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discover — hardware detection utility


discover [DATA_OPTIONS] [DISPLAY_OPTIONS] [--bus-summary] [bus ...]

discover [DATA_OPTIONS] [DISPLAY_OPTIONS] --type-summary [type ...]

discover [DATA_OPTIONS] --data-path=path/to/data ... [--data-version=version]
[--normalize-whitespace] [--format=format string] [type | id ...]


· -d | --disable-bus=bus

· -e | --enable-bus=bus

· --insert-url=url

· --append-url=url

· -v | --verbose


· --model | --no-model

· --model-id | --no-model-id

· --vendor | --no-vendor

· --vendor-id | --no-vendor-id


discover provides an extensible hardware detection and reporting interface. Hardware
information is stored in an XML data format and can be retrieved across the network.

Fundamental modes of operation:

· Display a list of hardware devices based on type of device or system bus on which
the devices reside, via --type-summary or --bus-summary (the latter of which is the
default behavior).

· Query specified data for attached hardware, via --data-path.


-h | --help
Display a simple help message.

-v | --verbose
Instruct the tool to provide feedback as it operates. This will affect the
output as discover parses certain arguments, so this should appear early in the
command line.

-V | --version
Display the tool name and version.

-b | --bus-summary
This is the default behavior: Display basic information regarding all devices on
the appropriate buses. See "Selecting Buses" >.

-t | --type-summary
Summarize devices by class of hardware. Examples of valid device types include
broadband, fixeddisk, display, and network. See "Device Types" >.

Query matching devices for detailed information. Device-specific data is stored
in a hierarchical fashion, and the query argument comprises strings naming each
level in that hierarchy.

Typically, the top-level component of the data path will be the ``platform''
that will need the information, such as linux or xfree86. For example, to
retrieve the Linux kernel module name for a piece of hardware, the --data-path
argument would be linux/module/name.

If multiple --data-path arguments are given and no format string (see
--format) is provided, only the last path is used.

See also the --data-version argument.

Specify a version string for the platform that will use the information
specified by the argument to --data-path.

This string must be in dotted-decimal notation in order to be matched against a
range of values, and thus may be shorter than the real version.

--format=format string
Dictate the output of the results of the queries specified by --data-path
arguments. This format string should follow printf(3) specifications, although
only %s and appropriate flags, precision, and width values are supported (or
make sense); literal text and %% can also be used. The behavior when
the string is poorly formatted is undefined. See also --normalize-whitespace.

-d | --disable-bus=bus
Use this option to override the list of buses to scan by default as defined in
discover.conf. Use all as an argument to disable all buses; this is useful only
if followed by --enable-bus (or -e) arguments.

-e | --enable-bus=bus
Specify a bus to be scanned.

Insert a URL at the head of the list of network resources to include in the
search for hardware information. Earlier data overrides later data; to override
the local data sources, insert URLs into the list. See also --append-url.

Append a URL to the end of the list of network resources to search for hardware
information. See also --insert-url.

--model Include the model description in summary information. This is enabled by

Include the numeric model identifier in summary information.

Do not include the model description in summary information.

Do not include the numeric model identifier in summary information. This is the

--vendor Include the vendor description in summary information. This is enabled by

Include the numeric vendor identifier in summary information.

Do not include the vendor description in summary information.

Do not include the numeric vendor identifier in summary information. This is the

Consolidate whitespace in the results of a --data-path query. The default is
not to do so, which faithfully reproduces all text in the raw XML data.

With this option enabled, leading and trailing whitespace is removed, and any
consecutive internal whitespaces are compressed to a single space character.

Selecting Buses

discover.conf defines two lists of system buses: one to scan by default (used by the
discover command), and one never to scan (used by the Discover library).

You can override and/or extend the list of default buses with --disable-bus and --enable-
bus. The list of buses not to scan cannot be overridden without changing discover.conf,
so that list should be used only for buses that may be dangerous to probe.

Both arguments take the string ``all'' as a value.

If a bus summary is being performed, which is indicated either by the presence of --bus-
summary or the absence of --type-summary and --data-path, any unattached arguments on the
command line will be interpreted as the only buses to scan. This is equivalent to using
--disable-bus all before invoking --enable-bus for the buses of interest.

The following buses are currently supported by Discover:

· ata

· pci

· pcmcia

· scsi

· usb

Device Types

Discover defines its own device types, to which the device types used by each bus are
mapped. Discover currently recognizes the following device types:

· audio

A device capable of producing an analog or digital sound signal is an audio
device. Typically, any device commonly referred to as a ``sound card'' is
classified by Discover as an audio device.

