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USB 2.0 for Linux Coming Soon

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the speed-kills dept.

Linux 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? :)"

cancel ×


fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967447)

frist pisota?

Frothy piss (-1)

JismTroll (588456) | about 12 years ago | (#3967448)


Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (2, Insightful)

Electrode (255874) | about 12 years ago | (#3967449)

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.

six pig roast? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967451)

six pig roasta?

1 year behind? (3, Insightful)

rtnz (207422) | about 12 years ago | (#3967460)

>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.

Re:1 year behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967537)

Linux has supported for usb2 for MONTHS, its just not reached the stable branch.

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (1)

WanderingGhost (535445) | about 12 years ago | (#3967464)

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...

Good reporting shows both sides. (0, Flamebait)

Mustang Matt (133426) | about 12 years ago | (#3967468)

Microsoft should be proud that their news source isn't super biased.

Re:Good reporting shows both sides. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967503)

Nooooo! Micro$haft SUXXX0RZ!!!1

LUNIX R00lZ!!!

Re:Good reporting shows both sides. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967550)

"Microsoft should be proud that their news source isn't super biased."

Shame the same can't be said for Slashdot.

Re:Good reporting shows both sides. (2)

Sj0 (472011) | about 12 years ago | (#3967719)

We covered the X-Box, didn't we?

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (1, Interesting)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | about 12 years ago | (#3967519)

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!

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967542)

Mod parent up!

It's a much better troll then the great-grandparent, and the great-grandparent made the front page, therefore we should be interested in what parent has to say. (or something)

Not to mention it makes hella sense, no one with an IQ over 150 who seriously uses a computer (geek serious, not lawyer serious etc) could in no way believe the watered down junk that windows is could possibly be better than a solid posix OS (yes I'm sure there are better, but I haven't found one that works better for me yet).

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967670)

I have an IQ of 178 and I use Windows XP. Suck on that, biatch!

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (2)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 12 years ago | (#3967706)

You werew almost making sense... It didn't quite work out, though.

I think you really lost credibility when you said "hella" and "IQ over 150" in the same sentance.

If you have something worthwhile to say, log in.

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (3, Interesting)

Oculus Habent (562837) | about 12 years ago | (#3967695)

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.

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (4, Informative)

Cryptosporidium (145269) | about 12 years ago | (#3967562)

The article is from CNET. It has just been reported again by MSNBC.

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967846)

Because /. editors have always been MSNBC's fans :)

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (4, Funny)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 12 years ago | (#3967573)

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.

Re:Linux being mentioned on MSNBC (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 12 years ago | (#3967788)

Parent companies tend to leave child news companies largely alone. If they get too involved and it becomes biased, the news source looses credibility and some people go elsewhere. If you'll remember, MSNBC also ran several articles about the anti-trust trail with a decidedly anti-MS tone.

do you guys think (0)

flashark (558270) | about 12 years ago | (#3967450)

we would be able to make such advancements if m$ did not exist? what are our biggest device support things that m$ didnt have first?

Re:do you guys think (4, Interesting)

jimmy_dean (463322) | about 12 years ago | (#3967458)

We had AMD Hammer 64 bit processor support before Windows did.

Re:do you guys think (0)

Stonent1 (594886) | about 12 years ago | (#3967497)

Itanium (anyone remember processor?) support as well.

Re:do you guys think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967572)

What's that supposed to mean?

Support as in the way Microsoft supports Palladium right now?

How can you have support for a non-existing CPU?!

Prototypes and emulators (2, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | about 12 years ago | (#3967606)

How can you have support for a non-existing CPU?!

Just because it hasn't showed up on yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There are prototypes, and before that, there were emulators.

Re:do you guys think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967609)

We had AMD Hammer 64 bit processor support before Windows did.

But not before NetBSD.

And who is this "we?" I doubt you were on the Hammer project.

Re:do you guys think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967652)

um, not really. Don't believe everything you read in the press - they don't always get it right - they were not on this story.

While Microsoft talks, Linux innovates (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967688)

> do you guys think [Linux] would be able to make such advancements if m$ did not exist? what are our biggest device support things that m$ didnt have first?

What the heck are you talking about?

Microsoft doesn't make advancements -- the PC hardware developers do.

Microsoft's primary role has been to hold the hardware developers back.

