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USB 2.0 for Linux Coming Soon 258

itwerx writes "There's an article on MSNBC about USB 2.0 support in Linux. Interesting to see that the open source community is less than a year behind the most powerful software company in the world in supporting it. Does that make us the second most powerful now? :)"
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USB 2.0 for Linux Coming Soon

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  • Don't you find it a bit strange that MSNBC, which is at least half owned by Microsoft, is almost advocating Linux?

    Anyway, I'm glad to hear it. I look forward to replacing my USB 1.1 hard drive housing with a USB 2.0 one.
    • 1 year behind? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtnz ( 207422 )
      >Interesting to see that the open source community is
      >less than a year behind the most powerful software
      >company in the world in supporting it.

      1 Year is interesting? Seems like maybe a couple months behind would be interesting.

    • Don't you find it a bit strange that MSNBC, which is at least half owned by Microsoft, is almost advocating Linux?

      Microsoft hasn't been bashing Linux so much anymore. It sees important opportunities there. What they really don't like is GPL-like licences.
      Anyway, they've been changing their atitude towards Linux and Open Source. I just don't know if it'll get better or worse...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 28, 2002 @01:43PM (#3967933)
        > Microsoft hasn't been bashing Linux so much anymore. It sees important opportunities there...

        > Anyway, they've been changing their atitude towards Linux and Open Source.

        That's the biggest BS I've ever heard. Gates and Ballmer still run the company, and they are no more honest now than in the past.

        It was just a few months ago that evidence came about that showed how Microsoft pressured Dell into dropping support for desktop Linux: []

        If Microsoft is being quieter now, it's because they want something -- something that requires less hostility from Linux developers.

        What Microsoft wants right now is for companies and developers to accept .Net, to develop for it, and to become dependent on it. That includes building ties to Palladium.

        This is consistent with Microsoft's earlier behaviour.

        For example, once Microsoft had their polluted J++ version of Java in place, their strategy became the following:

        > "At this point its [sic] not good to create MORE noise around our win32 java classes. Instead we should just quietly grow j++ share and assume that people will take advantage of our classes without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps." []

        Microsoft tried a similar "keep quite and let everyone lock themselves in" strategy with Bristol's Wind/U (Windows APIs on Unix), which tended to lock Unix applications to Windows servers.

        So of course Microsoft would like things to quiet down right now. It's because they've already set the traps that they hope will capture Linux and the Internet.

        These traps include:

        - .Net
        - Palladium
        - Windows Media protocols over the Internet
        - Palladium support for Apache
        - MS Office lock-in on Linux (Crossover)
        - ActiveX lock-in on Linux (Crossover)
        - .Net support (lock-in) in Qt
        - ActiveX support (lock-in) in Konqueror
        - Windows Media lock-in on Linux (mplayer)
        - Hardware partnership with AMD (kept API details secret, making Linux unstable)
        - Hardware partnership with NVidia (closed source driver tied into Linux kernel)
        - Hardware lock-in through NVidia (their new graphics language compiler)
        - Attempted government-mandated IP-security-hardware lock-in

        Actually, now that I think about it, that last one is a killer. In order for Microsoft to get Congressmen and Senators on their side, it is very important to reduce the political risk, by making Microsoft seem more benign. Thus, if Microsoft can succeed in keeping the Linux supporters quiet, then more government officials will be willing to accept the payoffs, excuse me, campaign contributions that Microsoft has offered, in exchange for selling out the American people. It would be a pretty sweet deal for Microsoft to have a law that requires the use of Microsoft technology in every computing device.
        • You make a few good points but some of this sounds a bit paranoid.

          > So of course Microsoft would like things to quiet down right
          > now. It's because they've already set the traps that they hope will
          > capture Linux and the Internet.

          So far, so good.

          > These traps include:
          > - .Net

          .NET is good technology. Look, if someone else had invented it, let's say Sun
          or IBM, would people be so upset about it? It's going to make web services
          easier to implement. Let J2EE have a little competition and we'll all benefit.

          > - Palladium

          The only credible benefit of Palladium to the consumer is spam blocking.
          Digital rights management is usually consumer-hostile and tends to be defeated.
          This one has little chance of success; too big brother-ish. Keep your
          congress-peops informed of your opinions. Meanwhile, there's a couple of
          products out that already do spam blocking in a similar way
          (ChoiceMail [], Mail Washer []), and more are coming.

