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USB 3.0 and Linux

Dec 15, 2008, 17:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sarah Sharp)

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"For Linux to have basic USB 3.0 support, two things need to be added. First, we need to add support to the Linux USB stack to handle the new device speed and other changes mandated by the USB 3.0 bus specification. Second, we need to have a driver for the xHCI host controller. A host controller is the hardware that sits behind your USB port and talks to the USB devices you plug in.

"Now that the bus specification is public, I can start pushing the patches for the USB core changes. They will need to be reviewed and possibly changed before they make it into the mainline kernel. Once the changes make it into the mainline kernel, they'll be picked up by Linux Operating System Vendors like RedHat, Novell, and Ubuntu.

"The xHCI host controller driver is a little trickier. The xHCI specification is not public yet. It's currently available under NDA with Intel as a 0.9 draft specification. Since it's not a public specification, I'm forbidden to ship code that would reveal what's in the specification. That means the xHCI driver can't be sent out for review by the whole Linux community until the xHCI specification is public. The driver is much bigger than the USB core code changes, so I know it will go through several review iterations before it gets accepted into the mainline kernel."

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