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System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems
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What's New in USB Devices?

The following section describes new USB features in the Solaris release.

For a complete listing of new Solaris features and a description of Solaris releases, see Solaris Express Developer Edition What’s New.

USB Interface Association Descriptor Support

Solaris Express Developer Edition 5/07: A USB device node type, IA node, is created for Interface Association Descriptor (IAD) support. This feature means that a driver might support multiple interfaces for the same device, such as the video and audio interfaces of a webcam. If no driver is found for an IA node, a nexus driver, usb_ia, is bound to the IA node to create the interface nodes. For more information, see usb_ia(7D).

EHCI Isochronous Transfer Support

Solaris Express Developer Edition 5/07: USB EHCI host controller driver provides isochronous transfer support for USB 2.0 or high-speed isochronous devices. For more information, see usb_isoc_request(9S).

Support for CDC ACM Devices

Solaris Express Developer Edition 5/07:Support for CDC ACM devices is provided in this release. For more information, see USB Driver Enhancements.

Changed USB Device Hotpluggable Behavior

Solaris Express 6/06: This feature information has been revised in the Solaris Express 10/06 release.

This Solaris release introduces a new device attribute, hotpluggable, to identify those devices that can be connected or disconnected without rebooting the system and configured or unconfigured automatically without user intervention. All USB and 1394 devices are identified as hotpluggable devices to gain those benefits described in Using USB Mass Storage Devices. In addition, non-removable media USB and 1394 devices are no longer identified as removable-media devices and no longer have a removable-media attribute.

The changes are primarily made at the kernel level to improve support for non-removable media USB and 1394 devices, and improve the performance for those devices. However, theses changes do not impact the use of these devices. For example, the responsibility of mounting and unmounting these devices is controlled by rmvolmgr. From a user's perspective, the only visible changes are the hotpluggable and removable-media attributes of a device.

For more information, see USB and 1394 (FireWire) Support Enhancements.

ZFS Support on USB Devices

Solaris Express 6/06: This information has been revised in the Solaris Express 10/06 release.

You can create and mount ZFS file systems on USB mass storage devices. For information about using USB mass storage devices, see Using USB Mass Storage Devices.

For information about creating and mounting ZFS file systems, see zfs(1M) and zpool(1M).

Support for Prolific and Keyspan Serial Adapters

Solaris Express 1/06: Support for Prolific and Keyspan serial adapters is provided in this release. For more information, see USB Driver Enhancements.

USB Power Budgeting

Solaris Express 1/06: This Solaris release includes power budgeting of USB devices to better manage the power that is distributed to USB devices. Power budget control helps prevent over-current conditions from occurring and generally makes using USB devices safer. For more information about Solaris USB power budgeting limitations, see Bus-Powered Devices.

x86: Support for USB CDs and DVDs in GRUB-Based Booting

Solaris Express 6/05: You can use the following USB features in the GRUB-based booting environment:

  • Installing from USB CD or DVD drives

  • Booting from USB storage devices. You must install the Solaris release on the USB drive before you can boot from it.

For more information about GRUB-based booting, see Chapter 8, Shutting Down and Booting a System (Overview), in System Administration Guide: Basic Administration.

USB Virtual Keyboard and Mouse Support

Solaris Express 6/05: USB virtual keyboard and mouse support enables you to hook up multiple keyboards and multiple mice, where the set of keyboards or mice behave as one virtual keyboard or mouse. This means that the input of each physical device is coalesced into a single input stream. For example, if you type SHIFT on one keyboard and A on another, the character echoed is an uppercase A.

Also supported is the ability to add a USB keyboard or mouse to a laptop and have these devices work as one device with the laptop's PS/2 keyboard and pad.

In addition, support for barcode readers is provided by the virtual keyboard and mouse feature.

For more information, refer to virtualkm(7D).

vold Provides Awareness of Hot-Plugged USB Devices

Solaris Express 12/06: The vold features are removed in this release. For information about managing removable media with vold in the Solaris 10 releases, see System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

For information about new removable media management services in the Solaris Express release, see Changes and Improvements to Removable Media Management.

Solaris Express 6/05: The removable media manager (vold) is now hotplug aware. There is no need to restart this daemon to mount a USB mass storage device that has been hot-inserted. However, for some devices, it might still be necessary to manually mount the devices as vold is not always successful. In the case where vold fails to automatically mount a USB device, stop vold, like this:

# /etc/init.d/volmgt stop

For information about manually mounting a USB mass storage device, see How to Mount or Unmount a USB Mass Storage Device.

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