This is h-node's FAQ. Please, read this page first before making your first contribution. You can find more specific information from our wiki pages.
What is h-node all about?
The h-node project aims to create and maintain a comprehensive hardware database in order to identify what devices work with fully free operating systems and which do not. This way, it is more easier for the free software community to find compatible hardware. The h-node.org website is structured like a wiki so that all users can modify it and insert new content. The h-node project is developed in collaboration and as an activity of the Free Software Foundation.
How can I help h-node.org to become a better site?
You can contribute in many ways. The best way is to check what kind of hardware you have, whether they can be found in the database or not, insert new hardware to the database and update existing entries. You can also suggest new features to be added to h-node and report bugs and other issues in our Issues page. You can participate in discussion on various subjects in our Issues page and in our mailing list. You can also help in translating h-node to other languages. New contributions of any kind are most appreciated.
How can I find out if I have hardware which needs to be inserted to h-node?
Go to our Search page and follow the provided instructions under analyze the output of the lspci command section. You will get a list of your hardware where you can easily see what hardware needs to be added to the database. Please remember that even if all of your hardware is already in the database you should still check if the existing information is up to date or if you can provide any additional details. People can report only those pieces of hardware they have, so your entries are precious.
How can I add new hardware to h-node?
If the hardware list you got from our Search page shows that you have some hardware that needs to be added to the database, you can easily add them one at a time by clicking the insert link next to the device's name in the list. This will take you to page where you can easily add that particular piece of hardware to the database. You can find links to instructions on that page about how to provide answers to each given field.
What should I include in the device's description?
You should include as much information as possible. A good habit is always to include relevant output from lspci -vmmnnk and lspci -nn commands, or if your device is a USB device, output from sudo lsusb -v. You should also describe how easy it was to set up the device and does it work out of the box or does it require additional fiddling to work. Good examples can be found here and here.
How can I edit the device's description?
The device's description section supports many tags which help you to format the description to a clear and easy to read form. The same tags are used in our wiki too. Complete list of tags can be found here. A good habit is to use
tags for paragraphs and
tags for sections of code such as output from lspci or lsusb commands.
Why I can't use just any GNU/Linux distribution to test my hardware for h-node?
H-node's aim is to collect information about what hardware works with free software, so hardware must be tested with free software only. We ask you to test your hardware with a fully free GNU/Linux distribution to make sure the data we get is accurate. You can find a list of fully free GNU/Linux distributions here.
Our list consists of distributions which are accepted as fully free (as in freedom) by the Free Software Foundation. The list also includes Debian GNU/Linux because it includes only free software by default. Debian can be used for testing hardware if the user makes sure that no non-free software is installed and the non-free software sources are disabled.
The easiest method to test one's hardware is to burn a live cd/dvd/usb of a fully free GNU/Linux distribution and use that to boot your computer. This way you don't have to install a fully free distribution to see if your hardware is compatible or not.
I have a piece of hardware that cannot be easily included into any category. What should I do?
We try to get any kind of hardware into the database which could be useful to the free software community. We are still developing h-node and some categories are still missing. There are two things you can do to help. First you should report your hardware in this page where we gather all hardware which doesn't have a suitable category yet. Then you should ask us to make a new category for your device in our Issues page.
How can I suggest new features to be implemented?
H-node is constantly developing. If you feel there is some feature we should add or some thing we should do differently, just make a new issue in our Issues page.
I think I have found a bug. What now?
Every bug report is highly appreciated. Go to our Issues page and make a new issue. Describe the bug carefully so that we can reproduce it and fix it. You can also suggest a suitable fix for the bug yourself.
Is there a mailing list I can join?
We have a private mailing list here where everyone is welcome to join.