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Kernel Traffic #325 For 5 Sep 2005

By Zack Brown

Table Of Contents

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 1710 posts in 10MB. See the Full Statistics.

There were 598 different contributors. 210 posted more than once. The average length of each message was 90 lines.

The top posters of the week were: The top subjects of the week were:
74 posts in 353KB by adrian bunk
65 posts in 234KB by al viro
45 posts in 188KB by andrew morton
33 posts in 132KB by christoph hellwig
32 posts in 132KB by al viro
65 posts in 286KB for "[rfc][patch 0/2] mm: remove pagereserved"
44 posts in 282KB for "2.6.13-rc6-mm1"
40 posts in 169KB for "sched_yield() makes openldap slow"
38 posts in 205KB for "[rfc - 0/9] generic timekeeping subsystem (v. b5)"
28 posts in 163KB for "[rfc,patch] use rcu to protect tasklist for unicast signals"

These stats generated by mboxstats version 2.8

1. SATA Status Report

11 Aug 2005 - 22 Aug 2005 (23 posts) Archive Link: "SATA status report updated"

Topics: Serial ATA

People: Jeff GarzikRob van NieuwkerkMatthew GarrettMogens ValentinJens Axboe

Jeff Garzik said:

Things in SATA-land have been moving along recently, so I updated the software status report:

Although I have not updated it in several weeks, folks may wish to refer to the hardware status report as well:

Thanks to all the hard-working SATA contributors!

Rob van Nieuwkerk threw out his own cheer for the SATA contributors, saying, "SATA has been working perfect in my system since I started using it 10 months ago!" And asked, "Is any progress made on SMART support ? I've been reading "SMART support will be integrated very soon" for a very long time now .. :-)" Jeff replied, "It's been feature-complete for a while, but the reports from testers in the field have made me too nervous to push it into the upstream kernel. I might push it upstream, but disable it by default, which would allow for a wider test audience."

Elsewhere, Matthew Garrett asked Jeff, "I couldn't see any reference to system-wide power management (ie, suspend/resume of machines with SATA interfaces) - is any work going on in that area at the moment?" And Jeff replied, "Jens Axboe @ SuSE posted a patch that needs some work. So, it's on the radar screen, but I haven't seen any new work recently."

Elsewhere, Mogens Valentin asked Jeff about "support for the JMicron JMB360 sataII chip? Possible timeframe? It's starting to be used with the ULi M1695/M1567 chipset." But Jeff said he'd never heard of it; and there was no follow-up from anyone else.

2. Status Of Atheros And RT2x00 Drivers

17 Aug 2005 - 19 Aug 2005 (7 posts) Archive Link: "Atheros and rt2x00 driver"

People: Jon JahrenDaniel J. BluemanLee RevellMateusz BerezeckiJeff Garzik

Jon Jahren asked "why neither the atheros driver, or the rt2x00 driver is included in the kernel?" Daniel J. Blueman replied, "There is a good chance the rt2x00 driver will get into the kernel tree in time, since there is no firmware to upload - Ralink Tech ( took a design decision to incorporate the firmware into an EEPROM on-board, allowing their driver to be GPL'd, and the rt2x00 is a Linux-specific rewrite which is stabilising well." Lee Revell remarked, "Binary only firmware and firmware loading is perfectly compatible with the GPL, as long as the vendor includes a license to redistribute the firmware. The problem was that vendors were distributing the firmware embedded in the driver code as a big hex string, without a separate license, which made the firmware fall under the GPL, which make the whole kernel undistributable as there's no source code for the firmware." Mateusz Berezecki also said, "there is an ongoing project for atheros cards. work in progress located at" But Jeff Garzik replied, "There is still the open question of whether this is legal enough to include in the kernel :(. I really would have preferred a cleanroom approach, like that taken by the forcedeth driver authors."