          > - Windows Media protocols over the Internet

          WMP is a pretty good format. Let them pour money into improving this important
          technology, and we'll all benefit. Anyway, with crossover I can now run
          Windows Media in Linux, which is one less reason to run Windows--how does that
          help Microsoft? Remember, the media player is a free download.

          > - Palladium support for Apache

          As above.

          > - MS Office lock-in on Linux (Crossover)

          As above--it's a lock-in, yes, but it's an unlocking of the operating system.
          You don't need Windows to do "real" Office. However, this is almost a red
          herring because Star/Open Office, Abi Word, etc. have gotten so good. Anyway,
          the research to improve Crossover/Wine has a great side effect; it makes more
          Win32 binaries run properly in Linux.

          > - ActiveX lock-in on Linux (Crossover)

          Hmm. For online banking it's handy but best is to scream at the bank, as a
          customer, and demand platform independent banking or you'll move your accounts
          elsewhere. Money talks. However, as above, it's a liberation of the OS.

          > - .Net support (lock-in) in Qt
          > - ActiveX support (lock-in) in Konqueror
          > - Windows Media lock-in on Linux (mplayer)

          Understand your point but this stuff is redundant.

          > - Hardware partnership with AMD (kept API details secret, making Linux unstable)
          > - Hardware partnership with NVidia (closed source driver tied into Linux kernel)
          > - Hardware lock-in through NVidia (their new graphics language compiler)

          Don't know anything about these. Tying a BIOS chipset to a particular OS
          sounds dangerous and probably unworkable anyway. If it's that specific and
          that secret, it'll certainly break something out there. Dongles failed a long
          time ago and any attempt to revive them is a waste of time.

          > - Attempted government-mandated IP-security-hardware lock-in

          Palladium, in other words.

          I'm more optimistic than you, though I agree with your concerns. Anyway my
          strategy is to keep pushing for Linux wherever I work and certainly in my home
          office. But, if someone builds a better widget well, you know it's still a market system; let the best product win.

        • - .Net support (lock-in) in Qt

          Qt has .Net support?

    • Don't you find it a bit strange that MSNBC, which is at least half owned by Microsoft, is almost advocating Linux?

      How's this for a conspiracy theory - Bill Gates, being a geek at heart, is secretly a supporter of Linux. Unfortunately, a public endorsement would de-value the stock value of Microsoft, leaving him liable to lawsuits from Microsoft's shareholders.

      Hey, stranger things have happened!
      • Gates' own operating system design was to be UNIX-based. However, he has long since stopped coding and started managing.

        You should look less at MSNBC's article as a support of open-source, or a secret desire to support Linux, then as a desire to become a serious news source.

        Microsoft has been trying for years to show that they are serious about the things they decide to pursue.

        Messengers, game consoles, ISP. All these things are places Microsoft didn't have to go and people didn't expect from a software company. Microsoft is just trying to get away from people thinking "Windows" when they think of Microsoft, and nothing else.

    • by Cryptosporidium ( 145269 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:50AM (#3967562) Homepage
      The article is from CNET. It has just been reported again by MSNBC.
    • Probably some reporter wants out of his contract :)

      Im just imagining this conversation between Stephen Shankland (the author) and his boss.

      boss, "Hi Steve, what did you want to see me about?" Steve, "Well, um, fox news offered me 2x what you're paying me, and they have neater graphics, neat DNB music between segueys, and gretta van sustren is kind of cute." boss, "Steve steve steve, do I have to remind you that you signed a 5 year contract?" Steve, "I know boss, I was hoping you'd let me go...(trails off)" boss, "fat chance!!" steve, "Fine then, we can do this the hard way!" boss, "Yea and what is that?" steve, "I'll start writing LINUX STORIES!" (just then the office goes dead silent and you hear the gasps and jaws dropping) boss, "You just try it buddy!"

      And this is the [speculative] story of how pro-linux articles appear on MSNBC. Actually, if you read the article praising linux for being only a year behind, REALLY ISN'T HIGH PRAISE. Second of all, there was a time when journalists were supposed to have *ethics*, independance, and a responsibility to the truth.... Hopefully someone at MSNBC still thinks like that.

    • I recently read an article about this on C/Net (IIRC) and it really read more like this:

      Hey, Linux will soon have USB 2.0 support and with all the vendors/devices supporting USB, it's a good thing Linux is eventually getting USB support.

