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Getting to Know SUSEPlugger

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Posted: 2 Apr 2004
 

Applies to: SUSE Linux 9.0

The tool SUSEwatcher, introduced in SUSE Linux 8.2, informed you about the availability of patches and new hardware and was responsible for the creation of KDE device icons. For ergonomic reasons, SUSEwatcher is now in charge of monitoring updates only and the rest of its known functions together with some new features have been assumed by SUSEPlugger:

  • creation of KDE desktop device icons
  • media detection and CD and DVD autostart
  • new hardware detection
  • a device manager displaying ample hardware information
  • connection and removal of hot-pluggable hardware, such as PCMCIA, Firewire, or USB devices

KDE Device Icons and Media Detection

SUSEPlugger creates device icons on-the-fly for all the mass storage units available in the system. For example, access connected USB memory devices, such as memory sticks or CD drives, through the respective icon. When the device is removed, the icon disappears from your desktop, too. If the media detection function is activated, applications for audio and video CDs, DVDs, and blank media will be automatically started. SUSEPlugger also takes modified settings into account to partition your hard disk.

SUSEPlugger enables you to configure this features by selecting "Setup" in the SUSEPlugger context menu:

  • activates and deactivates the creation of specific hardware classes
  • activates and deactivates the media detection
  • if "Use static device icons" is activated, only icons for the activated device classes will be created the option "Create application shortcut" activates the media detection and applications can be directly started with the drive icon
  • the option "Directly start the application" activates the application autostart

To exclude certain mount points without deactivating the device class (e.g., hard disk, diverse mount points, /data1, /data2, /data3, /windows/C, /windows/D), edit the file ~/.kde/share/config/SUSEPluggerrc with an editor of your choice and set the following option:

   [General]
   IgnoreMountPoints=/data1,/data2,/windows/C

After restarting SUSEPlugger, partitions with these mount points will be ignored.
(Tip: IgnoreMountPoints=/data includes all mount points like /data1, /data2, /data3). This option applies to all device classes, not only to the hard disk used in the example.

By default, the following applications are used for the autostart:

kaffeine for video CDs, SVCDs, DVDs
kscd for audio CDs
k3b for blank media

To change the default settings, edit the group [CD media auto handler] in the file /opt/kde3/share/config/kdeglobals (root permissions required). By default, drives are scanned every 2.5 sec. If problems arise (high CPU load, kernel crash) but you do not want to stop the media detection, try different values for the parameter PollIntervall=2500 in ~/.kde/share/config/SUSEPluggerrc. The value represents the time interval in milliseconds and is applied only after restarting SUSEPlugger.

When you remove an icon from your desktop, SUSEPlugger does not create an icon for that particular device again. To revoke your action, proceed as follows:

  • Find out the device UniqueID by executing "hwscan --list" as root user.
  • This command lists the available hardware in the form: B3Fu.IqvFAv_s+s9: (cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=yes) camera OmniVision OV511+ WebCam
  • The first column (B3Fu.IqvFAv_s+s9 in this case) shows the UniqueID.
  • Open the file ~/.kde/share/config/SUSEPluggerrc and remove the entry /dev/your_device=true in the group [UniqueID].
    (Replace UniqueID with the actual UniqueID).

Refer to /etc/fstab to determine what device or partition is concerned.

Detection of New Hardware

As is customary in SUSE Linux, after the installation you are informed about the still unconfigured hardware and have the chance to launch the corresponding YaST2 modules.

If you do not want to be informed about new hardware, deactivate the option "Inform me about new hardware" in the SUSEPlugger setup dialog.

Device Manager and Hot-Pluggable Hardware

To open the device manager, click the SUSEPlugger icon in the KDE Kicker. The device manager shows general information on the device, occupied resources, and driver. It also enables you to launch the YaST2 modules required to configure your devices. The device manager empowers hot-pluggable hardware users to attach and remove this kind of hardware from the system.

Users of mass storage devices designed as hot-plug devices and users of PCMCIA network cards often encounter the problem that, after extracting the device from the system, the applications accessing the device no longer react and data loss might occur. To avoid this and before actually removing the device, use "Eject" in the device manager to check whether the device can be smoothly extracted from the system and the applications accessing this device can be finished. For this purpose, you will be prompted to enter the root password. If the removal is not possible, the device manager provides you with an overview of the running processes that prevent the device from being extracted and gives you the opportunity to close these processes in two stages:

  • finish (via SIGTERM), the application is prompted to finish in a controlled way
  • abort (via SIGKILL), the application will be finished at once

After that, the modules for the device are unloaded and the available mount points deactivated. This process can be undone by means of "Insert", meaning modules can be loaded and mount points activated.


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