It's 2021 And The Linux Kernel's Floppy Driver Is Still Seeing The Occasional Patch
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 5 February 2021 at 12:06 AM EST. 51 Comments
HARDWARE --
The Linux kernel's floppy driver dates back to the original days of the kernel back in 1991 and is still being maintained thirty years later with the occasional fix.

Somewhat surprisingly, a patch was sent in to the Linux kernel's block subsystem ahead of the Linux 5.12 merge window around the floppy code.

The patch is an O_NDELAY fix for the floppy driver to address a spew of messages in the kernel log from the floppy driver. Additionally, the driver fails a mount prior to being opened without O_NONBLOCK at least once. Those floppy driver issues are fixed with this new patch by longtime kernel developer Jiri Kosina of SUSE.

Jiri originally fixed the problem back in 2016 but was botched at the time and then reverted the same year over problems. It's taken nearly five years, but Jiri has now addressed the original issue with this new patch.

But long story short, the Linux floppy driver does in fact still see the occasional patch now into 2021. There still are patches from time to time for the floppy code as can be seen from a quick Git search with a cleanup of floppy code last year spanning many commits, among other random work over the years. That work to the floppy code last year was covered here with that significant clean-up.

We'll see how much longer the Linux floppy driver sticks around as it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine a relevant scenario where not only traditional floppy disks are used (outside of industrial equipment) but in the context of running a modern Linux kernel version as well. Thankfully the code burden of keeping it around is minimal.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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