Do you know your system intimately?

Would you find the GNOME desktop more useful if it could tell you more about the system you’re running?

If so, you may be interested to hear about a new app mooted by GNOME design team member Allan Day.

Day proposes the creation of a new hardware diagnostics tool that would, in his words: “show technical details about the system and the available hardware. It would also include information about the firmware for your hardware, and allow blacklisting certain firmware versions.”

Now, call me wrong — I usually am — but doesn’t that sounds like it would be mightily useful?

A dashboard dedicated to displaying hardware details would be a definite boon. It’d certainly make it easier for folks to learn more about the systems they use (after all, not everyone builds their own PC or knows their laptop literally inside out).

Plus, as Day also notes, a well-tailored system info tool would prove useful in ‘support and troubleshooting situations’. For example, if someone encounters issues with a piece of hardware following a firmware upgrade this tool would make it easy to see which firmware version they’re on.

Hardware Info Tool for Linux

Windows and macOS both come with built-in system info tools, though each OS varies in the extent of information they relay and the type of user they’re expecting to inform.

For instance, the macOS “About this Mac” dialog displays a concise summary that’s not too dissimilar to the one Ubuntu surfaces in Settings > Details > About. It has enough info for most users.

the macOS system information tool shows a wealth of hardware details
Something similar to this, perhaps?

A more comprehensive hardware (and software) profile, pictured above right in the image above, is accessible through the separate System Information tool — and boy is it detailed!

Both tools are clearly tailored for use by different kinds of users. And since the GNOME desktop already has an analog to the ‘About this Mac’ screen of macOS, could the posited “new” programme veer more towards offering the sort of info shown in ‘System Information’?

Similar Apps Available

Not that Linux users short of options for querying their hardware. A decent set of system hardware tools are already available for Linux.

These range from nifty apps like HardInfo, to CPU-Z clones for Linux, to fluffy terminal tools like NeoFetch, to device-specific probing through command line utilities like ifconfig, lspci, lsusb, and similar.

How do you view hardware stats on Linux? Let us know below!

First a Design Is Needed

With this potential power-user app being spearheaded by the GNOME design team onboard there’s a real opportunity to craft something special.

But before a design can be put together answers to some key questions are required. Such as:

  • What hardware info should be shown?
  • How much detail should be reported?
  • What info is not useful to see?
  • Should firmware version(s) be displayed?
  • What hardware can be reliably queried?

As this is a discussion literally just beginning, there’s no code to try or Gitlab repo to star at this point. Heck, as stated, there aren’t even any designs yet.

But if you think you can offer some insight, or would like to help code the app, do stop by the GNOME Discourse thread below.

“Help Needed: Dedicated Hardware Diagnostics Tool”

Please note that the linked thread is meant for discussion only. Do not comment to ‘+1’ the idea, share irrelevant anecdotes, post memes, or otherwise add “noise” to the topic. Thanks!

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