Hardware detection sequence in ubuntu 9.10

Hello, I'm a newbie in linux. I have been trying to understand how hardware is handled in Ubuntu 9.10. I am hoping someone can simply tell me how this is done by a simple overview. It's not that I am too lazy to try and find this info myself, I have infact made hard copy of lots of sites. The problem I run into is not knowing what programs and schemes are valid for 9.10. All the recommended sites/books etc are either too basic or outdated.

What I'd like is a rundown like:

kernel runs (unknown-program )at start up, detects which hardware is installed
program configures sysfs ( user-space)=> ( /sys/dev creates device node ? via dbus ?) ?
program (hotplug? Still used?) detects from kernel (what is the kernel watching?)a device has been pluged in or unpluged. Udevd checks udev/udev/rules.d

etc. A simple overview would really help for 9.10. As it is I'm reading along thinking cool I can use udevtest to get info about a device and then find out it no longer is being used. Infact I am not sure if any part of HAL is still in use ??? I've gathered that static /dev sure had it's problems but at least I think I could have made sense out of it. I could probably make sense of this eventually too if I knew which things I needed to understand. I know this is very vague and I am not asking for anyone to hand feed me the information, but does anyone know how this all fits together anymore? I'm afraid the next release will even make whatever is pertainent for 9.10 obselete . I'm sure I'm not the only one who could use this info. I'd write it myself if someone could just tell me what things are now used. Thanks, maybe am asking too much, but like to be in control of my own system as opposed to M$