      The average Joe is going to think you can't use your USB devices with Linux.

      So watch out when you read those articles because there can sometimes tell another story. The number one marketing company in the world isn't always doing in-your-face marketing. Actually, they very seldom do it that way. In that way, they are very unlike the Borg who are so arrogant and powerful they just keep coming( in the clear ) directly at their prey.

  • This will help how (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jstroebele ( 596628 )
    Reading the MSNBC story one would think this would solve all driver issues, if the device is USB 2.0. Last time I checked you still need to install some type of software to get a device to work. If the manufatures don't support linux, you might as well have a PCI card.
  • NetBSD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The FooMiester ( 466716 ) <[goimir] [at] []> on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:08AM (#3967457) Homepage Journal
    NetBSD [] has had NetBSD support in current for quite some time []. Does that make it number 2?
  • Second? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ozbird ( 127571 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:12AM (#3967466)
    Interesting to see that the open source community is less than a year behind the most powerful software company in the world in supporting it. Does that make us the second most powerful now?

    No, it makes us a year behind. That isn't necessarily bad given the limited number of USB 2.0 to support, but it does show where it rates in the Linux priorities. (As a comparison, consider that Linux supported Itanium very early on - and I've yet to see one in the wild...)
    • it does show where it rates in the Linux priorities. (As a comparison, consider that Linux supported Itanium very early on [...]

      That has nothing to do with priorities. It has to do with the fact that Intel and HP were throwing money at the problem and loaning out Itanium machines semi-permenantly to anyone who could really use one.
    • Okay maybe I'm missing somthing, but what part of usb2 doesn't linux support? I know my 24X USB2 cdr works just fine and is running close to 24x.
    • A year is an awfully long time in the computer industry. How many companies went broke or discontinued product lines because they were "only" a year behind? How many generations of processors are released in a year, 2 or 3?

      I am not dissin' Linux, merely trying to be a realist.
    • Re:Second? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Johannes ( 33283 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @12:20PM (#3967674)
      Actually, it makes us less than a year behind. Why? Because this article is incorrectly assuming that the 2.4.19 final release is the first time anyone sees any Linux USB 2.0 support.

      There has been a stable USB 2.0 patch for well over a year, it has been in the 2.5 kernel since it forked and it's been in 2.4 for a while, albeit under the "Experimental" heading or waiting for the final 2.4.19 kernel to be released.

      Like you mentioned, the biggest problem with adding support for USB 2.0 was the lack of devices. The vast majority of development was done with one USB 2.0 controller and one USB 2.0 device. Both were prerelease versions with a whole slew of bugs to workaround.

      The reason why you see Itanium support being so mature was because of the priorities of Intel, not of the community. Intel (and HP) sunk a significant amount of money into getting Linux ported to Itanium. Why? Because it's a billion times harder than USB 2.0 support and much more fundamental and thusly important to have supported as early as possible.
      • There has been a stable USB 2.0 patch for well over a year, it has been in the 2.5 kernel since it forked and it's been in 2.4 for a while, albeit under the "Experimental" heading or waiting for the final 2.4.19 kernel to be released.

        It was not in 2.5 was 2.5 was forked. 2.5.0 was exactly like 2.4.15, which did not include usb 2.0. I don't even believe it was in 2.5.7 or 2.5.8.

        USB 2.0 in the 2.4 series has yet to be in an actual release kernel, although it was added in 2.4.19-pre2, which came out back in February.
  • Next! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spleen ( 9387 )
    There is no controversy here, Pay Respect to those doing the work, *waves the jedi hand* Move Along.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What devices support USB 2.0 that linux users REALLY need at this point? Look at it this way, Apple doesn't suppost USB 2 yet (and OS X.2 doesn't look like it does either), MS is the only player in the field. I say firewire all the way.. firewire 2 is just around the corner and looks fantastic (will probably be supported pretty quickly too).

    USB is good for keyboards and mice... that's about all.
    • A USB 2.0 hard drive would be useful. I saw this one [] demoed at a tech expo recently.
    • There is USB2.0 support in Mac OS X.

      Just not from Apple, but from third parties shipping the cards.

