Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 283/2024

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the little links that bring us closer within the Linux kernel community.

How to Handle Vendor Code

Hardware vendors sometimes provide Linux kernel drivers for their products. Some vendors are responsive to feedback and patches and do their best to be good open source citizens. Others can become the victims of corporate politics and lose either the interest or ability to support that community.

Hector Martin posted a patch to simplify some WiFi security handling code. The vendor-supplied code for Cypress/Infineon WiFi chips, he said, seemed to be broken. Bypassing their code would create a path for community developers to add support for these chipsets.

This was not an uncontroversial patch. Neal Gompa approved of it right away, and Kalle Valo asked the official maintainer of the code, Arend Van Spriel of Broadcom, for his opinion. Arend replied, "I would prefer to keep the Cypress sae_password path [...] although it reportedly does not work." He suggested that people with Cypress chipsets should test Hector's patch with their hardware. If it actually provided support for their chips, then he would consider dropping the broken Cypress/Infineon code.


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