweredge R300.

Then I went to the support page and found me a download for RHEL5. I'm
actually running Scientfic Linux 5 on my desktop, so it's a fair
comparison. I figure that what I find on the website's probably about
what I'd be getting from Dell for that system.

I then tried to investigate the package's contents. It was tricky, my
enquiries were about this successful.
09:16 [summer numbat ~]$ rpm -qp
downloads/sg-3\[1\].5.34dell-1dkms.noarch.rpm  --scripts
09:16 [summer numbat ~]$

That is, no output. So I tried to test installing it:
09:16 [summer numbat ~]$ sudo rpm -i --test
downloads/sg-3\[1\].5.34dell-1dkms.noarch.rpm
Password:
error: File not found by glob:
downloads/sg-3[1].5.34dell-1dkms.noarch.rpm
09:18 [summer numbat ~]$

Okay, a bug in rpm. I did better when I renamed the file:

09:19 [summer numbat ~]$ rpm -qlip sg.rpm
Name        : sg                           Relocations: (not
relocatable)
Version     : 3.5.34dell                        Vendor: (none)
Release     : 1dkms                         Build Date: Wed Jun 13 
23:40:10 2007
Install Date: (not installed)               Build Host: berlin-4-hem
Group       : System/Kernel                 Source RPM: 
sg-3.5.34dell-1dkms.src.rpm
Size        : 84574                            License: Unknown
Signature   : (none)
Packager    : DKMS <dkms-devel lists us dell com>
Summary     : sg 3.5.34dell dkms package
Description :
Kernel modules for sg 3.5.34dell in a DKMS wrapper.
/usr/src/sg-3.5.34dell
/usr/src/sg-3.5.34dell/sg-3.5.34dell-mktarball.dkms.tgz
09:19 [summer numbat ~]$

So if I understand you correctly, this is pretty much what you'd be
putting in the driver storage.

I unpacked the rpm using rpm2cpio and find both a prebuilt kernel
module, and what looks to be the source to recreate it.

In this case we have a standard GPL-licenced Linux driver, with a
one-line Dell patch.

I suppose the system was certified at RHEL5.0. If it worked with RHEL5.0
then I don't see the need for RHEL5.0 drivers in usb-storage, unless RH
declined to accept the patch, so I suppose that it was certified with
this patch in place and that I'd need it to install RHEL5.0 and maybe
CentOS5.0 and SL5.0.

Supposing my suppositions are all well-founded, then it would be good to
have the driver in USB storage, I'm very good at losing CDs, and even
without that skill, where I work most of our computers are three years
old before we get them (but then, in such a case, it would be reasonable
to expect not to need the Dell driver).

I'm still not keen on the idea of DKMS, it'd rather not be expected to
maintain a C compiler on a server.
< sandeep >
We have binary versions for the drivers too then you will not need the C
compilers on the server.

I would prefer a yum repo at Dell, together with instructions for
pinning so one gets only the Dell bits from Dell, but getting the
updates from RH etc would be even better.
<sandeep>
That's a good idea for distributing drivers for hardware, it will work
good for system already installed or partially installed and on the
network. but what about the scenario when you will need a driver to
recognise the new hardware (disk controller or NIC) to install the OS?

-- 

Cheers
John

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