New Linux drivers for old kernel versions
The developers of the new Linux Kernel Backporting project plan to offer the drivers that come with recent Linux kernels in a form that will allow these drivers to be combined with older kernel versions. The initiative originates from compat-wireless – a project that was started by the Linux kernel's Wi-Fi driver developers quite some time ago and has offered tar archives that allow, for example, the Wi-Fi drivers that come with Linux 3.5 to be combined with Linux 2.6.24 and above. For several months, these archives have included Ethernet and Bluetooth drivers as well as Wi-Fi drivers.
The archives containing the drivers that have been backported by the Linux Kernel Backporting project will be called "compat-drivers"; a first version is due to be released as soon as the first release candidate of Linux 3.7 arrives. As with compat-wireless, the developers use the compat abstraction layer to simplify code backporting and maintenance. The project currently plans to backport the Bluetooth, Ethernet and Wi-Fi drivers; developers are already working to integrate the graphics drivers into the Linux kernel's DRM subsystem that are required by the Mesa 3D and Xorg drivers.
Further information can be found in two blog posts by Luis Rodriguez, who is one of the project's main driving forces (1, 2). In these posts, Rodriguez mentions that the reorganisation of compat-wireless into compat-drivers and the move to Kernel.org were initiated by the Linux Foundation's Driver Backport Workgroup.