A Peek at DeviceKit in Fedora 11 and Beyond

by Ostatic Staff - May. 05, 2009

In my travels, I discovered David Zeuthen's informative peek at DeviceKit (and its use with and in lieu of HAL) in the upcoming release of Fedora 11.

Zeuthen says that while the new storage device handling stack is implemented in Fedora's GNOME 2.26 desktop configuration, it should be appearing in its entirety in the upstream GNOME 2.28 release. The DeviceKit daemon modernizes and adds to many of the features and functions of the tried and true HAL daemon.

Zeuthen explains some of the goodies present in DeviceKit right now, and gives a few hints at what he hopes the future holds. Better RAID management (as well as LVM and btrfs handling utilities) are in the works, and Fedora users will be among the first to fully experience the improvements in disk status notifications along with reformatting and repartitioning enhancements.

Building this on top of a modern storage daemon, as opposed to HAL, means that your file manager (and any other app using GIO), is instantly updated as you repartition or reformat your disks. It even works if you are using command-line tools, etc. fdisk(8) or mkfs(8) - geek comfort FTW!

That quote got me thinking back -- way back -- when I started in with Linux. "Way back" is most definitely a relative term here. Floppies, optical data disks, and ZIP media (there were no flash drives then) had to be mounted manually to be accessible. Once you knew how to do this (or that you had to), it wasn't generally a problem (so long as /etc/fstab was configured correctly at installation or edited after the fact). It wasn't a problem, but it wasn't always convenient.

Soon -- very soon -- thereafter came HAL, D-Bus, ivman and pmount sorts of utilities that automatically recognized, mounted, and unmounted disks with much less fuss. In only a few short years, the software went from "working, but you have to work at it" to clean, instant, easy interactions.

The work being done on DeviceKit looks downright spiffy. It's taking things that just work, and making them just work better. What I always find impressive, however, is that though many working on these projects are uncompensated and far flung, geographically and in areas of interest -- the end result is invariably something to take pride in.