Do you remember, in the early nineties, when we had hardware-based Virtual Machine capabilities on the PC? Remember when, because of virtual memory and multitasking innovations from companies like Qualcomm, we were able to run multiple copies of DOS, DR-DOS, and other OSes, in parallel? What happened? Microsoft wanted users to only be able to run one OS -- DOS/Windows -- on their PCs. Thus, Microsoft tied memory management into Windows, thereby destroying further developer on PC VM capabilities.

Do you remember when the 386 came out, with its new memory protection capabilties? Do you remember how many years it took for Microsoft to provide support for those capabilities? Even Windows 95 still wasn't using it correctly. In fact, it was Linux that, while new, provided support for 386 memory protection -- long before Windows.

Do you remember when Microsoft hired a group of VMS developers from Digital to develop a stable version of Windows? Remember when they succeeded with NT 3.51? Remember when Microsoft destroyed that stability by allowing video drivers to run in kernel mode, in NT 4.0? Microsoft's history is riddled with backward steps.

Remember when, in 1990, everyone had a capable GUI, that is, eveyone but Microsoft? By the end of the eighties, we had the Macintosh, the Amiga, the Atari ST, and OS/2 and Geoworks for the PC. It wasn't until five years later that Microsoft came out with something even remotely similar, in Windows 95.

Remember when there were simple standards for LANs (SMP), security (Kerberos), printers (PCL), and video (VGA)? Microsoft didn't want open standards, because that might help another OS to compete with Windows. Now, because of Microsoft, we have polluted protocols, and complex devices drivers, tied closely into Windows. Further development of interface standards for PC hardware has slowed to a crawl.

Remember when Microsoft tried to sabotage the standards for Java and OpenGL? Remember the Halloween document where Microsoft stated their plans to "decommoditize" (i.e. destroy the openness of) Internet protocols? Have you noticed that Microsoft has been carrying through on that threat?

Were you paying attention to how long it took for Microsoft to provide a 64-bit version of Windows? The DEC Alpha version of Windows was a joke, because it was just a 32-bit version of Windows, slightly modified to be able to run on 64-bit hardware. Even now, there is doubt about Microsoft's claim of being 64-bit-ready. Meanwhile, Linux has been running on 64-bit platforms for years.

Have you noticed all of the hardware innovation that has been taking place with Linux? Just in the last few years, we have seen Linux based supercomputers, Linux-based clusters for movie graphics, Linux on IBM mainframes, Linux in car radios, Linux-based store kiosks, Linux-based digital video recorders, and so on. Many of those innovations could have taken place ten years ago, except for one thing -- they were being held back by Microsoft.

If there is one thing that has stood out about Microsoft and Windows, it is their _lack_ of innovation. Linux and Open Source are easily outstripping Windows.

This will help how (2, Insightful)

jstroebele (596628) | about 12 years ago | (#3967453)

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.

Re:This will help how (2)

xant (99438) | about 12 years ago | (#3967500)

Some [] type [] of [] software [] ? Don't be so pessimistic, device drivers aren't the only things we know how to write. If the manufacturers don't help, we'll reverse-engineer it and do it anyway.

Re:This will help how (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967648)

Who are "we" ..?

Re:This will help how (1)

martyn s (444964) | about 12 years ago | (#3967714)

We are Us.

Re:This will help how (3, Informative)

JoeBlows (581471) | about 12 years ago | (#3967768)

the USB spec has generic drivers that are available to everyone. the drivers include talking to Opticle devices, talking to block devices, mice, and keyboards.

USB2 Support (0, Flamebait)

MiniChaz (163137) | about 12 years ago | (#3967454)

What about USB2 under Mac OS X?

Re:USB2 Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967459)

There is already support, it just isn't on an ofthe MoBo's yet

Re:USB2 Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967517)

Yes. It shows BSD leads, and Linux follows.
M ac OS X
Documentation - Driver Installation

DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE for Mac OS X USB 2.0 host controller drivers. This release of the driver requires Mac OS X v10.1 or newer. Check this web site for periodic updates.

1.0.6 4/15/02

NetBSD (5, Interesting)

The FooMiester (466716) | about 12 years ago | (#3967457)

NetBSD [] has had NetBSD support in current for quite some time [] . Does that make it number 2?

Re:NetBSD (4, Funny)

The FooMiester (466716) | about 12 years ago | (#3967467)

Not only have they had netbsd support in the kernel, they've had USB2 support too!

That'll teach me to post on less than 2 pots of coffee.

Re:NetBSD (1)

imr (106517) | about 12 years ago | (#3967753)

Maybe you had enough coffee and not enough water:
coffee []
(I just put the link because it's a must-see for every coffee lover out there; the whole discussion is great.)