      USB 1.1 - Mac OS 8.6, 9.x or newer
      USB 2.0 - Mac OS X or newer

      "USB 2.0 Hi-Speed support is only available on Mac OS X at this time. When running on Mac OS X systems, USB 2.0 Hi-Speed will have a data transfer rate of up to 480 Mbits/s (Hi-Speed). When running on the Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9.x USB will have data transfer rates of 12Mb/s (Full-Speed) and 1.5Mb/s (Low-Speed) peripherals."

    • USB is good for keyboards and mice... that's about all.

      USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire at 480mbps (vs. 400mbps for Firewire). Who needs 480mbps for a mouse? I put a 24X Yamaha cutter into a USB 2.0 enclosure and can burn CDs at the full 24X speed, so I'd say that it's good for external CD drives, too. It's also good for flatbed scanners, digital cameras, tape drives, printers, USB-to-Ethernet adapters, and just about any external peripheral which would benefit from a high speed, low cost, hot plug interface. That describes a lot of peripherals.

      MS is the only player in the field.

      Hardly. As this article states, Linux supports it and, as another poster pointed out, so does NetBSD.

      Another reason to support it is that it will soon be standard on every PC motherboard sold while getting Firewire ports will usually require the addition of a PCI card.

      Lastly, it uses inexpensive cables and is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 devices and cabling. If I have a USB hub on my desk, USB ports on the front of my computer, and a USB mouse, barcode scanner, and flatbed scanner, why would I want to start buying an incompatible Firewire peripherals? It already looks like there is a bald eagle nesting behind my computer, so I don't need yet another set of cables for Firewire.
  • I wouldn't say you're second until it's actually released. Wild speculation about Apple's next Powermac release says USB 2 might be there as well.
  • I had written a digital camera vendor about 3 months ago and asked about their software support for Linux.

    They basically said "USB on Linux is not there yet" but they had obviously looked at the possibility. I hope USB 2.0 will give them what they've been waiting for and in turn give consumers what we've been waiting for -- more bundled software that runs on Linux!
  • Its supported! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Weffs11 ( 323188 )
    Now all I have to do is wait for hardware that supports 2.0.
  • by nilstar ( 412094 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:34AM (#3967510) Homepage
    CNET ran this story before MSNBC. The story is Here [].
  • wtf? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I don't mean to be a troll, but USB 2.0 support was in the kernel (2.5) a WHILE ago.

    Next time you want to say what Linux will support, please do a search on lkml, if you even know what that is.
  • I just don't get USB 2.0. What does this technology provide that "Firewire" hasn't already been providing for years?
    • Firewire will stay on it's professional photo-video niche because of the extra expenses of fiber optics...

      USB uses copper, so devices built for USB 2.0 will eventually be substantially less expensive than the ones built for Firewire.
      • FireWire uses copper as well. Perhaps you are thinking of Fibre Channel?
      • Huh? Firewire is copper too! The real reason firewire didn't take over was (a) Apple and their evil patents, and (b) firewire chipsets are more complex. However, USB 2.0's EHCI standard also requires more complex chipsets, so the difference is not much smaller.
        • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Informative)

          by Catbeller ( 118204 )
          No, Apple and their evil patents didn't sink Firewire. They let the license go for a dollar a box, then soon waived the fee altogether.

          INTEL HAS THE PATENTS ON USB, and they ain't shy about making money on it. And forcing Firewire OUT, and forcing their inferior product IN.

          As for complexity, that would not be expensive if the technology could get better economies of scale.

          But since Wintel does not want Apple to prosper, and also since Intel was mightily miffed about little Apple taking it's USB thunder away when Firewire came out, they have FUDDed, lied, blocked, inhibited, you name it, any attempt at getting Firewire into the mainstream.

          Firewire is an amazing success story -- Overachiever actually makes big despite determined opposition to Voldemor it in the crib.

          Expensive complexity in chipsets is nonsense. Much more complex circuitry exists for a song -- how much is an LCD desktop screen? A video card? A CPU, jeez! A Duron 1.3 is going for $54! I picked up my Shuttle FV-24 barebone PC with Firewire on the motherboard for $190! There is no reason why Firewire is not on the mobo other than cutthroat "free" marketers making damn sure crud gets sold to nuke the hated compeitor.
    • Very simple: USB2.0 provides an interface that requires more CPU power than Firewire, and which also is not peer-to-peer, so that it requires a computer with an Intel processor. These are good because they help drive demand for Intel processors (and of course Intel was the main company behind USB).
  • by fire-eyes ( 522894 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:40AM (#3967531) Homepage
    Coming? I'm using it right now, it's an experimental option in 2.4.18 (maybe earlier too).

