[Nautilus-list] Re: File manager integration with magicdev

I haven't looked at these changes to gmc or magicdev, admittedly, but
both have usually attempted to identify devices by the device name
aliases, name of mount point, and/or filesystem type. Unfortunately,
filesystem type only works for CD-ROMS, distros don't agree on device
name aliases, the device name aliasing system in use by Redhat and
others is incomplete, and no distro that I know of is capable of
accurately installing device aliases for every removable device on a
system. Mandrake 7.2 is the best I've seen so far, and it still created
a link to /dev/fd0 on my laptop's desktop even though I don't have a
standard floppy installed. The kernel figured out that I don't have a
floppy: why didn't the script that created the link listen to it? I had
two cd-rom drives on my desktop machine for a time. Mandrake and SuSE
both installed a link for only one of them, even though the kernel
detected both. Sure, there's an accepted practice of calling a cd-rom
drive /dev/cdrom. But what if you have 2 of them? Apparently, the
developers at Mandrake and SuSE didn't know either.

The kernel knows that hardware is installed, so we should use the
information it provides. What makes a lot more sense is for nautilus
and/or an automounter to directly use a device detection library like
kudzu or libdetect to find removable devices. With these libraries, it
doesn't matter what the device alias or mount point is named, and we can
provide useful information to the user about the device, a feature
that's missing from every Linux file manager (hint, hint...). The kernel
/proc filesystem contains all of the information we need to dynamically
configure an ACCURATE list of removable devices. Unfortunately, not a
single distro actually uses much of it for this purpose. 

No one is reinventing the wheel, Owen, because good removable device
support for Linux doesn't exist yet. We're not even close.


Andrew Post, M.D.
MSIS Student, School of Information Science
Fellow, Center for Biomedical Informatics
University of Pittsburgh
Suite 8084 Forbes Tower
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582
(412) 647-7275

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