Realtek R8188EU Driver Sees “Huge Cleanups” With Linux 6.0

Along with his various other pull requests for areas of the kernel he oversees, Greg Kroah-Hartman submitted the Linux 6.0 staging changes this week.

Linux’s staging area is where yet-to-be-proven / still-work-in-progress code is being merged until improved upon and promoted to the respective kernel subsystem / main area. Linux’s staging is also where general kernel code falling into disrepair is shifted back into until it’s cleaned up or ultimately removed from the mainline kernel.

Of the staging changes for Linux 6.0, Greg KH commented, “Another round where we removed more lines of code than added, always a nice progression. Some of that came from the movement of the vme code back into staging, and the removal of some other of the vme driver code as there are no known users and it is very obsolete and unmaintained. It can be added back easily if someone offers to maintain it.

Back in June I wrote about Linux’s VMEbus support being demoted for that Versa Module Eurocard standard that’s been around since the 80’s and still used for some industrial purposes. We’ll see if the VMEbus code gets cleaned up in the near-term or is ultimately dropped from the kernel.

Of other staging work to happen this cycle, Greg noted “huge cleanups” for the R8188EU driver and other WiFi driver clean-ups, among other smaller changes. R8188EU is the upstream Linux driver for the Realtek RTL8188EU WiFi chipset found in various USB wireless adapters. The driver clean-ups address coding style issues, addressing poor API use, and dozens of other patches to clean-up the driver.

R8188EU continues to see a fair amount of clean-ups/improvements each cycle to address what had been quite a messy driver. Meanwhile an out-of-tree RTL8188EU driver also exists that aims to be a better driver alternative.


The R8188EU staging driver allows a variety of cheap Realtek 802.11n USB WiFi adapters to work under Linux.

The clean-ups going on in staging meant that for the main Linux 6.0 pull request there are just 2,059 lines of new code and 4,739 lines removed, or the net result of lightening the kernel by 2.6k lines.

The full list of staging patches for Linux 6.0 can be found via this pull request, which has already landed on master.

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