Linux is first OS to support USB 3.0

Sarah Sharp, a self-styled "geekess" and Linux developer at Intel's Open Source Technology Center who has recently been working on the Linux USB subsystem, announced on her blog that support of USB 3.0 will soon be integrated into the Linux kernel. This makes Linux the first operating system to support the standard. If you can't wait and have the expertise necessary, she includes instructions on how to get USB 3.0 support in Linux now.

According to Ankika Kehrer, "[t]he basic specifications for USB 3.0 show it to have a transfer rate of 5.0 Gbps. The standard was announced in November 2008 by the USB Implementers Forum, Inc. [The] Board of directors of the Forum are represented by companies such as NEC, HP, Microsoft and Intel (which has the current chairmanship)."

Sharp writes, "I'm working with Keve Gabbert (the OSV person in my group at Intel) to make sure that Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Red Hat pick up the xHCI driver. Advanced users can always compile their own kernel on a standard distro install." Given that her driver is already queued to appear in Kernel 2.6.31, Linux aficionados who aren't keen to compile their own kernel should be able to enjoy the new feature from September of this year in kernel and distro updates from their favourite sources.

Intel is one of the foremost corporate contributors to Linux and open source, and this is just one more example of the work the company and its employees like Sarah Sharp are doing to promote the development of free hardware drivers and of free software more generally.

Sharp concludes, "This is a giant project that I've been working on for the past year and a half. It's gratifying to see the code finally released, and exciting to know that hardware is on its way."

[Edit: The link to Ankika Kehrer's story above has been corrected to note its original source (Linux Pro Magazine).]

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Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Red Hat pick up the xHCI driver. Advanced users can always compile their own kernel on a standard distro install." Given that her driver is already queued to appear in Kernel 2.6.31,turbocharger

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Given that her driver is already queued to appear in Kernel 2.6.31, Linux aficionados who aren't keen to compile their own kernel should be able to enjoy the new feature from September of this year in kernel and distro updates from their favourite sources.ac compressor

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Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Red Hat pick up the xHCI driver. Advanced users can always compile their own kernel on a standard distro install." Given that her driver is already queued to appear in Kernel 2.6.31, Linux aficionados who aren't keen to compile their own kernel should be able to enjoy the new feature from September of this year in kernel and distro updates from their favourite sources. wholesale automotive products

They might be better working on support for existing Wi-Fi/Bluetooth devices instead of USB 3.0 which will come who knows when.

This is interesting, and I've been hearing about USB 3.0 for a while now, but where is this hardware? I haven't really seen a move in adopting this update...

I hope they up the voltage in USB 3.0. It's the reason why i use 2.5 Laptop Drive with enclosure in External form. 3.5 need PSU and i absolutly hate managing PSU's. If it can power 3.5 inch external drives by itself it will be great!

ryoohki said,
I hope they up the voltage in USB 3.0.

If they up the voltage, then it won't work with older devices. I assume you mean that you hope that they raise the available current draw (amps).

P55 intel boards will have sata3 and will be out in a few months, there's no info whether they have usb3 yet tho, hope intel announce that info soon.

Nice to know linux will have usb3 soon:) usb3 flash pens will be very fast:) my 8gb 27 write/16 read mb/s usb pen will cry. there are esata pens that can do around 90mb/s now so there will be usb3 pens that will do the same speeds too which will be amazing as usb is so slow for transferring files.

torrentthief said,
P55 intel boards will have sata3 and will be out in a few months, there's no info whether they have usb3 yet tho, hope intel announce that info soon.

Nice to know linux will have usb3 soon:) usb3 flash pens will be very fast:) my 8gb 27 write/16 read mb/s usb pen will cry. there are esata pens that can do around 90mb/s now so there will be usb3 pens that will do the same speeds too which will be amazing as usb is so slow for transferring files.

Flash pens are limited by the flash chips used in the pen not the USB interface (unless the USB interface is 1.1 o/c)

I hope by Q4 2009, motherboards start shipping with XHCI controllers. I really want to build my fastest desktop rig ever in Nov. 2009.

That's really nice, kudos to her for getting on top of things and getting support in for Linux.

