create new tag
, view all tags
I think we all have an idea about what Plug and Play is and is intended to do, but there are things I didn't (and still don't) know. This page is intended to focus on some of those.

Aside: This is very confused at this point, and I'm setting it aside temporarily. Part of my original goal was to explain the reason for the availability of the "nobiospnp" option in /etc/lilo.conf and the circumstances under which you needed to use it (and the circumstances when you don't need to use it), and then some of the terminology related to PlugNPlay, like "PlugNPlay enabled OS".

See AboutThesePages.

Digression: I'm thinking about the way I'm writing this -- I clearly am confused, and to some extent I'm writing to CYA -- writing <something> or <something else> to cover all the possibilities -- maybe I would do better to write just <something> which might make it easier for someone else to correct my writing. I'll have to think about this some more, and see what other feedback I get (if any).


Another Attempt

In contrast to what I wrote in What Plug and Play Is, below.

stuff I wrote (after the first two paragraphs) on http://alsa.opensrc.org/index.php?page=PnP I should check that page occasionally for corrections (to my understanding):

'''Plug and Play''': Hardware or software that, after being installed ("plugged in"), can immediately be used ("played with"), as opposed to hardware or software which requires configuration. (dictionary.com, http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=plug%20and%20play)

If you're unlucky, also known as ''Plug and Pray''

Ok, but maybe there's another perspective, especially if the problem we are having (the LVCFK) with some Yamaha opl3sa2 cards on Vector Linux (2.5??) is at least partially due to Plug and Play.

Rather than writing any more here, I'll refer you to http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Wikilearn/SndcdYamahaOpl3Sax, which isn't necessarily correct. So, how would I rewrite this page if some of what I suspect is true? Maybe:

Plug and Play is a (Microsoft ??) technology which allows cards to be configured in software instead of by the use of hardware jumpers.

The software to establish the settings can be:

  • incorporated in an operating system (most versions of Windows?)
  • incorporated in the BIOS of a computer (most "modern" personal computers)
  • provided as a standalone utility for situations where neither of the above is applicable (dos or Linux on older computers)

Problems can arise.

One type of problem is when the software sets the resources (IRQ, I/O address, DMA channels, memory "window") to "unusual" settings that don't match the settings that the "normal" driver (or configuration utility) for a given card expects. (I think this is what's happening with respect to the Yamaha opl3sa2 sound card on computers that the LVCFK is rebuilding.)

In that case, I think there are two possible solutions:

  • Pass the necessary parameters to the Linux driver module to use the non-standard settings (one example of that is mentioned on SndcdYamahaOpl3Sax.

  • For cards that support a non-volatile configuration (i.e., can maintain their configuration settings with the power off), or by booting to dos and then warm booting (no power shut off) to Linux: Use the standalone configuration utility to change the settings on a card to the (or one of the) standard settings.


What Plug and Play Is

OK, OK, I wasn't going to write anything here, but I got carried away -- maybe I have some misconceptions that need to be straightened out so I understand plug and play better and therefore can write this page better.


  • Plug and Play is a feature of PCI bus cards (it might also be a feature of PCMCIA and USB stuff -- I don't have much of that stuff)
  • The intent is to make configuration of computers easier by assigning resources like IRQs, I/O ports, DMA channels(??), and memory locations(??) automatically rather than by, for example, setting jumpers, and, in the course of automatically setting those resources automatically avoid conflicts.
  • Plug and Play does not work for ISA bus cards.

New Things I'm Starting To Realize

  • The software to do the automatic configuration can be built into the Bios or the operating system of a computer, or supplied with a Plug and Play card as a utility (??), which often runs under Dos (only, i.e., not under Linux). (I might be confusing this with cards that are not really known as plug and play but do require a software utility to set their configuration, like EthernetCards3Com3C509.)
  • Some Plug and Play cards can retain their configuration with the power off and some cannot?? (I'm thinking of the situations (which I haven't had to deal with, thankfully), where Linux must be "hot started" from Dos or Windows, because only Dos or Windows has the software to set the configuration, and, since it can't be retained with the power off, you must use something like doslinux (is that the right program??) to start Linux from Dos or Windows.

  • Ok, here's a question more than a statement: Stop, maybe I can't get any further right now -- maybe I have several questions:

    • I guess the plug and play software could (possibly select different settings each time it is run (or each time a computer is booted up) with no good reason for changing the settings? (Although I've never noticed this -- maybe there is a set of preferred configurations or some mechanism (like a flag) that knows there is no need for reconfiguration (because, for example, no other hardware has been installed on this computer).)
    • Maybe all PlugNPlay (TM) cards do retain their settings while powered off?

  • I think that most versions of Windows incorporate the Plug and Play setup software in the operating system (??), thus <later>
  • If you have an operating system that does not support Plug and Play, then <later> -- you must either let the bios do the setup or do it with "external" utilities.

< >

See also:


  • RandyKramer - 19 Mar 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

Page Ratings

Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r6 < r5 < r4 < r3 < r2 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r6 - 2003-04-26 - RandyKramer
  • Learn about TWiki  
  • Download TWiki
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform Powered by PerlCopyright 1999-2017 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding WikiLearn? WebBottomBar">Send feedback
See TWiki's New Look