FCP-0101: Deprecating most 10/100 Ethernet drivers

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Thu Oct 4 17:38:59 UTC 2018

On Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 11:26 AM Ian Lepore <ian at freebsd.org> wrote:

> On Thu, 2018-10-04 at 10:21 -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 10:15 AM Michelle Sullivan <michelle at sorbs.net>
> > wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > tech-lists wrote:
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > I'm astonished you're considering removing rl given how common it is.
> > > >
> > > I'll second that comment - though no disrespect to Brooks.  Brooks as
> > > far as I can see is just the messenger.
> > >
> > Absent good data, one has to make one's best guesses. I guessed wrong
> here
> > in my comments to Brooks about which ones were must keeps. I knew it was
> > popular back in the day (~2000), but had thought it's popularity had
> waned
> > much more than it apparently has. I last deployed systems with rl in them
> > around 2007, and at the time it was trailing edge gear (the SBCs we used
> at
> > Timing Solutions tended to use popular, but ~5-year-old technology
> because
> > that market segment wanted longevity of spare availability...).
> >
> > Warner
> 11 years later, we (Timing Solutions, now a division of Microchip) are
> still using SBCs with rl(4) hardware and still shipping software
> updates with that driver built into the kernel. We build systems with a
> lifespan in the field of 20 years or more, and the stability and
> compatibility across OS upgrades over that kind of span is a BIG reason
> to use freebsd rather than linux for such things.

OK. I'd have thought those SBCs would have gone out of production years
ago.... It's a good datapoint to know that there's multiple users of
FreeBSD using these parts in products that are still shipping. That's a
clear and compelling benefit to the project that offsets the efforts that
it's taken them to keep things current with rl.

In this case, though, rl is off the list, so that hardware should still be
good. The only other SBC I was aware of at Timing Solutions was one that
had an 'ed' chip on it (an ISA realtek part IIRC) that was used in around
2001, but in a 'one off' custom setup that I don't think will ever be
upgraded.... But I have to ask since I know how things worked during my
time there and systems that 'would never be upgraded' often times were

I'd also suggest that rl stands in stark contrast to the cs, wb, sn, smc,
sf, tl, tx and vr drivers, which nobody has mentioned in this thread, and
which I doubt are in use in any FreeBSD system of any age today.


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