Just one question... Without any hardware to try it on, how does she know for sure that it WORKS?

bb10 said,
How can she not? She works for intel who made the spec. :P


She still needs something to test it against. Just because it works on paper doesn't mean it'll work flawlessly in practice.

FloatingFatMan said,
She still needs something to test it against. Just because it works on paper doesn't mean it'll work flawlessly in practice.

do you honestly think they do not have any working prototypes to test this stuff? o.O

csfeist said,
do you honestly think they do not have any working prototypes to test this stuff? o.O


Prototypes are not production line. Something ALWAYS changes.

Soldiers33 said,
it might be first. but wots the point? by the time 3.0 devices will be out, windows will already support it

"what's" the point? How does whether Windows will support it have any relevant to whether it's useful on Linux?

Kirkburn said,
"what's" the point? How does whether Windows will support it have any relevant to whether it's useful on Linux?

It's relevant to mention here because it's specified that linux has it /first/. But that doesn't matter at all. Somebody has to have it first, and by the time hardware is out everyone will support it. So this is really a non-issue.

Memnochxx said,
It's relevant to mention here because it's specified that linux has it /first/. But that doesn't matter at all. Somebody has to have it first, and by the time hardware is out everyone will support it. So this is really a non-issue.

Who advances technology first is newsworthy. If no-one tried to be first at stuff, you wouldn't get much progress. So, it's a good thing stuff like this is flagged up, because it encourages people/companies to do better.

Kirkburn said,
Who advances technology first is newsworthy. If no-one tried to be first at stuff, you wouldn't get much progress. So, it's a good thing stuff like this is flagged up, because it encourages people/companies to do better.

Exactly. If the situation was once "wintel", then maybe it has now, at least in this case but perhaps in others, become "lintel". This would be a ground-shaking move in the industry, if it were to be the case. Is it? Does this case, among other similar cases, tell us something? What is news if not reports of what is happening and of what could happen?

Kirkburn said,
"what's" the point? How does whether Windows will support it have any relevant to whether it's useful on Linux?

It doesn't. Which is why that wasn't the point he was trying to make. Way to read.

Who cares? If you still doesnt have hardware.
Suppose you have it... Who cares, it will (as every novel piece of hardware) not work fine with linux, or be 100% plug and play. So... who cares? LOL

iguanas said,
Who cares? If you still doesnt have hardware.
Suppose you have it... Who cares, it will (as every novel piece of hardware) not work fine with linux, or be 100% plug and play. So... who cares? LOL

Three "who cares" in two lines? The lady doth protest too much...

iguanas said,
it will (as every novel piece of hardware) not work fine with linux, or be 100% plug and play.

I take it that you don't use Linux, because you're wrong.

QuiescentWonder said,
I take it that you don't use Linux, because you're wrong.

He's not completely wrong, actual. Not every piece of hardware out there has Linux drivers. Vast majoity? Yes. Every single one? Not so much, no. And yes, that means that you may Microsoft for a shortcoming associated with of Linux, as per usual.

Airlink said,
He's not completely wrong, actual. Not every piece of hardware out there has Linux drivers. Vast majoity? Yes. Every single one? Not so much, no. And yes, that means that you may Microsoft for a shortcoming associated with of Linux, as per usual.

I've got several older pieces of hardware around here (webcams, video capture device, old parallel port scanner) that won't work with current versions of Windows, but guess what, all of them work perfectly in most Linux distros, so the problems with driver support can easily go both ways.

roadwarrior said,
I've got several older pieces of hardware around here (webcams, video capture device, old parallel port scanner) that won't work with current versions of Windows, but guess what, all of them work perfectly in most Linux distros, so the problems with driver support can easily go both ways.

No matter what, there's always going to be a lag going in one direction or the other. The day that everything will work like it should with the other all the time is a long ways away still. direct marketing

The title is misleading.

"Linux will be the first OS to have native support for USB 3.0" would be better.

You can recompile the kernel today to support it if you don't want to wait until September. Just see Sarah Sharp's blog for a "how to". Because this is possible on Linux and not on other OSes (as yet), it is an accurate title (and the accuracy is explained in the body text).

