Man vs. Myth: Greg Kroah-Hartman and the Kernel Driver Project
Don't tell Greg Kroah-Hartman that Linux hurts for device drivers. He's heard too much of that rap, and he's already done plenty to stop it. We should thank him and help pick up the ball. I'm doing both here.
The beginning of the end of the Missing Drivers Myth came at the 2006 Ottowa Linux Symposium, where Greg said, “Linux supports more different types of devices than any other operating system ever has in the history of computing.”
Still, the OSDL (later the Linux Foundation) board—composed mostly of large vendors—listed device drivers as the #2 “most pressing issue”. So the Linux Driver Project (LDP) was created. Alas, Greg reports on his blog, “No vendors showed up.” But after he announced, “Tell me all of the hardware that you know of that is not supported by Linux!”, he writes, “the response from users was overwhelming”. Thus, a canonical wiki list was created at the LDP.
After this, Greg went to each vendor personally, and the conversation almost always went like this:
GREG: “What hardware do you ship that is not currently supported by Linux?”
VENDOR: “It all is.”
GREG: “But wait, why are you claiming that 'Linux drivers' is your second most pressing issue today with Linux?”
VENDOR: “I don't know.”
Thanks to those clues, missing drivers is out of the board members' top ten pressing issues.
But, there always is work to be done. As Greg puts it, that work falls into four categories of user complaints. Here they are, with excerpts of Greg's responses to each:
1. Printer and scanner support: “...already being handled very well by the Linux Printing Project and the SANE Project. Printer and scanner drivers in Linux are user-space programs and libraries and have nothing to do with the kernel at all. If you have any issues with these types of devices, please go ask the developers of those projects about them.”
2. Older devices no longer manufactured that people really want to see working on their Linux machines someday: “...is hard. It would be great for Linux to support all of these older devices, but without the specs for the device, or in many cases, a company that is still in business, Linux support is going to be very difficult to achieve....Luckily, for almost all modern hardware devices, it is not necessary.”
3. Wireless device support: “the Linux-Wireless group of developers has done an amazing amount of work in the past year, adding a whole new wireless protocol stack to the Linux kernel, as well as numerous different hardware drivers, some initially created by vendors and others created by reverse-engineering the hardware with no vendor help or approval. The latest kernel.org releases contain a raft of new hardware support for wireless drivers, and the number of active drivers in the queue to be added in the near future is quite large. Alas, there are still some wireless vendors that do not provide Linux support directly. Two of these, Atheros and Broadcom, have drivers created by the community through reverse-engineering efforts....Hopefully, this will change in the future.”
4. Video input device support: “...there is an active Linux developer community in this area, but it seems to be hampered by a different development model...and a lack of full-time developers, not to mention a high degree of interpersonal conflicts that seem quite strange to outsiders. Support for a large majority of these devices is slowly trickling into the main kernel tree—the most important being the USB video class driver, which will support almost all new USB video devices in the future, thereby removing the major problem most users will face when purchasing a new video device.”
In addition to further education, Greg has opened development by keeping all code related to the LDP in a quilt patch series that is automatically included in the linux-next-daily kernel releases, which are then contained in a git tree that “provides a place where developers can provide changes, updates and see where they can help out if they wish to do so in a much easier manner. It also provides a way for companies participating to observe the status of their code in a much more open manner.”
It would be nice if Atheros and Broadcom were among those companies.
For more, visit linuxdriverproject.org.
Greg's blog post is at www.kroah.com/log/linux/linux_driver_project_status-2008-04.html.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide