Ever wonder what’s inside your PC? Trying to hunt down all the various bits in /etc (and other places) can be a real PITA (Pain In The Ass). Since I routinely tweak system configurations as part of my work, I went looking for something that would make my life a bit easier in this regard.
One tool that I found is a graphical thing called hardinfo. Granted, it’s been around for a while, but for whatever reason I was blissfully unaware of it. I started with Linux back around 1996, so I learned where things were the hard way–by doing my own installs from scratch with a bag full of various system components. Since then it seems that each distro likes to move things around in the various system directories. To make things more interesting, some distros have moved to variants of the original init schemes (Sys5R4 and BSD have entirely different approaches), and scripts that once lived in /etc/init.d now hide in little sub-directories off to the side.
Well, life is short, and mine is getting shorter by the minute, so I’ve given up trying to learn where things are squirreled away. The hardinfo utility simplifies things by doing a lot of the collection work for me, and it has a pleasant GUI. Oh, and it also generates a nicely formatted report in HTML.
There are other tools out there, as well.
The discover utility generates a terse listing of everything it finds on the system bus. It tosses its output up onto the console, so it can be easily redirected into a shell script for further massaging if you have an awk, grep, or sed inclination.
Another tool, hwinfo, also generates a dump of info to a shell window, but it generates much more than discover. Perhaps too much, if, like some folks, your eyes tend to glaze over staring of gobs of cryptic codes and obscure acronyms.
Yet another command-line tool, lshw (which I suppose is short for LiSt HardWare), creates a listing that’s a bit less cryptic than hwinfo, but still requires that the user have a good idea of the types of hardware devices one might find in a PC.
All of these tools can be installed on an Ubuntu system using the apt package manager (or synaptic, or whatever tool you use to deal with apt packages). I don’t know about Redhat, Fedora, CentOS, FreeBSD, or any others, but I suspect that most, if not all, are available for those environments as well.