Smolt is a project started by Fedora to collect information about the hardware that is used with computers running Linux. We at (open-)SUSE were seeing this demand as well and also were discussing a solution. But it became clear quite quickly that it does not make sense to have a per-distro solution for that – if we want to have momentum with a hardware database a combined effort promisses the most.
On Linuxtag 2007 I was first time involved in meetings were people from the Fedora project offered us to participate in smolt. It became clear that the idea behind smolt is what we also wanted. The working athmosphere was (and still is) open, friendly and productive and thus we decided to join in. With openSUSE 11.0 we first time shipped a smolt client, but not in the installation workflow.
Smolt isn’t finished yet. While it is a stable infrastructure thanks to Mike McGrath and friends who work on it there are still some things that could be improved. Maybe there is somebody in the openSUSE community interesting in joining the smolt community and help? That would be great because the contributions from our side are still limited and I think it would be great if everybody would bring something to the party.
Smolt is not limited to Fedora and openSUSE btw. Other distros are invited to participate as well. With that I think smolt is a great thing for Linux overall. Hopefully some time in the future it will help us to convince more hardware manufacturers that supporting Linux is important for them.
An interesting read is also http://www.linux.com/feature/118322
Ah – yes, of course you should not forget to actually use smolt and send up your hardware data when installing openSUSE – we can still climb up in the OS list on http://smolts.org/static/stats/stats.html 🙂