    • by g4dget ( 579145 )
      I've been using it with 2.4.18, and it's been working just fine (I have a USB 2.0 disk). The interface cards are cheap and the throughput is great. And it seems to be a simple extension of USB 1.0, so drivers like USB storage just seem to work. (Firewire, of course, works as well.)
    • Long Device Rant. (Score:4, Informative)

      by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @01:26PM (#3967882) Homepage Journal
      I hate USB. Born in 1993, USB I was about as fast and universal as the parallel port. While I can see my devices on USB I, I have no idea how to talk to them. I have all the respect in the world for people who heroically struggle to build interfaces to talk to old scanners, cameras and what not, in the face of OEM indifference and hostility. I'm afraid that USB II and the far superior IEEE 1394 [] (400 mbps currenet 800 mbps planned, can have multiple pc hosts, backported to 2.2 kernels already). might suffer the same fate. Someone tell me it's not so.

      So nice of M$ to draw attention to the mechanism that it keeps splintered. The article phrases the situation as a model for Linux device compatiblity as if there were no other options and Linux development will alsways be broken and lagging. This is true, if you are talking about chasing M$'s broken tail. CSS has demonstrated that any device can be made impossible to talk to, regardless of technical skill.

      My experience with M$ USB has been less than advertised. Windows 2000 has managed to make USB I not hot pluggable, and it manages to screw up one of my camera's flash card formating everytime I plug it in at work! At home, I tried to print out five plain text pages to a USB printer from win98. I got four pages, five error messages for lack of communications and one last message about "unknown system errors" requiring a reboot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't. That's what happens when you screw around with "standards" too much.

      On the other hand, pcmcia with a compact flash adaptor has worked very well. Compact flash registers itself as a new hard drive, /dev/hde in most cases, and this shows up in /var/log/messages when you plug it in. So long as your camera stores pictures unscrambled, you can get them without any silly interface software or device driver. Mount and coppy. Cannon S110 works great, Sipix has broken pictures. Yeah, pcmcia only goes 64 mbps, sigh. Too bad someone out there wants to make sure that:
      1. You must use a propriatory driver to talk to your devices. This will enable DRM of the pictures you take - eventually you will have to pay per play to view or print your own pictures. That's progress!
      2. That driver will not work forever and you will have to replace your device. Bitrot! more progress. My place of work is filled with old devices that stoped working due to "software upgrades". The vendors recomend, shocker, that we replace the devices.

      M$ will never support a "universal" device.

      • It sounds like you don't hate USB so much as you hate USB on Windows.

        I use OS X. I a digital camera (a Nikon), and I upload the pictures to my Mac with a USB cable and iPhoto. No drivers required.

        I have a USB scanner and a USB printer, and with both of them the story is the same: just plug them in.

        There's nothing fundamentally wrong with USB. It sounds, from what you said, that you've ust had really bad experiences because you chose the wrong OS.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by virtual_mps ( 62997 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @11:46AM (#3967549)
    I've been using USB2 on linux for a while now. Since the kernel has source available, it's possible to apply patches to add features without waiting on a vendor. It would be more accurate to say something like "mainstream usb2 support" or "usb2 in released 2.4 kernel".

    FWIW, I've found USB2 to be not as fast as firewire for things like hard drives, a conclusion that windows benchmarks have also shown. So it's not like the delay in releasing 2.4.19 is really hurting anything, especially since there aren't many usb2 devices or ports around anyway.
  • Proud? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by binarybum ( 468664 )

    Being a year behind in this industry is not something to be proud of. Rather this is something to hang our heads about. MSNBC must have loved posting this article. They're notorious for innovation delays, yet they still kicked our butts by 12 months. If the Linux/OSS community hopes to be competitive in the desktop environment it needs to stop being satisfied with second best. Granted these accomplishments are noble in light of the skimpy development finances being poured into OSS, but funds are growing.
    Success will come when we start forming hardware protocal standards based on technology that we've accelerated beyond the point where M$ can have much of a say in the standards. People will run linux on their desktops when it can do really innovative cool stuff that other closed-source companies have only started circulating memos about developing.
    Linux can no longer live of the legacy of its stability. Say what you will, but the NT5 kernel is suprisingly stable and new versions will likely continue to improve now that M$ home users have been exposed to stable kernels. Linux still has an upperhand is security, but M$ is spending a lot of $ and time into matching us there too. Our frontier needs to be usability, flexibility (open source media formats not restricted by heavy licensing), and innovative feature implamentation. This combined with the corner stone of extremely low cost will drive linux/oss above and beyond.
    • wtf dude, go to best buy and ask to buy a USB2.0 device.

