Well the "hardware detection daemon" would be hotplug. But it isn't really doing any hardware detection. It just responds to hotplug events generated by the kernel when e.g. a USB thingie is inserted (or firewire, or a PCI card, or a SATA drive, or a CPU...) and runs scripts for those events.
Apparently people are still running archaic distributions that haven't been introduced to hotplug yet, hence all the complaining and half-baked "solutions".
Sorry for the posturing in my previous post, I was reading BSD fanatacism into your post that wasn't there.