This was originally sent to the linux-kernel and driver-devel mailing lists. Based on some of the feedback I got, I figured I should post it here as well.

Here's a summary of the state of the drivers/staging/ tree, basically what will be coming in the 2.6.32 merge, and what the status of the different drivers are so far.

First off, drivers/staging/ is NOT a dumping ground for dead code. If no one steps up to maintain and work to get the code merged into the main portion of the kernel, the drivers will be removed.

As proof of that, the epl (Ethernet Power Link) driver will be removed in the .32 kernel, as no one is working on it, the upstream developers never respond to my emails, and no one seems to care about it.

The pata_rdc driver is also going to be removed, as there is a "better" one being merged through the libata tree for this hardware.

So, taking the drivers in chunks, here's some that have had active development on for the .32 release:

  • rt* wireless drivers. Bart has done amazing work merging all of these together into something much better than they originally were. And even better, they still work! Great job Bart!

  • rtl* wireless drivers. Again, Bart has been doing great work here.

  • wlan-ng driver: a bit of work here, but this seems to be dropping off, with the loss of a test platform for the driver. Hopefully someone has a device around and can help out here.

  • comedi drivers had only a bit of work done, lots more is needed here, let's not loose the fact that this is getting closer to a mergable shape.

  • android drivers have had a bit of work done, but upstream seems to not care at all about what is going on here, as they are working to forward port their code to the 2.6.29! kernel. {sigh}. If this keeps up, the drivers will be dropped in the 2.6.32 kernel release. Note, Pavel has been adding some of the Dream hardware drivers, which are separate from the core Android drivers. I have no objection to those, but they should work to get merged to their "correct" places in the tree in another release or so.

  • w35und driver. It's slowly being worked on.

  • echo driver. This one is now in good enough shape to merge into the main kernel tree. I'll send out review patches soon for this.

  • eth131x driver. Alan Cox is working on fixing up the issues in this driver. Hopefully it will get into mergable shape soon.

New drivers that will show up in the .32 kernel release:

  • vt66* wireless drivers. These VIA drivers are being actively worked on to get into a much better shape. Nice job.

  • new rt3090, and rtl8192e wireless drivers have been added and worked on cleaning up issues involved in them.

  • hv (Microsoft Hyper-V) drivers. Over 200 patches make up the massive cleanup effort needed to just get this code into a semi-sane kernel coding style (someone owes me a bit bottle of rum for that work!) Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 release. So sad...

  • quatech_usb2 driver. I don't know if it quite works, but someone is developing it, so I'm not complaining :)

  • VME bus drivers. Yeah! They are progressing nicely.

  • SEP and RAR drivers. Alan Cox has been working on cleaning these up a lot.

  • IIO (Industrial I/O), these are new drivers that are being actively worked on.

  • pohmelfs and dst. It seems that DST is dead, so I think I will remove it in .33. pohmelfs is under active development outside of the tree, and hopefully patches start moving in here to help out with keeping it up to date.

  • cowloop. Yes, another COW driver! :) Seriously, this does things that DM can't do, so it might be useful. The upstream developer is interested in getting this merged properly, and is working on cleaning it up.

Drivers not being actively worked on:

  • otus This is sitting here until a "real" wireless driver will be merged through the wireless tree. Hopefully that happens soon.

  • agnx wireless driver. No one seems to care about it. If no one steps up soon, it will be removed in .33.

  • altpciechdma Upstream developers seem to have disappeared. Again, if no one steps up, it will be removed in .33

  • asus_oled This only needs minor cleanups to get merged properly into the main tree. If someone wants an easy project, this would be it.

  • at76_usb wireless driver. Again, no one working on it, it will be dropped in .33.

  • b3dfg I really do not think anyone cares about this. again, will be dropped if this is true in .33.

  • cpc-usb After the initial flurry of development, everyone seems to have run away. Was it the fact that I hadn't showered in a few days? Again, will be removed if no one comes back. And I am wearing deodorant now...

  • frontier A nice driver, again, should not be hard to get merged into the main tree, if someone wants an easy project...

  • go7007 Ugh. Unless someone steps up now to take this over, it's going to be removed in .33. There is no hardware made with this anymore, and no specs around that I know of, and the code isn't the nicest in the world.

  • heci A wonderful example of a company throwing code over the wall, watching it get rejected, and then running away as fast as possible, all the while yelling over their shoulder, "it's required on all new systems, you will love it!" We don't, it sucks, either fix it up, or I am removing it.

  • line6 Another nice driver that should be simple to get merged. Please, if you are looking for something to do, this is it.

  • me4000 and meilhaus They work on the same hardware, and they duplicate the existing COMEDI drivers. Someone thinks that custom userspace interfaces are fun and required. Turns out that being special and unique is not what to do here, use the COMEDI drivers instead. These will be removed. Heck, I'll go remove them for .32, there is no reason these should still be around, except to watch the RT guys squirm as they try to figure out the byzantine locking and build logic here (which certainly does count for something, cheap entertainment is always good.)

  • mimio Another driver that should be simple to get merged. Someone just step up to do this please, there are users of this hardware out there.

  • p9auth While it seemed like a good idea, I don't think that anyone actually uses this. It will be removed in .33 unless someone comes forward.

  • panel Another one that should be simple to merge. Anyone?

  • phison What? I thought I asked for this to be merged a while ago, sorry about that, no reason it should still be in staging anymore, it's just so small it slipped through the cracks...

  • poch A long-suffering company is enduring the slowest developers in the world here. Hopefully the code will be replaced with a UIO driver, but testing the userspace side seems to be difficult and slow. I have to give Redrapids major credit for being patient here, they are being amazing.

  • rspiusb A weird, very expensive camera, from a company that does not want to release the specs, and wants custom userspace interfaces. The code hasn't built since the 2.6.20 days. I'll go delete it now from .32, it doesn't deserve to live as no one cares about it, least of all, the original authors of the code :(

  • slicoss and sxg These are being developed by a consulting company for the main producer of the chips. Yet they seem to have disappeared half-way through the job. Odd. Hopefully they come back soon.

  • stlc45xx Another wireless driver that no one seems to care about. So sad. I guess no one will miss it when it goes away in .33.

  • udlfb Video over USB, it doesn't get anymore whacked than that. This is still being developed but the developer doesn't like to do incremental updates for some odd reason. Hopefully he pops up again with an update. But for now, it is quite workable for a number of developers.

  • usbip USB over IP. I guess if you ran video over IP to your USB device, that would be more whacked than just video over USB. This did get one big update during the .32 development cycle, hopefully the developer can come back again when they get some free time to continue working on it. Rumor has it that some major distros are starting to rely on this code, so it would be nice to get their help to get it working better...

That should cover all of the 600+ patches in the staging tree for the .32 kernel merge, and the existing drivers/staging/ tree. If I missed anything, please let me know.

posted Wed, 09 Sep 2009 in [/linux]


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