      Oh whats that, they don't exist?

      yeah, exactly

      Not to mention "earlier this year" (as in feburary) is NOT 1 year ago. All you trolls can go the away, thank you.

      • I've had an external Firewire/USB2.0 chassis for my hard drive for about 6 months now. It uses an Oxford 911 chipset. EVERYONE needs to check their facts before spouting off =)
    • Re:Proud? (Score:3, Informative)

      by iabervon ( 1971 )
      Linux developers have, in general, had better things to do, aside from the group of people working on it. Until there are devices that use it and machines that support it, there's no reason to have OS support. MicroSoft shipped support a while ago because they're pushing its adoption. Linux developers just want all the devices people have to work; they're generally not pushing particular hardware. Keeping on top of all of the standards which may or may not catch on is generally a waste of time which could be better spent working on any of the other things you mentioned.
  • If USB (the interface that hardware presents to core driver software) had been designed well in the first place, then speed would not matter, except for content of data elements that describe speeds (e.g. a value that says this is running at 12mbps or this is running at 480mbps, or the argument to a command that says force this to run at such and such a speed). Maybe they needed to add speed information and speed control, but that wouldn't be a whole change that needs a whole new software architecture (that's something that could have been added in an overnight coding session). What you'd get is data being transferred 40 times faster with 480 mbps.

    Without looking at the specs to see, it's rather obvious that the hardware people just redesigned the interface all over again. Can't someone teach those people some things about reusability and refactoring? And USB isn't the only place this happens. Of course you do need to occaisionally add something to an interface, so a tweaked driver will be needed to fully take advantage of new hardware ideas. But a whole redesign isn't called for ... unless the old design was a POS. But was it the hardware or the software that was a POS? Looks to me like it was the hardware. We'll see when the next speed step occurs. Surely, the Firewire people won't stay 80Mbps down for long. They'll probably aim for somewhere in the 800 to 1600 range next, I bet (if not already). Will the next generation be compatible while still running at the higher speed?

    • by Johannes ( 33283 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @12:08PM (#3967626)
      From a high level software perspective, there wasn't that much to do.

      The biggest amount of work was developing the driver for the new EHCI host controller. A new host controller was necessary for the USB wire interface changes to support the faster speeds.

      The reason why development took a while for the EHCI controller was because of the lack of USB 2.0 devices. It's hard to test a driver when you have no hardware to test it against.

      That being said, the article is VERY misleading. Linux has had USB 2.0 support for well over a year now and before 2.5 was forked. It's just that it was backported for 2.4 now. Even that's misleading since it's been in the 2.4.19pre tree since it was forked months ago.
    • Without looking at the specs to see, it's rather obvious that the hardware people just redesigned the interface all over again.
      Well, here are the specs so you don't have to make stuff up:
      USB 2.0 []
      USB 1.0 []
      The real difference is here:
      OHCI (USB 1.0 host controller, this is the better one) []
      UHCI (USB 1.0 host controller, the sucky one) []
      EHCI (USB 2.0 host controller spec, has more smarts like OHCI) []
      • So a whole new set of commands, just to be able to go faster?

        • Not just that. A lot of people complained that UHCI was (a) too hard to write drivers for cuz it was so low level and (b) a voracious devourer of CPU power (I'm streching ;) because it required the CPU to do work better left to the host controller. EHCI is just fixing up stuff that had to be fixed up. Its not all that different from previous standards. Besides, USB 2.0 is a complete specification and needs to talk about things (like signaling, cables, etc) that are *very* different when jumping from 12mbps to 480mbps.
          • So then maybe they made it too low level to begin with. It should have been a basic message passing in the buffer kind of thing. I have not looked at the spec and I think I don't even want to in order to avoid polluting my mind. But the best approach would have been a higher level message/packet kind of thing with a few parameters to give status, identify device, device specific parameters/status, and a chunk/window of data. Things like timing and signals should be handled by the controller.