James7 said,
You can recompile the kernel today to support it if you don't want to wait until September. Just see Sarah Sharp's blog for a "how to". Because this is possible on Linux and not on other OSes (as yet), it is an accurate title (and the accuracy is explained in the body text). :D

True, but you can add code and recompile the linux kernel any day to add new features if your coding skills are good enough. Doesn't mean that linux suddenly supports all those features you added in your custom linux kernel.

You also neglect the fact that they also have windows drivers available. They may not be available for the general public (what are you gonna do with them anyway? :P) but I can bet all my money that they exist. Windows needs drivers and linux doesn't, hence the "native".

Linux is going to have official native support in the kernel, and it will be the first OS to do so.

bb10 said,
The title is misleading.

"Linux will be the first OS to have native support for USB 3.0" would be better.


If you word it that way, you'll confuse the newbies. They don't know what "native support" means.
And just so we're clear, it does not mean that support is provided by the natives (friendly or otherwise).

FoxieFoxie said,
Who cares, it is not avaialibel yet nor will be in this year

I applaud your abilities to predict the future with such accuracy.

No prizes for guessing when the hardware IS released it will come with drivers for most versions of windows "in the box"

It is news because usually people point out that Linux is, in certain categories of hardware, often trailing behind other OSes in offering driver support.

Here we see the opposite is true, as is becoming more and more the case.

It is news because, for instance, the next version of Ubuntu will have this feature built in for "out of the box" support.

In a sense, dvb2k has a point in that its not much of a milestone to support unavilable hardware, especially if you're lacking in support for common hardware.

dvb2000 said,
What a milestone (not). No hardware available but linux supports it!

Why is this news???

Be sure hardware will follow, there are some flash drives with ESATA now

How is it not news to announce support for an upcoming technology?!?! That's like saying Natal isn't news for the Xbox 360 because there are no games that support it yet.

dvb2000 said,
No hardware available but linux supports it!

Would it really be better to have hardware on USB 3.0 but nothing to use it on?

You want your software ahead of the times, not your hardware.

James7 said,
It is news because usually people point out that Linux is, in certain categories of hardware, often trailing behind other OSes in offering driver support.

Here we see the opposite is true, as is becoming more and more the case.

It is news because, for instance, the next version of Ubuntu will have this feature built in for "out of the box" support.


This means absolutely nothing until the driver is demonstrably proven to implement the spec correctly and is deemed reliable. And until the hardware to use it is here, nobody can make the claim one way or another. So, dvb2000's post is valid--why is this news?

_dandy_ said,
This means absolutely nothing until the driver is demonstrably proven to implement the spec correctly and is deemed reliable. And until the hardware to use it is here, nobody can make the claim one way or another. So, dvb2000's post is valid--why is this news?

Again, there would be prototype hardware to test against.

_dandy_ said,
This means absolutely nothing until the driver is demonstrably proven to implement the spec correctly and is deemed reliable. And until the hardware to use it is here, nobody can make the claim one way or another. So, dvb2000's post is valid--why is this news?

The drivers were written by an employee of the company which independently wrote and finalized the specifications for USB 3.0. Along with that, they'll probably be the first to market with a controller, and you think that they haven't been testing the drivers against all of the hardware they've already manufactured? Not to mention that they also are a large contributor to the Linux community and consistently write and submit drivers for their hardware to the Linux kernel. They even started their own FOSS Linux distro specifically designed for netbooks running Intel CPUs and handed development over to the Linux Foundation. On top of all of that, they first demonstrated USB 3.0 in 2007 and the specifications have been finalized for seven months now. You you still think the driver isn't going to work?

As for everyone talking about Windows, in November Microsoft claimed that they don't have any support for USB 3 in their pipeline but that it will be provided via an update to Vista/Windows 7. I believe, if I remember correctly, that USB 3.0 will be available in Windows 7 with SP1 and I do remember that Microsoft said it will NOT be available in RTM.

dvb2000 said,
..no hardware available but linux...

Linux is software, not hardware; There's no such thing as Linux Hardware. Get your terms straight before you post, alright?

Airlink said,
Linux is software, not hardware; There's no such thing as Linux Hardware. Get your terms straight before you post, alright?

Way to take a comment out of context by clipping just the middle of his sentence!

roadwarrior said,
Way to take a comment out of context by clipping just the middle of his sentence!

Shhh... Airlink is trolling. Don't interrupt the master!