No, it doesn't make it number 2 (1)

Johannes (33283) | about 12 years ago | (#3967693)

Linux has had support much longer than the article implies. Here's one post [] which is significantly before.

In fact, this isn't the first since it mentions the USB 2.0 support that was in the 2.4 -ac kernel. It only mentions a patch for Linus' 2.4 kernel tree.

Second? (4, Insightful)

ozbird (127571) | about 12 years ago | (#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...)

Re:Second? (2)

dvdeug (5033) | about 12 years ago | (#3967505)

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.

Re:Second? (1)

chillyjim (562106) | about 12 years ago | (#3967561)

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.

Re:Second? (1)

DLR (18892) | about 12 years ago | (#3967628)

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? (5, Insightful)

Johannes (33283) | about 12 years ago | (#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.

What does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967469)

The new version won't instantly enable USB 2.0 to work with Linux-based devices[...]

*Still* having trouble getting their heads around this Linux thing, I see.

USB root hub vs. USB devices (2)

yerricde (125198) | about 12 years ago | (#3967640)

> The new version won't instantly enable USB 2.0 to work with Linux-based devices

*Still* having trouble getting their heads around this Linux thing

I know exactly what that part of the article means. It means that Linux now supports USB 2 controllers and hubs but does not yet support any USB 2 devices connected to a USB 2 tree.

Next! (2, Insightful)

Spleen (9387) | about 12 years ago | (#3967470)

There is no controversy here, Pay Respect to those doing the work, *waves the jedi hand* Move Along.

Re:Next! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967646)

I'd pay respect if you weren't such a fucking loser.

Re:Next! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967676)

Amen brother

What devices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967471)

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.

Re:What devices? (1)

Fragmented_Datagram (233743) | about 12 years ago | (#3967524)

A USB 2.0 hard drive would be useful. I saw this one [] demoed at a tech expo recently.

Re:What devices? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 12 years ago | (#3967536)

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."

Re:What devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967694)

Quiet! Don't let facts get in the way of the Linux Jihad!

Re:What devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967743)

USB 1 is good enough for keyboards and mice. But USB 2 has a transfer rate similar to firewire, and can be used for external hard drives, cd burners, digital cameras, and so on.

YHBT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967475)


Great achievement, I'm touched (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967476)

Does that make us the second most powerful now?

No. You are still at the bottom, sucking scum as always, not because you don't have enough developers or capital, because your OSS/FS community sucks -this is what makes Linux your last choice.

These delays are really funny. Someday we will get a decent WINE version (say after ~6-8 years, isn't that what took Linux to make it usable?), but then there will be new Windows versions to emulate, then wait till 2020 and yeah you are the first group having a Windows XWHAT emulator, kudos kudos.

Losers, shut the fuck up and write free software for me.

Not necessarily Second (1)

SpamJunkie (557825) | about 12 years ago | (#3967480)

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.

Excellent! (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | about 12 years ago | (#3967481)

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!

Re:Excellent! (1)

GigsVT (208848) | about 12 years ago | (#3967538)

They were full of shit if they said that 3 months ago. Linux has had solid usb support for almost two years.

Its supported! (2, Insightful)

Weffs11 (323188) | about 12 years ago | (#3967482)

Now all I have to do is wait for hardware that supports 2.0.

Firewire vs USB support in Linux (1)

rtnz (207422) | about 12 years ago | (#3967494)

I am still waiting for Firewire [] to fully be supported in linux on my laptop [] ; looks like it might be better to wait for USB2 to kick in.

What about firewire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967484)

I still can't plug my firewire CDRW into linux & have it work properly, out of the box. Nor does my firewire HD.

How many years behind does that make linux? 3? 4?

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967496) how about some drivers for USB 2.0 hardware? Like the 1394 camera drivers we're probably never going to get, either?

CNET Story with details. (3, Informative)

nilstar (412094) | about 12 years ago | (#3967510)

CNET ran this story before MSNBC. The story is Here [] .

wtf? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967512)

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 don't get it (1)

npqff (596490) | about 12 years ago | (#3967528)

I just don't get USB 2.0. What does this technology provide that "Firewire" hasn't already been providing for years?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967591)

Its made by Intel and thus has a _very_ strong supporter. Thats basically all, but its still a lot...

Re:I don't get it (2)

Abreu (173023) | about 12 years ago | (#3967764)

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.

Re:I don't get it - it's not that hard, actually (1)

Frodo420024 (557006) | about 12 years ago | (#3967780)

You get a more open standard, compatibility with USB 1 devices, and significantly lower cost.

