Move wlan-ng out of staging?
Xose Vazquez Perez
xose.vazquez at gmail.com
Fri Jan 29 16:00:16 UTC 2016
> 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 checkpatch.pl clean-up?
Its FAQ was very clear: ftp://ftp.linux-wlan.org/pub/linux-wlan-ng/FAQ
[archived at http://puppylinux.dreamhosters.com/wireless/linux-wlan-org_FAQ.txt ]
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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