|| ||"John W. Linville" <email@example.com>|
|| ||wireless direction statement|
|| ||Wed, 22 Mar 2006 16:13:37 -0500|
I haven't posted much in a while, except a few surly maintainer-ish
remarks about changelogs and the like. So, I thought it would be good
to say something about where I think things are going with wireless.
WHERE ARE WE?
Those of you who have been keeping-up know that I have established a
wireless-2.6 tree for pushing patches upstream, eventually to Linus.
That tree has several branches. Some of them are for administrative
purposes, others are for the mechanics involved w/ pushing patches.
The important ones are the development branches for the softmac and
When I stepped-up to this job we were at a crossroads. In fact, we
are basically still there. Many are dissatisfied with the capabilities
of the ieee80211 stack which is currently in the kernel and want to
switch to using the dscape stack (kindly provided by the folks at
Devicescape). Others think that with the addition of the softmac
component, the current stack still has some life in it. Still others
have principled objections to switching stacks due either to objections
to the development process of the dscape stack or to stability concerns
and the like. Not a lot has changed. I would like to begin to break-up
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Most people's concerns about wireless boil down to "make it not suck"
or "give us more drivers". I don't know how to solve the former concern in
the immediate future. But, I think I can start to make progress on the
I would like to start merging the softmac code towards upstream ASAP.
The ieee80211+softmac stack seems to be good enough to achieve basic
functionality for a number of drivers. If we had softmac upstream today,
there are at least three more drivers that would be available or on the
The softmac code is an incremental improvement on the existing
stack, and it was developed in an open process. It also is less
disruptive to userland than the dscape stack. It is less capable than
the dscape code, but I think it is good enough to make things better
I know I am running late on Linus' schedule for new stuff in 2.6.17.
I'm not sure if we can get on that train or not. I don't think we will
have any trouble getting in -mm.
What I would like is to see some review of the softmac patches on
netdev. The code is available on the softmac branch of wireless-2.6,
and the individual patches are available here:
The patches for the softmac-based drivers are mixed-in to that directory
-- please ignore the drivers for now. I will also post the softmac patches
for review as follow-ups to this message.
WHAT ABOUT DSCAPE?
Does this mean that we have abandoned the dscape code? No. I think we
need the capabilities provided by the dscape code as well. I just don't
think we can make progress as quickly with the dscape code as we can
So what happens to dscape? I will publish a wireless-dev tree that
will start life as a copy of the current dscape branch. This will
provide a home for dscape-related development while allowing us more
freedom to break things. Once we get things where we want them in
wireless-dev, we can move pieces back to wireless-2.6.
WHAT ABOUT WE-20?
Jean Tourrilhes offered version 20 of the wireless extensions about a
month ago. I was somewhat hesitant to merge the patch, since we are
also talking about developing a new management interface for wireless.
I didn't want to confuse things. But, realistically, we don't have
any new management interface at this time.
I don't see WE-20 as being such a disruptive change that eventually
supplanting it with something new would be any harder or worse than
supplanting WE-19 with the new thing. So, I plan to merge Jean's WE-20
patch to wireless-2.6 unless someone can offer a serious objection
to doing so. Anyone?
I know some of you will object on the basis that we should wait for the
wireless summit to make these decisions. I respect that view, but I
think it will be better to already have this direction so as to provide
a little more focus for the discussions at the summit.
So, please give a good review to the patches I'll be posting as
follow-ups to this message. Let's get things moving!
P.S. Please note that the following patches are already available on
the softmac branch of wireless-2.6. This is a review request, _not_ a
request to merge...thanks!
John W. Linville
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