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Linux

Linux 3.17 Kernel Released With Xbox One Controller Support 114

An anonymous reader writes The Linux 3.17 kernel was officially released today. Linux 3.17 presents a number of new features that include working open-source AMD Hawaii GPU support, an Xbox One controller driver, free-fall support for Toshiba laptops, numerous ARM updates, and other changes.
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Linux 3.17 Kernel Released With Xbox One Controller Support

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  • Please explain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stair69 ( 680444 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @07:12PM (#48070345)
    Why does a driver for a game controller need to be incorporated into the kernel?
    • Re:Please explain (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2014 @07:15PM (#48070353)

      It doesn't, you can load it as a module.

      • Re:Please explain (Score:5, Insightful)

        by skids ( 119237 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @07:32PM (#48070431) Homepage

        It doesn't, you can load it as a module.

        ...or run the alternative userspace driver, which linux supports doing as well.

        What really should be the question is why can't even Microsoft, which despite their software reputation generally is well reguarded for input accessories, not present a consistent interface across different generations of controllers. It's not like there isn't an enumeration standard they could follow.

        • Re:Please explain (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chaos Incarnate ( 772793 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @08:14PM (#48070541) Homepage
          Microsoft didn't want to allow the Xbox One to accept Xbox 360 controllers, so they chose to scrap XInput support from the Xbox One controllers. That PC users can't use the controllers is just an unfortunate side-effect.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows Brings the Console Experience to PC [xbox.com].

            That was announced nearly 3 weeks ago.

          • Re:Please explain (Score:5, Interesting)

            by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @09:49PM (#48070791)
            Couldn't they just have a USB ID/Bluetooth ID whitelist?
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            Microsoft didn't want to allow the Xbox One to accept Xbox 360 controllers, so they chose to scrap XInput support from the Xbox One controllers. That PC users can't use the controllers is just an unfortunate side-effect.

            They didn't have to go that far, actually.

            Xbox accessories have an authentication chip that's verified during USB connect so that's all the Xbone had to do - just check to see if it's an Xbone accessory and be done with it. Likewise the 360 can do the same.

            OTOH, the controllers are supposed

          • You could see it two ways
            1. They want to avoid re-use of controllers and make more money
            2. They want to ensure the experience for all Xbox One users is the same and ensure game companies can rely on the fact that the controller remains the same across the platform
            3. Both of the above

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          Because the box is a loss leader, Microsoft make their money on software and accessories, and because they don't want to ape Nintendo with their legacy ports in the Wii. If I had an N64 as well I'd have no need for two Wiimotes.

          (glad I'm not the only one who noticed the more-than-passing similarity between the Duke and the One and questioned the need for physically incompatible ports).

    • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      So that people can plug the controller in and use it without having to compile their own driver?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yes, that's great and all - but the point is that drivers for peripherals don't belong in a kernel. Its sort of stupid. Drivers for peripherals should be loaded after the fact and shouldn't require waiting for a new GNU/Linux kernel to ship before the device can be used.
        • by Sam36 ( 1065410 )
          You are either trolling or clueless...
          A kernel is an interface between software and hardware (like a game controller...)
          Any hardware driver in the linux kerel can be built in the kernel, or as a pluggable module.
        • Re:Please explain (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @08:45PM (#48070609) Homepage

          The problem is that you can not control a kernel driver through an ABI, it all runs as root so bad driver code can corrupt or crash everything. If you can compile and trace/fix the driver yourself that's a manageable risk, if it's just a blob you're at the vendor's mercy. And since Linux doesn't have the market share (carrot) or a big certification program (stick) that wouldn't be a very good idea. The best case scenario is when you have a low-level ABI and can put the high-level driver code in a userspace driver, that way it can't harm the rest of the system at a slight performance penalty due to the context switches.