3. Using ConfigFS To Configure DLM; DLM Maintainership

17 Aug 2005 - 22 Aug 2005 (8 posts) Archive Link: "[PATCH 1/3] dlm: use configfs"

Topics: FS: sysfs, Ioctls, MAINTAINERS File

People: David TeiglandAndrew MortonJoel BeckerNish Aravamudan

David Teigland posted a patch for DLM (Distributed Lock Manager), to "Use configfs to configure lockspace members and node addresses. This was previously done with sysfs and ioctl." Andrew Morton replied, "Fair enough. This really means that the configfs patch should be split out of the ocfs2 megapatch..." And Joel Becker said, "Well, I included the patch in my last email. For the latest spin, I've created The ocfs2 git repositories (, are now based on the configfs one. If there's any other way you want me to do it, let me know."

Elsewhere, Nish Aravamudan asked David, "Are you the official maintainer of the DLM subsystem? Could you submit a patch to add a MAINTAINERS entry? I was looking for a maintainer to send the dlm portion of my schedule_timeout() fixes to, but there wasn't one listed." David confirmed he was the maintainer, and submitted a patch against the MAINTAINERS file to reflect this.

4. Linux 2.6.13-rc6-mm1 Released

19 Aug 2005 - 22 Aug 2005 (67 posts) Archive Link: "2.6.13-rc6-mm1"

Topics: Kernel Release Announcement

People: Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton announced Linux 2.6.13-rc6-mm1, saying:

5. Some Discussion Of Linux Trademark

19 Aug 2005 - 22 Aug 2005 (9 posts) Archive Link: "[OT]Linus trademarks Linux?!!"

People: Jesper JuhlLinus Torvalds

Someone asked about recent news focusing on Linus Torvalds trademarking "Linux". In the course of discussion, Jesper Juhl said:

Linux being a registered trademark is old news.

Linus clarified the whole "Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds" thing back in 2000 in a lengthy email to LKML.

He explained both why Linux was registered as a trademark, why he has to enforce/police it to keep it, and what the groundrules regarding its use are (and don't worry, it's all quite sensible).

You can find the email here :

And Linus replied:

Gaah. I don't tend to bother about slashdot, because quite frankly, the whole _point_ of slashdot is to have this big public wanking session with people getting together and making their own "insightful" comment on any random topic, whether they know anything about it or not.

[ And don't get me wrong - I follow slashdot too, exactly because it's fun to see people argue. I'm not complaining ;]

And I don't tend to worry about the Inquirer and the Register, because both of them are all about being rough and saying things in ways that might not be acceptable in other places, and that's what makes them fun to read. So when they then write something nasty about Linux (or me), hey, it goes with the territory.

But I was really hoping this particular wanking session wouldn't overflow into Linux-kernel.

Anyway, the posting Jesper points to is a fine one. Partly to show that this trademark thing sure as hell isn't anything new, and partly because the rules really haven't changed.

So let's repeat that link again, just as background,

and then people should think a bit (and maybe research) what a trademark really means.

A trademark exists to set up some rules about using a "mark" (name, logo, you name it) in trade. The people who pay to license (or get a unique trademark of their own) a certain name do so because they care about that particular name. People who don't care, don't pay. It's really that easy. It's about getting legal protection for a particular name.

For example, this means that a _user_ would never pay a single cent over a trademark. I don't know why/how the Inq even came to that "companies to pay for using free software" idea. It shows a total lack of understanding about what a trademark is in the first place.

Now, a company that has a company name usually _does_ want to protect their name. Not always, but it's kind of embarrassing (and easily an expensive and big bother) if somebody else trademarks that name, and then sends a cease-and-desist order to you and forces you to switch to something else.

So you'll find that most commerical entities protect their name some way, regardless of _what_ that name is. For example, let's say that you called your company or distribution "Lipro", then you'd like to trademark that. Goodie. It's pretty expensive, but most companies feel that it's more than worth it to know that you've got exclusive rights to that name, and nobody else can force you to change,

So the first point here is that regardless of you call your Linux distribution "Linux Something" or something totally different, you'll want to protect that name if you are serious about making a big commercial distribution. Exactly because you do _not_ want to be in the situation that somebody else hijacks your name from you.

Now, you can do that protection two different ways: you can make up a unique name of your own ("Red Hat" or "Linspire" or "Debian" or whatever), and trademark that. Then the trademark office keeps track of things, and guarantees that there are no clashes (within your business area).

