Dropped Linux Kernel Drivers Occasionally See Revival - FDOMAIN Gets Second Chance

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 22 April 2019 at 10:45 AM EDT. 2 Comments
When drivers get dropped from the Linux kernel it's generally due to hardware being no one cares about anymore that hasn't been produced in many years and the code often falls into disrepair to the point that the only logical way forward is dropping the driver. That happened last year to the "FDOMAIN" driver but as does happen every so often (albeit rare) thanks to the code being still obtainable through Git and the nature of open-source, interested parties can step up and revive the code.

The FDOMAIN Linux driver is for Future Domain 16-bit SCSI host adapters found in a variety of PCI boards. The code was removed in March of 2018 as the Future Domain drivers hadn't seen any bug fixing in years and were relying upon SCSI infrastructure deprecated some fifteen years earlier. The supported PCI SCSI adapters haven't even been produced in many years albeit can still be found from some after-market shops / eBay like the Adaptec AHA-2920A card that allows up to seven SCSI peripherals over PCI.

Developer Ondrej Zary stepped up to resurrect the FDOMAIN driver and its roughly one thousand lines of code. The new FDOMAIN driver has been reworked into a "modern style" with completely rewritten initialization code, the ability now to support multiple cards, and other code improvements.

So far the feedback on the revived driver has just called on dropping the unused ISA and PCMCIA code as one blocker before seeing this driver potentially re-added to the Linux kernel.

The reworked code has been tested so far on the Adaptec AHA-2920A but there are many other 16-bit SCSI adapters supported by this chipset and theoretically by the driver.

Meanwhile the drivers offered for these two decade old SCSI host adapters from the vendors continue to be for the likes of IBM OS-2, SCO Unix, Microsoft Windows 95/NT, and DOS. We'll see if this driver makes it back into the mainline Linux kernel and for how long this hardware still has life left.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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