Move wlan-ng out of staging?

Xose Vazquez Perez xose.vazquez at
Fri Jan 29 16:00:16 UTC 2016

Ksenija wrote:

> I'm helping Greg do a bit of cleanup in the staging tree, I noticed that
> wlan-ng driver is maybe ready to be moved out of staging. Are there
> any TODO tasks left to do beside clean-up?

Its FAQ was very clear:
[archived at ]

Q: When will linux-wlan-ng be merged into the mainline kernel?

	Short answer:  Never.

	First, the linux-netdev people will soundly reject this driver.
	I don't begrudge them for this; indeed in their position I'd do
	exactly the same.  It's a sound engineering decision.

	linux-wlan-ng is obselete, and effort spent fixing it is better
	spent elsewhere.  You can't even buy the hardware any longer.

	The original design for linux-wlan-ng was to separate the 802.11
	stack from the actual hardware driver.  This added a lot of
	complexity, but would greatly ease the pain of supporitng
	multiple hardware types.  Unfortunately, the implementation was
	turned out to be somewhat flawed, and hardware manufaturers went
	away from the thick-mac model, leaving linux-wlan-ng overly
	complex for what it did.

	(Ironically, the linux kernel is adopting a similar
	 separation model, but it is a long way off from being ready)

	So why not rewrite linux-wlan-ng to be more suitable, the
	enterprising reader may ask?

	The kernel already has two drivers for prism2 (cs/pci/plx)
	hardware -- hostap and orinoco. linux-wlan-ng basically
	has three features not present in kernel drivers:
		1) USB support
		2) nearly complete implemettion of the 802.11 MIB/MLME
		3) Firmware-based AP support
	(3) requires an expensive license that isn't even available any
	longer, as the hostap mode works far better -- and is already
	supported by in-kernel drivers.

	(2) would need to be removed or completely rewritten in order to
	be merged, as it does not fit within existing kernel APIs, and
	it would be effectively merging new kernel APIs.

	(1) Is the only truly unique thing that linux-wlan-ng does that
	is generally needed any more.

	To merge it into the kernel, we'd need to strip out (2), which
	would necessitate a complete rewrite -- to the point where
	writing a new driver from scratch is easier.

	Basically, it would take far less effort to add USB
	support to the in-kernel drivers than it would to make
	linux-wlan-ng acceptable to be merged.

	In other words, the short answer is:  Never.

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