A Linux Driver Project status report

by chromatic

Just over a year ago, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the Linux Driver Project, which combined education and mentoring with the promise to write Linux drivers for any hardware manufacturer willing to work with the project.

Greg has just released the Linux Driver Project Status Report as of April 2008. LWN has comments at A Linux Driver Project status report.

Greg's comments are particularly interesting:

The Linux Driver Project (LDP) is alive and well, with over 300 developers wanting to participate, many drivers already written and accepted into the Linux kernel tree, and many more being currently developed. The main problem is a lack of projects. It turns out that there really isn't much hardware that Linux doesn't already support. Almost all new hardware produced is coming with a Linux driver already written by the company, or by the community with help from the company.


After much cajoling and harassment on my part, I'm happy to say that the Linux Foundation's Vendor Advisory board's top 10 list of things that need to be worked on with Linux doesn't mention drivers at all.

So let's put this myth to rest once and for all please.

Of course, the quality of support of certain devices is still an issue -- in particular certain wireless cards and, as always, 3D devices.


2008-04-10 13:32:52
here's the issue: the purpose of the LDP was/is a little misleading.

the LDP was only created to write drivers for vendors who wanted their hardware in-tree.

no documentation or cooperation from the vendor? no driver.

requires reverse engineering? no driver.

driver already written, but out-of-tree (which is a recognized problem by the linux kernel developers)? no help.

backporting and/or packaging driver to current distro releases (for immediate use by mere mortals)? no help.

so the scope of LDP was very limited, but with a name like "linux driver project" and for the purpose of solving the "Linux driver problem", people read more into it (rightly or wrongly).

so the "linux driver problem" of undocumented hardware (nvidia, broadcom, ti), bleeding-edge unpackaged drivers (ati), and out-of-tree drivers (usb webcams) still exist.

and people can argue that video hardware is not a linux "kernel" problem as the driver runs outside of the kernel, but until you rename it the "linux kernel driver project" (just like the "linux kernel mailing list (lkml)"), don't be surprised by the confusion. and if a driver author hasn't tried to get their driver in-tree, then why not ask the author and work towards resolving their out-of-tree reasons.

Phil R.
2008-04-17 07:52:12
I need some drivers for my laptop wifi card which doesn't work in 64 bit Ubuntu. Can you write a new code so i can get my Atheros working?