USB2 will be integrated on all motherboards very soon, Firewire will remain an add-on option. USB will be king of the landscape, Firewire will live on like SCSI.

Re:I don't get it - it's not that hard, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967817)

USB is an open standard? It's controlled by USB-IF which is very heavy with Intel people who created it. Only IEEE 1394 (FireWire) is an open standard.

Coming? It's already here (5, Informative)

fire-eyes (522894) | about 12 years ago | (#3967531)

Coming? I'm using it right now, it's an experimental option in 2.4.18 (maybe earlier too).


works fine for me, too (3, Interesting)

g4dget (579145) | about 12 years ago | (#3967677)

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.)

Re:Coming? It's already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967690)

"Experimental" doesn't imply "it's already here"

Re:Coming? It's already here (1)

martyn s (444964) | about 12 years ago | (#3967731)

Yes, but does it imply otherwise? He is saying that it is here. The fact that it's labeled "experimental" is not his proof.

hmmm (0, Troll)

XO (250276) | about 12 years ago | (#3967535)

I'm going to have to agree with most people so far - almost a year behind means "we" suck.

I installed a USB 2.0 card in my machine, and the system recognizes it as a USB 1.0 device, but it operates a HELL of a lot faster in Windows, even with USB 1.0 devices. Then again, there are no Linux drivers for most of my USB hardware, so that point is irrelevant really.

About the only thing I can do in Linux with USB is sync my iPaq. BUt there's nothign to sync it WITH. lol

I call bullshit (3, Informative)

Johannes (33283) | about 12 years ago | (#3967657)

You're seeing a couple of different things happening here.

The host controller is the host side hardware which supports USB. For USB 1.1 (there was a 1.0 standard, but it's broken and hasn't been used in years) there was OHCI and UHCI.

For USB 2.0, there's EHCI.

You can't run USB 2.0 on an OHCI or EHCI HCD. You can't run USB 1.1 on an EHCI HCD.

So how does backward and forward compatibility work? Simple. Your USB 2.0 card has both 1.1 and 2.0 HCD's on it. Most likely you have a couple of OHCI controllers and a couple of EHCI controllers on it.

That's why Linux saw the 1.1 controllers, because they need to exist to support 1.1 devices plugged into the root hub. Windows will also see the 1.1 controllers for the same reason.

Now, back to my subject. I call bullshit on devices working a hell of a lot faster in Windows. Why? Because the HCD is the bottleneck. If you plug a 1.1 device into your 2.0 card, it'll still be using the 1.1 controller that's on that card. The 1.1 controller is limited to 12Mbps.

The testing I've done (as well as other people) shows that Linux is consistently faster than Windows on almost all devices. For those devices where Linux is slower, it's only slower by an insignificant amount. Hardly "a HELL of a lot".

I won't even begin to explain the ignorance behind your assertion that there is nothing to sync your paln with under Linux.

Linux IS the best (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967539)

Does that make us the second most powerful now? :)"

NO!!! Linux IS the best!!!

Linux is #1 World wide

Huh? (5, Informative)

virtual_mps (62997) | about 12 years ago | (#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? (2, Insightful)

binarybum (468664) | about 12 years ago | (#3967555)

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.

Re:Proud? (2)

ealar dlanvuli (523604) | about 12 years ago | (#3967560)

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.

Re:Proud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967569)

leave it to me to forget to hit AC...

oh well, I think I was up in the low 30's anyway, shouldn't hurt too much.

Re:Proud? (2)

kableh (155146) | about 12 years ago | (#3967826)

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 =)

Seriously? (1)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | about 12 years ago | (#3967804)

Very thoughtfull post, but when you say "Linux can no longer live of the legacy of its stability." I must disagree. That's the NUMBER ONE REASON why I run it for all my important stuff. Uptime, baby. If WinXP could stay up for a few months without swiss-cheese hole security, I'd run it. Stbility is king, and that is why Linux has entered the enterprise first, not the desktop. Enterprise wants stability, and Linux blows away Win2KSP2 in this regard (and many others as well). Just my 2 cents.

No (0, Insightful)

SkipToMyLou (595608) | about 12 years ago | (#3967568)

I'm pretty sure this doesn't make Linux the second most powerful. The supposed thousands of programmers working on Linux should have finised USB 2.0 support before Microsoft. Why? Three reasons: 1. There are supposedly hundreds of thousands Linux programmars. 2. There are probably ten to twenty companies that sell Linux distributions that have programmers. 3. Microsoft purposely delayed releasing USB 2.0 support for Windows. So, as you can tell, this is just yet another silly Linux-boosting story on Slashdot.

