pondering WiFi forwards

waddlesplash waddlesplash at gmail.com
Mon Apr 27 14:18:38 UTC 2020


On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 9:58 AM Bjoern A. Zeeb <bz at freebsd.org> wrote:

> FreeBSD has downstream consumers, Haiku, RTEMS (to my knowledge), NetBSD
> is synching from us as well [4] and I hope we can extend this
> “synching” more into collaborations and stay on the same page
> all-together also with the other BSDs in the future.

Speaking here as the current maintainer (though not the first, the work up
to about FreeBSD 9 was someone else, I was responsible for the 9 -> 11
upgrade as well as a lot of internal overhauls since then) of the Haiku
WiFi stack, which is indeed almost entirely a port of the FreeBSD one via a
KPI compatibility layer:

Part of the reason that Haiku decided to use FreeBSD ethernet and WiFi
drivers and invest the time in a FreeBSD KPI layer, as opposed to Linux's,
was partially due to licensing (Haiku is MIT, though we do use a lot of GPL
utilities in userland), but almost equally because of our attitudes towards
code quality and style. Linux driver code quality was then (i.e. about 13
or so years ago when the decision was being made, before my time), and is
now, kind of atrocious, partially because so much of it is vendors just
dumping code into the kernel and it usually "works", though often
unreliably or with poor performance...

I know you are being rather vague here about what kind of "alignment" you
are talking about. If you mean incremental changes to the net80211 stack to
get it to look more like mac80211 or something, I don't really have much of
an opinion there (Haiku uses net80211 wholesale, with of course an
ieee80211_haiku.cpp to interface with our own systems, so any changes will
get pulled in without much effort.) But if you mean moving WiFi onto
linuxkpi ... well ... we'd be sorry to see the old stack go, to say the

As for collaboration: The only driver bugfixes we have (almost entirely
made by me) were already upstreamed into FreeBSD one way or another, and I
continue to remain diligent about that. (IIRC at the point we upgraded to
FreeBSD 11 drivers, there were some broken iwn chipsets with trivial fixes
that apparently nobody had noticed on FreeBSD, so our install base may have
more variance in WiFi cards than FreeBSD, by some metric!)

We don't have the manpower to really contribute much to WiFi drivers
themselves. Financial support would be another matter; if we had a way to
specifically earmark funding for WiFi, and only WiFi (or at least, WiFi
plus less-maintained ethernet drivers), I could petition our Inc. to
donate, and the community at large, too. It wouldn't be a lot, but if you
are only part-time anyway, perhaps a modest amount could go a long way,


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