FCP-0101: Deprecating most 10/100 Ethernet drivers

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Fri Oct 5 15:13:35 UTC 2018

On Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 8:46 AM Julian H. Stacey <jhs at berklix.com> wrote:

> > >>> Please direct replies to freebsd-arch <<<
> >
> > FCP-01010 (https://github.com/freebsd/fcp/blob/master/fcp-0101.md)
> > outlines a plan to deprecate most 10/100 Ethernet drivers in FreeBSD 12
> > and remove them in FreeBSD 13 to reduce the burden of maintaining and
> > improving the network stack.  We have discussed this within the
> > core team and intend to move forward as proposed.  We are solictiting
> > feedback on the list of drivers to be excepted from removal.
> >
> > The current list of drivers slated for REMOVAL is:
> >
> > ae, bfe, bm, cs, dme, ed, ep, ex, fe, pcn, rl, sf, smc, sn,
> > ste, tl, tx, txp, vx, wb, xe
> I have many hosts using ed & rl, several using ep, & at least one
> using xe or ex.  That's just from memory, maybe other drivers in peril.

Later in the thread rl was removed from the list.

What systems are you running ed, ex and/or xe on? So far I've heard no
reports of people using the latter two in about a decade.

Unless the functionality of drivers is sub-sumed in to other drivers,
> stripping all those drivers would motivate some to never upgrade
> again, or dump FreeBSD for a more conservative BSD, or fork FreeBSD etc.

You could also create a port/pkg for them and assume the burden of
maintenance yourself.

> Stripping dead code helps developers play easier, but stripping
> live code is offensive.  Some who periodicaly propose code demolitions
> forget that many users of FreeBSD don't subscribe lists, except
> maybe announce, as too busy, maintaining FreeBSD on networks ...
> until their nets don't work.

I think in this case there will be plenty of warning. They will upgrade to
12, one assumes, and see the deprecation message in their new kernel logs.
There's going to be about a 6 month window between when this is announced
and when it happens to collect evidence that removal is unwarranted, to
show they are still in use by enough people to justify their on-going (yes
non-zero) cost to keep in the tree. There's over 2 years before they will
be removed from a released version: also plenty of time to build a case
that they are in use and/or upgrade to different, supported NICs. If you
look at the rest of the thread, you'll see several people have made
compelling cases and/or provided evidence of continued use into the future
to keep the drivers in the tree. Evidence will save them, but harsh words
will not.

I think expecting people to blindly maintain code on the off chance someone
is still using is offensive as well. We must weigh the costs of continuing
with the benefits those cost provide. We don't have good sources of data
for what's still in use and what's not, so we have to rely on these
periodic calls for data to ensure we aren't wasting our time on hardware
that's no longer used.


> Cheers,
> Julian
> --
> Julian Stacey, Computer Consultant, Systems Engineer, BSD Linux Unix,
> Munich
>  Brexit: 3,700,000 stolen votes in 1st referendum inc. 700,000 from Brits
> in EU
>  Campaign lies & criminal funding, economy & pound down: New referendum
> needed.
>                         http://exitbrexit.uk
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