Almost a year ago the Linux WLAN developers announced the switch to a new WLAN subsystem. Today the new system finally found its way into the mm kernel tree of Andrew Morton.
In May and April 2006 it became clear that the devicescape WLAN stack will be the future base for the Linux WLAN drivers. The aim was to overcome the current situation of having several different subsystems for different drivers and to create a common, well documented subsystem. The kernel developers hope that this will improve the quality of the Linux WLAN drivers in general and that it will also make it easier to develop new drivers for that system.
In February this year a summit dedicated to Linux WLAN took place and the issues around the new stack were discussed. It was made clear that there is still some work to do and that the driver is not ready for inclusion – yet. However, it was also made clear that it is not too far away, as realistic aims kernels 2.6.23 or 2.6.24 were mentioned.
Now the new subsystem – which was renamed to “mac80211” in the meantime – matured enough to be integrated into Andrew Morton’s mm kernel tree. From there it should find its way into the official kernel tree in the near future.
When the new subsystem will get integrated we will immediatly see major improvements in WLAN in Linux: the current WLAN subsystem was only maintained were it was necessary, without any major improvements – the main work was already done inside of the new WLAN stack. The new stack will feature a reworked driver for Broadcom bcm43xx drivers as well as a Ralink rt2x00 driver. And, as already mentioned, Intel’s ipw3945 driver will be implemented without the need for a proprietary deamon.
Users of Fedora and Ubuntu maybe don’t have to wait until the new stack is officially integrated since the development trees of these distributions already have the new subsystem integrated.
Thanks heise.de for an excellent post about that topic.