Or, alternatively, you can ask somebody else who already has a unique name if they might "sublicense" their name in combination with something else. In the case of "Linux", that name is already guaranteed unique by the trademark office, so let's say that you felt that you wanted to have a unique name that contained that, you'd approach LMI and say "I want to call my magazine LinuxJournal, can you write up paperwork that makes sure that nobody else can do so"?

And let's repeat: somebody who doesn't want to _protect_ that name would never do this. You can call anything "MyLinux", but the downside is that you may have somebody else who _did_ protect himself come along and send you a cease-and-desist letter. Or, if the name ends up showing up in a trademark search that LMI needs to do every once in a while just to protect the trademark (another legal requirement for trademarks), LMI itself might have to send you a cease-and-desist-or-sublicense it letter.

At which point you either rename it to something else, or you sublicense it. See? It's all about whether _you_ need the protection or not, not about whether LMI wants the money or not.

As to the "cease-and-desist or sublicense the mark" letters, they are sadly directly brought on by the requirements of maintaining a trademark. If you have a trademark, you have to police it, which means that you have to do trademark searches to see who uses it in a commercial setting, and make sure that they use it properly.

So to answer a particular question that came up here on Linux-kernel: "Does the pay $5000?".

First off, I don't know where the $5000 came from - it's different for different classes of people. Secondly, LinuxJournal was one of the companies that raised the money to get the "Linux" trademark in the first place! As a result, they don't pay a red cent, because they had been part of protecting the name in the first place. And yes, they paid real lawyers to do so. Their sublicense got "grandfathered in".

Finally, just to make it clear: not only do I not get a cent of the trademark money, but even LMI (who actually administers the mark) has so far historically always lost money on it. That's not a way to sustain a trademark, so they're trying to at least become self-sufficient, but so far I can tell that lawyers fees to _give_ that protection that commercial companies want have been higher than the license fees. Even pro bono lawyers chanrge for the time of their costs and paralegals etc.

Linux International has paid for it, maddog has worked on it on his own time, and various companies have helped chip in (like the original companies and people who got the trademark in the first place).

6. SMBFS Needs A New Maintainer

21 Aug 2005 - 23 Aug 2005 (12 posts) Archive Link: "New maintainer needed for the Linux smb filesystem"

Topics: FS: CIFS, FS: smbfs, Samba

People: Adrian BunkAndrew MortonDave JonesSteve FrenchUrban Widmark

Adrian Bunk asked, "Since Urban Widmark was not active for some time, and I didn't have any success trying to reach him, it seems we need a new maintainer for the smb filesystem in the Linux kernel. Is there anyone who both feels qualified and wants to become the new maintainer?" Andrew Morton replied:

Yes, it's a poor situation. That driver seems to have quite a few problems.

I was hoping that by now we could simply deprecate smbfs and tell people to use CIFS, but I'm not sure that CIFS is ready for that yet.

Steve, what's your take? Does CIFS offer a 100% superset of smbfs capabilities?

Dave Jones remarked, "A while ago, we disabled it in Fedora kernels, and told people "Use CIFS instead". There were a whole range of Windows variants that it couldn't talk to. Maybe the situation has improved since, but at the time, it was bad enough that we had to switch smbfs back on."

Elsewhere, Steve French said:

OK - good progress on filling the requirement for Windows ME/9x support which seems to be the most common reason for still needing smbfs based on various email responses on this thread (if we can get this work finished up fast, it will avoid some double maintainence).

CIFS (in the cifs.git tree) can now handle not just mounts to Windows ME (and probably Windows 9x), but readdir and enough of lookup. Finishing up the remainder should go fast (OpenX instead of NTCreateX is the main piece left).

Of course finding Windows 95, Windows 98, and OS/2 servers is a little harder than it sounds...although scripting a subset of the functional tests that should work should be pretty easy.

I will also put a version of the source that will compile at least as far back as 2.6.9 up on the project page within a few days.

There were various stirrings of interest in maintaining SMBFS, but no maintainer was actually selected.

7. Linux 2.6.13-rc6-mm2 Released

22 Aug 2005 - 24 Aug 2005 (12 posts) Archive Link: "2.6.13-rc6-mm2"

Topics: Kernel Release Announcement

People: Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton announced Linux 2.6.13-rc6-mm2, saying:







Sharon And Joy

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