Re:No (2)

zCyl (14362) | about 12 years ago | (#3967737)

The time it takes for something to be developed in Linux is usually a pretty simply combination of the openness of the specs combined with how much support for it is really wanted. Since as far as I know USB 2.0 support is openly available, it just means there hasn't been a massive amount of programmers lusting after USB 2.0. (Which makes sense, since the hardware doesn't seem to be very widespread yet.) Some wanted it, they developed it, and they let anyone who wanted sample their progress in experimental.

I say such comparisons are irrelevant, and good job developers of USB 2.0. :)

You mean Linux DOESN'T support USB 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967581)

Open source software usually supports standards BEFORE the major commercial operating systems. I haven't played with Linux for a couple of years, but I always assumed it had support for USB 2.0 from the moment the standard was defined. Looks like OSS isn't what it used to be...

Re:You mean Linux DOESN'T support USB 2.0? (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about 12 years ago | (#3967634)

OSS typically lags commercial software support, unless the hardware standards designers and hardware manufacturers work with Linux and/or Linux people right from the start. All too often, the first sample a Linux developer has to go on is bought retail the day a new product is released, and often with no hardware specs to go on. I once contacted a hardware standards group by telephone to inquire about getting a copy of the standard for development purposes. If I wasn't a member of their organization, then I'd have to pay $10,000 and sign a non-disclosure agreement. I was told membership was "very exclusive and expensive". That standard was eventually released when products came out. That was the I2O standard.

What was a new USB architecture even needed? (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about 12 years ago | (#3967603)

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?

USB 2.0 is 99% hardware interface changes (5, Informative)

Johannes (33283) | about 12 years ago | (#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.

USB was designed not to be expandable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967835)

Look at the original spec. It specifically mentioned that it is designed never to go faster than 12mbs, because there are more appropriate interfaces for higher speeds (Firewire). Apparently Intel changed their minds.

Firewire isn't actually slower anyway, due to inefficiencies in the USB 2.0 design, the throughput of USB 2.0 is approximately the same as Firewire and is usually significantly slower in practice.

Finally, the new Firewire is protocol compatible with the old Firewire, they can exist on the same wire. In this way it is better than USB 2.0's compatibility. On the otherhand, Firewire 800/1600 require a whole new connector and so in my book actually has less real-world compatibility with previous standards than USB 2.0, or the same at best.

powerful?? USB?? (1, Flamebait)

Gavitron_zero (544106) | about 12 years ago | (#3967620)

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.

Re:powerful?? USB?? (1)

greysky (136732) | about 12 years ago | (#3967675)

Apple was also the first to support USB 2.0. Go figure..

Not Apple, Orange Micro (2)

willy_me (212994) | about 12 years ago | (#3967769)

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.

What's this about Virtual LAN cards through USB2? (2)

ahfoo (223186) | about 12 years ago | (#3967660)

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.

Re:What's this about Virtual LAN cards through USB (2)

whovian (107062) | about 12 years ago | (#3967818)

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.

For the wondering ones.... (2, Informative)

unixmaster (573907) | about 12 years ago | (#3967716)

You can read linux-usb news and reach linux-usb team at []


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967762)

Oh, and here we have somthing supported for Windows and MAC for some time and GREAT! Linux is finally 'rounding the bend. Whoopee.

Second Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3967827)

is first loser. Being one year behind MS means you are one year behind the lamest OS company in the world. Is that something to be proud of? Stupid people only recognize accomplishmenst in light of what MS has done. Give it a rest.

Hardly the second best... (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | about 12 years ago | (#3967844)

I have a USB switchbox which shares USB Macally keyboard and my MS IntelliTrackball between my PowerMac G4 and my P3 550.

Now, I've had no problems getting the peripherals to be properly recognized when switched over in the following operating systems: Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, QNX RTOS, BeOS, and Solaris 8.

However, Linux USB support is still entirely flaky. I've tried multiple Linux distros (Red Hat, SuSe, Mandrake, Slack), and about half the time, the peripherals are recognized when I switch them from my Mac to my P3. About half the time they're unrecognized, and then, at that point, no matter what I do, they will not be recognized until I perform a hard-reset.

If even BeOS could handle this properly, I hardly see why Linux can't. I don't think my configuration is entirely unusual. Until this simple problem is dealt with, Linux will not be my idea of an advanced operating system.
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