          That does depend on the hardware complying to some low level ABI though, otherwise the kernel wouldn't know how talk to the hardware. Fortunately USB is such a thing, plug in any USB device be it a keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, memory stick or an XBone controller and Linux has a low level kernel driver (one per USB generation I think, actually) to read/write data. That's what the alternate "xboxdrv" driver does, it reads USB events, translates them to input events and returns them to the kernel. It only works for USB though, you still need drivers to talk to PCIe devices, disk drives, network controller and whatnot else though.

        • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

          shouldn't require waiting for a new Linux kernel to ship

          FTFY. Even the most ardent Stallmanites don't usually try to claim credit for the kernel.

    • so MS backs down on locking down X86 systems (as long as all uses by something from MS they look the other way)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why does a driver for a game controller need to be incorporated into the kernel?

      Because it is easier for somebody else to maintain that way, the issue is that the Linux kernel does not have a stable binary interface so you cannot just provide a driver and expect it to continue working over time. When the kernel ABI is updated any changes to it that any driver depends on needs to be reflected in every one of those drivers.

      The alternative is that every driver is hosted in its own repo somewhere else and kernel maintainers then have to pull all those drivers from the various repos and mak

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2014 @07:27PM (#48070403)

      Why do we even have a Linux kernel these days?

      It's late 2014, for crying out loud. It's almost 2015! We shouldn't have to deal with a Linux kernel. We should just have to install systemd and then we can have a working system.

      The Linux kernel needs to go. It needs to be replaced with systemd.

    • Re:Please explain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shione ( 666388 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @07:34PM (#48070439) Journal

      Because the xbox controller is the de facto standard controller in windows and on steam. And Linus knows that to get Linux onto everyones desktop one of the biggest shortcomings in Linux is mainstream commercial software and games. Steam OS (which cqan be installed over linux and not just standalone) sorta fixes that so it helps if the OS already has controller support.

      What I am waiting for is when Linux has out of the box support for those $1 usb bluetooth modules. They are a bitch to get working and really needed when youre setting up Linux as a HTPC and you dont want a huge IR module hanging out of your pc.

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        uh... thought it had that, given that there's a (now sadly unmaintained) standard: IEE802.15.1, and that most commodity bluetooth gear is driven by chips from just one or two manufacturers (Broadcom is one, I think Ericsson might be another)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because 2000 unnecessary context switches per second are 2000 unnecessary context switches per second.

      • They are not unnecessary if they provide extra safety.

        It is like using C++ vector instead of C array. There is some performance overhead, but it is a fair price to pay for the added safety.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      Why do a driver for random tv-card?

      Why not? I want support for the controller. Thank you all :)

    • by NonUniqueNickname ( 1459477 ) on Monday October 06, 2014 @10:09AM (#48073479)

      Why does a driver for a game controller need to be incorporated into the kernel?

      Welcome to /. Mr. Tanenbaum. Please feel free to create an account.

  • Playstation's been kicking that ass.
  • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

    ...I thought Freefall was a tech built into the hard drive?

    (I have a Toshiba laptop with a Toshiba HDD in it, the selling point for me was not in fact the freefall sensor but to be frank, any drop that chips a corner off the laptop case, for me, usually ends up shattering LCDs and glass platters anyway - I can only hope that the platters in the newer drives are made from tougher glass or even back to the aluminium alloy that sensible people build hard drives with (like my 8GB Travelstar that still works aft

  • I'm shocked (Score:4, Funny)

    by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Sunday October 05, 2014 @08:25PM (#48070565) Homepage Journal

    Linus missed an opportunity to "adjust" the kernel version numbering scheme. This should have been released as Linux kernel 11.0.

    (Sorry, couldn't resist)

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • How long before Chromebooks get this support? It'd be great with my Steam/Chrubuntu setup.

  • working open-source AMD Hawaii GPU support

    I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that's much more front-page-worthy than Xbox 'One' controller support.

    Phoronix reports [phoronix.com] performance to be generally satisfactory (which, given the context, is pretty damn good).

"What if" is a trademark of Hewlett Packard, so stop using it in your sentences without permission, or risk being sued.

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