· bridge

A device that provides access to devices of a different type, commonly on a
different bus, is a bridge device. For instance, consumer PCI chipsets often
feature a bridge to ATA (also known as IDE) devices.

· broadband

An interface device to a computer communications network implemented on top of a
technology not explicitly designed for that purpose is a broadband device.
Examples include ISDN terminal adapters as well as DSL and cable ``modems'';
analog phone-line modems are not included in this classification (see ``modem''

· display

A device controlled by the host machine's CPU and capable of producing an analog
or digital video signal for output purposes is a display device. Typically, any
device commonly referred to as a ``video card'' is classified by Discover as a
display device.

· fixeddisk

A high-speed, fixed magnetic storage device such as a hard disk drive is a
fixeddisk device. Removable media devices such as floppy disk drives, CD-ROM
drives, magneto-optical devices, tape drives, and Compact Flash card readers are
not included in this classification.

· humaninput

A device that receives tactile input from a person for the purpose of directing
a computer's activity is a humaninput device. Examples include keyboards, mice,
trackballs, joysticks, gamepads, digital tablets manipulated with a stylus or
finger, and so forth. Input devices that rely upon non-tactile means of
determining a person's intent, such as speech-recognition devices or cameras,
are not included in this classification.

· imaging

A device that captures still images for input purposes is an imaging device.
Scanners and digital cameras are examples of imaging devices. Motion-capture
devices such as television tuner cards, webcams, and digital video cameras are
not included in this classification.

· miscellaneous

Any device that cannot logically be classified as another device type is a
miscellaneous device.

· modem

An analog phone-line modulator/demodulator (modem) is classified by Discover as
a modem device. No other kind of device is so classified.

· network

An interface device to a conventional computer data communications network that
does not require the use of a terminal adapter is a network device. For
example, Ethernet and Token Ring network interface cards are network devices.
Analog phone-line modems; terminal adapters for technologies such as ISDN and
DSL; and ``cable modems'' are not ``network'' devices.

· optical

An optical-technology storage device, often using read-only media, is an optical
device. By far the most common examples of these devices are CD-ROM and DVD-ROM
drives, including versions of these drives that can ``burn'' (write to) optical

· printer

A device that renders visual output in a permanent or semi-permanent manner to a
physical medium is a printer. Typically, any device colloquially referred to as
a ``printer'' is also classified by Discover as a printer.

· removabledisk

Storage devices that feature removable media using just about any technology
except that of magnetic tape, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM drives are removabledisk
devices. Examples include floppy disk drives, magneto-optical drives, and
Compact Flash card readers.

· tape

A sequential-access mass storage device using magnetic tape is a tape device.
Commonly used for archival and backup purposes, DAT drives are examples of tape

· video

A device that produces a real-time digital video signal for input purposes is a
video device. Webcams, digital video cameras, and television tuners are
examples of video devices. Note that still digital cameras with ``movie''
capability are not considered video devices unless they can transmit the live
video signal to the host in real time.


Scan the local buses

# discover
Intel Corporation 82815 Chipset Host Bridge and Memory Controller Hub
unknown unknown
unknown unknown
unknown unknown
Intel Corporation 82815 Chipset IDE controller
Intel Corporation 82815 Chipset USB (A)
Intel Corporation 82815 System Management bus controller
ATI Technologies, Inc. Rage 128 Pro GL [PF]
3Com Corporation 3c905C-TX [Fast Etherlink]
Ensoniq ES1371 [AudioPCI-97]
unknown unknown

View PCI video cards

# discover -v --type-summary --disable-bus all --enable-bus pci display
Disabled pci
Disabled pcmcia
Disabled scsi
Disabled usb
Enabled pci
Loading XML data... pci Done
Scanning buses... pci Done
ATI Technologies, Inc. Rage 128 Pro GL [PF]

Query for the driver module for XFree86 server version 4.2.0

# discover --data-path=xfree86/server/device/driver --data-version=4.2.0 display

Get model and vendor information by type

$ discover -t --no-model
Intel Corporation
NVIDIA Corporation
3Com Corporation
$ discover -t --no-vendor
82815 System Management bus controller
Vanta [NV6]
3c905C-TX [Fast Etherlink]


The directory containing configuration files that control the default behavior
for both the discover tool and the Discover library.

An XML file containing URLs with hardware information. This list can be extended
with --append-url and --extend-url.


Josh Bressers, John R. Daily, and G. Branden Robinson developed the current implementation
of Discover for Progeny Linux Systems.

The Linux implementation of the system-dependent interfaces is derived from detect, by
MandrakeSoft SA.

See Also

discover.conf(5), discover-modprobe(8)


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