            Part of the trouble is that because vendors can supply Windows drivers, they feel free to change hardware interfaces, and so, this becomes a major problem. There need to be standards in this realm, as well as other places like system calls, libraries, and protocols.

  • Last I checked, IEEE 1394 (Firewire) completely kills USB. USB 2.0 only just catches up in speed, and the next version of the IEEE 1394 standard is on the way...and who had the first support for Firewire? Apple. I guess that makes MS number 2 and relegates linux to number 3 of this little artbitrary ranking system.
    • Apple was also the first to support USB 2.0. Go figure..
      • Apple doesn't support USB 2.0 - as many other people have pointed out, Orange Micro ( offers PCI cards and drivers for OSX.

        Having said that, one has to commend Apple for the architecture inside OSX. A third company wouldn't have been able to create drivers that quickly if OSX never had good plumming. I guess since it started getting designed around 98, they could see USB / Firewire becoming the standard for external IO and designed the OS to allow for easy integration of such devices. I once read the docs about the OSX driver architecture and was impressed - many well thought out layers of abstraction - but that was a long time ago.
  • I read on some site that USB2.0 could be used to produce virtual NICs. Anybody know someone working on this? It sounds like an interesting way to network a set of boards together with direct connections to each board without using up all the PCI slots. Do you go through a hub of some sort?
    It sure sounds interesting to have something like that especially if this fabled memory pooling version of Mosix ever shows up.
    • Would a LAN connected by USB2 be less expensive than gigabit ethernet (using a switch with all gigE ports)? Seeing as gigE switches are still relatively expensive, going USB2 might be a way to cut costs. However, my guess is that gigE latency would still be lower.
  • You can read linux-usb news and reach linux-usb team at []

  • Leave it to MSNBC and CNET to print totally uneducated articles about something they have no basis for.
    People have been using USB 2.0 with usb-storage devices from Linux hosts since June 2001, but it was only in early winter of that year (a short while before Linus created the 2.5 development branch) that other USB 2.0 devices (notably, hubs) began to be available. So while some changes for USB 2.0 were rolling into 2.4 kernels through the year 2001, most of the tricky stuff (the ehci-hcd driver) was separate until the 2.5 kernel branched. Recently, some Linux distributions have begun to include this support.
  • Nope. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Sunday July 28, 2002 @03:45PM (#3968340)
    "Does that make us the second most powerful now? :)"

    No, it just validates Microsoft's FUD that Linux is a bad choice for a desktop OS because of poor hardware support.
  • True story, happend today - a friend of mind got a USB connected digital camera. He took some pictures and needed to send them pronto to be included in some newspapaer story (long story...).

    He plugs it in, XP crashes. Every time the camera goes in XP goes out the Windows...

    Friend remembers me saying that I think Linux can handles this easily and gives me a phone call. I'm away from my desk so friend decides to try on his own: He boots Linux, camera gets detected automatically, friend grabs photos easily and send newspaper.

    When I called him there was nothing for me to do but say: "So, Linux saved the day once again :-)"

  • Being first is not always being best.

    Actually, in software, the first version usually has the most bugs.

    Rush, Rush, and Rush. Debug later sell first.
  • Has anyone pointed out that releasing a year behind is like a million in computer years?

  • This is a pet peeve of mine, but megabit and megabyte are not synonims. They differ by a factor of eight. Does the journalist really mean mbps means megabits per second? Am I being too picky? A byte as wordsize is obsolete these days anyway.

    My favorite quote of the article is "SuSE is thinking of providing software that lets customers upgrade to the 2.4.19 kernel..." Last time I installed SuSE, gcc and ftp were part of the standard installation.
  • My biggest pet peeve about USB in ANY platform is that instead of doing what they did with the mice/keyboards/audio/parallel drivers and make a standardised spec. for a serial class, they waited too long so the manufacturers had to come out with thier OWN methods to communicate with their serial devices. This made it a nightmare to try and get a serial converter recongnised in linux.

    For windows, the manufacturers made some of the drivers avail for their serial converters. [but now even some of the early ones are no longer supported in XP like the enterga/xircom/intel ones and the intel based mct ones]

    The problem with USB is the need for a separate driver for MANY of the common devices.

    Getting everyone together to come out with UNIVERAL device specs that the manufacturers follow and an easy way to update the device IDs for the OS would greatly advance the use of USB on Linux.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva