I'm a little confused around how Dell\Canonical Linux drivers\driver patches make their way into the Linux Kernel, can anyone help me out?
It seems that Dell and Cononical are doing this fantastic effort at producing a high quality collection of hardware that will be 100% Linux compatible, however my understanding is that these fixes\improvements are available via a special kernel in a separate repository.
At what time do these get merged into the generic Linux Kernel? ... Or perhaps this never happens?
Just wandering as I'm assuming that patches for Ivy Bridge would benefit everyone running Linux with these processors? Or are these not the kind of improvements that Dell\Canonical are making? Parhaps their changes are limited to peripherals like graphics, sound, wifi, touchpad, bluetooth devices etc. only?
Canonical is currently in the process of working to get the remaining touchpad support upstream. It will happen, but may take some time. You can monitor the linux-input mailing list to watch if you'd like.
I believe the rest of the other support should all be upstream already though.
The Sputnik kernel repository (launchpad.net/.../sputnik-kernel) supplies the official kernel for the Dell XPS 13. The Sputnik kernel is based on the standard Ubuntu kernel, plus these additional components (some of these have now been integrated into the standard Ubuntu kernel):
1. The Cypress Trackpad driver: This driver was developed by Cypress, then enhanced by Canonical and Project Sputnik community members. The driver has been submitted to the mainline "generic" Linux kernel, and is currently being reviewed by the Linux mouse subsystem maintainers.
2. Intel GPU backlight control patches: These patches were developed by one of the mainline Intel GPU maintainers and have already appeared in an earlier upstream Linux kernel version, but were later discovered to cause problems for some other Intel GPU models so the patches were removed from mainline Linux pending resolution of that. Since those patches do work fine for the XPS 13 machine, they will continue to be included in the Sputnik kernel in the meantime.
3. A BlueTooth/WiFi patch relating to the Fn-F6 rfkill key: The code that this patch fixed has since been removed from the mainline Linux kernel, so this patch isn't needed in mainline Linux.
To summarize: The only Sputnik kernel enhancement suitable for submission to mainline Linux is the Cypress Trackpad driver, which is in progress now.
I hope that helps to answer your questions.
-Kamal Mostafa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi Kamal and Mario,
Thank you very much for the feedback - much appreciated.
Nice to know what the changes are and how the process works.