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SubjectRe: wireless: recap of current issues (stack)
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On Friday 13 January 2006 15:32, John W. Linville wrote:
> Do we need to have both wireless-stable and wireless-devel kernels?
> What about the suggestion of having both stacks in the kernel at once?
> I'm not very excited about two in-kernel stacks. Still, consolidating
> wireless drivers down to two stacks is probably better than what we
> have now...? Either way, we would have to have general understanding
> that at some point (not too far away), one of the stacks would have
> to disappear.

Having not had experience coding for the stacks, I'm not inclined to form an
opinion on which is better. I think on a realistic footing, a stack switch
should only occur if it doesn't come at great expense (unless that great
expense is less than the expense of making the existing stack capable enough
to handle all the devices we want to support).

But I have to NAK the idea of two stacks. There are implications in the 'here
and now', so to speak, but what worries me the most is long term. You know
how it's no fun fixing bugs when you could be adding new features? Let's say
that on May 2006, you drop the hammer and decide that Stack B is the winner.
You've now got to convince / motivate the Stack A users to stop what they're
doing and work hard to migrate to Stack B. There might be stragglers, so
let's say you set a "drop dead date". Now what happens if we reach that date
and some drivers still aren't ready. "Tough," you say, "you've had ample
notice and time to port." Now we've got a flamewar on our hands, because no
one wants to release a new kernel that drops support for things people are
using.

By contrast, if we got softmac in, ieee80211 may still be lacking in some
areas, but if we do the hard work to port a few drivers and get them in-tree
and working well, you start to have happy users. Motivation will build for
others to port and get into the tree (partly because no one wants to be the
odd man out, and their users will probably be frustrated by it too), and part
of the motivation should extend naturally onto improving in-kernel ieee80211
enough to support whatever odd-ball implementations they're dealing with. So
I think you end up with a nice snowball effect.

As an aside to this whole thing, I know we're talking about *kernel* wireless
but it's worthless to most people without good userland support as well.
Anyone have any thoughts and feelings on what things look like on the
desktop? I think if we work closely with some desktop people, we can shepard
in some wonderful new desktop support on top of the new netlink API.

Cheers,
Chase Venters
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