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FreeBSD Is Looking To Drop Many Of Its 10/100 Ethernet Drivers

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  • FreeBSD Is Looking To Drop Many Of Its 10/100 Ethernet Drivers

    Phoronix: FreeBSD Is Looking To Drop Many Of Its 10/100 Ethernet Drivers

    FreeBSD is looking to deprecate "most" of their 10/100 Ethernet drivers in FreeBSD 12 so that they can be dropped entirely in FreeBSD 13, but not everyone wants to see these older networking drivers dismissed...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...0-100-Ethernet

  • #2
    I would say ditching 100Mbps would be a mistake. In particular, a lot of USB ethernet devices are still based on 100Mbps. Those are pretty handy as a backup/failsafe, or for systems that may not have ethernet.

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    • #3
      Typos:

      Originally posted by phoronix View Post
      due to the maintenance burden invovled and
      Originally posted by phoronix View Post
      smc, sn,ste, tl,
      (missing space)

      The driver names are cryptic...

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      • #4
        Nice to see that Sun's good old "hme" continues to be supported. Nice, but weird. Then again, I suppose it's a pretty common card for older SPARC64 machines.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tildearrow View Post
          The driver names are cryptic...
          there's a man page for every single one of them, e.g. https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=sk&sektion=4

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          • #6
            What a dumb move, what do they gain by this? Kernels should be as complete as they can for the longest they can, their job is to provide you drivers (among other things).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tildearrow View Post
              Typos:

              (missing space)

              The driver names are cryptic...
              Well that's FreeBSD for you ... cryptic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by thunderbird32 View Post
                Nice to see that Sun's good old "hme" continues to be supported. Nice, but weird. Then again, I suppose it's a pretty common card for older SPARC64 machines.
                It's just because hme (happymeal) has a good ring to it. Appeals the inner child.

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                • #9
                  Maybe they are simply rationalising ? Didn't they lose some personnel after some political move a few months ago ? With contributors quitting and sometimes moving to other *BSD like dragonflyBSD ? I may be wrong since i am not up to speed on the *BSD drama.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hax0r View Post
                    What a dumb move, what do they gain by this? Kernels should be as complete as they can for the longest they can, their job is to provide you drivers (among other things).
                    What they gain is "less drag" on the author of the various drivers. The author of the initial email in the FreeBSD mailing list freely admits that each driver add more "drag" to their work. To me that is a "DOH!" statement written by "Captain Obvious".

                    According to the initial entry in the mailing list, the entry that you are dropped on when you follow the link the the article, when major changes appear elsewhere in FreeBSD it impacted the network drivers.

                    And then there is this snark from the initial mailing list entry:

                    "10 and 100 megabit Ethernet drivers are largely irrelevant today and we have a significant number of them in the tree."
                    That got me thinking that perhaps FreeBSD will one day be considered the same, "largely irrelevant".


                    There there is this comment from the initial mailing list entry:

                    "For at least a decade, most systems (including small embedded systems) have shipped with
                    gigabit Ethernet devices and virtual machines commonly emulate popular gigabit devices."
                    While that observation may be accurate, how many of those embedded devices can utilize the full Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth? Go ahead, do the research, I'll wait.

                    A lot of embedded devices do not make full use of Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Even USB-attached (USB3) Gigabit Ethernet devices get less than 500 megabits per second of speed in the real world, not those almost impossible and unrealistic lab tests that are used to advertise fantastic speeds.

                    I don't know enough about FreeBSD to comment with any accuracy as to it's internal issues, but everything I read suggests the following:
                    • FreeBSD internals are not sufficiently modular or contain adequate intermediate layers to permit major code changes without causing major breakage/rewrites elsewhere across the codebase.
                    • FreeBSD has an openly admitted (in that initial email in the mailing list) migration path (port to 'iflib') that they chose not to follow because it's too much work to port every 10/100 driver in the FreeBSD library. It almost sounds like that porting effort is an "either/or" proposition; we either have to do them all or we can't do any of them at all. So what is the real reason behind this attitude/approach? Bad initial coding? Bad initial design? Who is responsible for this current mess? Name names!
                    • The author/maintainer of the driver is getting bored doing their work and/or simply does not see the value in these drivers that other see.
                    • FreeBSD might have a maintainer staff issue, like not enough of them that want/need to do the proper and required work to maintain their portion of the overall product.
                    FreeBSD claims they are eliminating no longer used or non-working drivers. I agree with eliminating "non-working" drivers, but only after an investigation as to what efforts were made to correct those issues. Did the maintainer simply give up? Did vendor support disappear? What's the reason Kenneth?

                    Then there is the question of "no longer used " drivers. How was that conclusion arrived at? What data does FreeBSD have to back up it's claims? Perhaps those drivers simply work, have bugs that rarely impact anyone, and users simply use them without complaining about them. If that's the case then why not simply freeze the development of that driver and keep it in the library?

                    While I have used FreeBSD in the past to a limited extent I never dug into it's details. I kept finding more and more information about Linux compared to FreeBSD, and that was back in the days when you could find books in a bookstore when online resources were incredibly immature (compared to now). Now I strictly use Linux as my *nix of choice.

                    If FreeBSD maintainers were to move forward with this divestiture of 10/100 drivers, then I wish a pox on their houses and their decendants for all eternity to come.


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