FCP-0101: Deprecating most 10/100 Ethernet drivers

Julian H. Stacey jhs at berklix.com
Fri Oct 5 20:57:15 UTC 2018

Thanks for the reply warner,

Warner Losh wrote:
> 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.

That's a partial relief.

> 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.

I can look more later, but for a quick partial reply:
I keep an incomplete ad hoc occasionaly/rarely updated list of logs,
useful for odd questions such as this, so I can run quick checks

cd ~/tech/log/dmesg ;    grep ed0: * */* | grep port # ... vi
	dual film flip lapn loft slim wind
cd ~/tech/log/ifconfig ; grep ed0: * */*
	dual film flip lapl loft park rain snow wall wind

cd ~/tech/log/dmesg ;    grep xe0: * */*
	lapd lapo
cd ~/tech/log/ifconfig ; grep xe0: * */*

cd ~/tech/log/dmesg ;    grep ex0: * */*
cd ~/tech/log/ifconfig ; grep ex0: * */*

Hosts above are custom PCs no model numbers, but these are standard laptops:
 xe: lapd: Digital HiNote Ultra2000	http://www.berklix.com/~jhs/hardware/digital/
 ed: lapl: Toshiba Libretto 70CT 	http://www.berklix.com/~jhs/hardware/toshiba/libretto/
 ed: lapn: Dell Latitude XPi P133ST	http://berklix.com/~jhs/hardware/laptops/dell_latitude_xpi_p133st
 xe: lapo: Novatech (MiTAC) 8355	http://www.berklix.com/~jhs/hardware/laptops/novatech-8355/

( PS ed0 is also used by Hewlett Packard Network ScanJet 5 a multi sheet
feeder with FreeBSD built inside, however that's stuck on a seriously
old release, still a great device though - http://berklix.com/scanjet/ )

PS My master kernel config from pre 4.11 to current:

So quick summary:
	ex: I dont seem to use
	ed: I use on many of my hosts, not just those above, & I have some spare 
	    to stick in to any PCI or ISA box I work on if needed.
	ed & xe I also have on pcmcia & cardbus, so they move around between laptops.

> 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.

Didn't know drivers could be farmed out to ports/, sounds like a
recipe for breakage sooner or later.

> > 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.
> Warner

Yes, needs careful balance.

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.

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