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Smolt profiles distro hardware use

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When Fedora 7 was released, one of its standout features was Smolt, an opt-in program for collecting data about users' hardware. Since then, Smolt has provided a publicly available snapshot of systems running Fedora, and is in the process of being ported to other distributions. With features being rapidly added, Smolt has the potential to offer an unprecedented wealth of information, and to aid in quality assurance, tech support, and advocacy, not only for Fedora, but for GNU/Linux in general.

Smolt's scope has grown rapidly during development. The basic idea came to McGrath last January, when he saw a need for a hardware inventory management system at his day job. However, McGrath soon realized that such information would also be useful for quality assurance work with GNU/Linux.

"I was only going to target Fedora," he says. "But then I realized that other Linux operating systems wouldn't be too difficult to add. So I took a look and realized it was a two-line patch to get it working in SUSE." Since then, McGrath reports, he has heard from developers interested in porting Smolt to other distributions, including Debian, Ubuntu, and Mandriva.

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