USB 3.0 and Linux

USB is getting a facelift!

In the beginning, there was USB 1.1, with the “low speed” and “full speed” devices (at 1 Mbps and 12 Mbps, respectively). Then USB 2.0 came along with “high speed” devices that ran at 480 Mbps. Now the new USB 3.0 bus specification defines “SuperSpeed” devices that run at 5 Gbps (5,120 Mbps).

SuperSpeed Logo - image copyright 2008 Sarah Sharp
Now that the bus specification is public, I can finally talk about the code I’ve been developing at work. I’ve been writing a Linux driver for xHCI (the new USB 3.0 host controller), and changing the Linux kernel stack to support USB 3.0 devices. On November 17th, I got to demo my work at the world’s first USB 3.0 “SuperSpeed” Developers Conference.

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Student Day at Linux Plumbers Conference

For the past couple of months, I’ve been helping organize a student mini-conference for LPC, which will take place on September 16th. So far we only have 9 people registered for student day. We would like at least 15 students to make the student mini-conference a full-day event, and this week is the deadline for conference organizers to decide whether they need to scale back.

If you’re a student, and you’re even remotely interested in open source development, I suggest you take a look at the Linux Plumbers Conference Student Day page and register for the event.

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Dispelling a Linux Myth

Over the past week, I’ve run into two different people who expressed the same thought, “Linux lacks support for a lot of devices.” I told them that this was a myth, and the Linux Driver Project has proven it is a myth.

Today I had an idea for a way to dispel this myth. I think someone should post a video of them walking into Circuit City, buying a random device, and walking out to their car. The video shows them configuring it on a Linux box and testing it. Then they would return the device and buy a new device. Buy, configure, return; repeat as necessary. The devices and configuration notes could be posted on the Linux Drivers Project wiki.

Now to find a decent videographer, buy a GSM data phone plan (for downloading packages and drivers in the car), and find some funding for devices that are non-returnable. In my copious spare time, of course.

Dinner by the fire

Last night we had “going away” dinner at Arabian Breeze because my friend Deepak is leaving Montavista Linux. Deepak isn’t actually moving away from Portland. He’ll be working from home and occasionally flying to Boston to meet with his coworkers at the “One Laptop Per Child” (OLPC) company. It sounds like OLPC still wants to work on the Sugar UI and Linux infrastructure, despite Nicholas Negroponte’s recent remarks about developing Sugar for Windows.

The dinner was good, but it got off to a harrowing start. When I arrived at the restaurant, I discovered that there was a giant warehouse fire across the street. The police had the entire block (including the restaurant) roped off with caution tape. They did let us through, once we explained where we wanted to go. I guess they just didn’t want a crowd of gawkers hanging near the fire.

Still, it was a little dumb of us to continue eating at the restaurant, considering there was a gas station next door.