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15 December 2008, 09:22

USB 3.0 for Linux in development

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According to Sarah Sharp of Intel's Open Source Technology Centre, Linux support for USB 3.0 is in development. Sharp posted details in her blog of how development of drivers for USB 3.0's new "SuperSpeed" 5Gbps mode is progressing. It is believed that the first devices supporting USB 3.0 will arrive in mid 2009, with 2010 seeing industry wide deployment.

Sharp is currently working on the Linux drivers, saying that she is pushing first patches for the Linux USB stack to the mainline kernel, looking for the patches to be reviewed by the community. The bigger and more complex work involves the host controller driver. As the xHCI (eXtended Host Controller Interface) specification is presently an NDA'd draft 0.9, Sharp is working on this driver, but cannot publish anything till the NDA is lifted. She expects the driver, when it is released, to be marked "EXPERIMENTAL" and to go through a number of revisions by the Intel developers and the Linux community.

The aim is to provide "basic" Linux USB 3.0 support, meaning some features like the new USB 3.0 power management may not be available on first release. Sharp goes into more detail in her blog posting, where she also talks about the development of the Windows driver for USB 3.0 and the demonstrations of USB 3.0 at the first SuperSpeed USB developers conference.


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