Plug and Play and the Hardware Abstraction Layer

Plug and play (PnP) refers to the ability of an operating system to allocate hardware ports or addresses automatically to specific devices such as hard drives, sound cards, or modems. Linux's ability to work with PnP devices is finally up to speed, courtesy of the Linux implementation of HAL. Conceptually different from the Microsoft version, HAL provides a constantly updated list of detected components. Ubuntu Linux can even automatically detect and mount the smart cards associated with digital cameras and fingerprint readers.

If you want to see the full list of detected hardware, run the lshal command. It's a long list, so you may need to pipe the output to a pager with a command like

$ lshal | less which allows you to scroll through the output with pageup and pagedown keys.

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