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The Sad Story of the em28xx Driver

Nov 24, 2008, 16:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"A quick review of some of the history is in order here. Markus was one of the authors of the original em28xx driver, first merged for the 2.6.15 kernel. His efforts to enhance that driver quickly ran into trouble, though, when he tried to make substantial changes to the low-level tuner interface - changes which affected a number of other drivers. These changes were not popular in the Video4Linux community, and there were fears that they could break unrelated drivers. So this code was not merged.

"In response to this rejection, Markus claimed ownership of the em28xx driver and asked that it be removed from the mainline kernel. He then continued development of the code, hosting it on his own server. There was even a period where the code was relicensed to the MPL, apparently as part of an attempt to prevent it from being taken into the mainline. Eventually, Markus came back with a new approach which moved much of the tuner code into user space. That solution, too, failed to pass review; nobody else could really see much advantage in moving that much driver code out of the kernel. The fact that Markus clearly intended to have some of that code appear in the form of binary-only blobs did not help his case. So the user-space approach, like its predecessor, was not merged."

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