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Ben Hutchings's diary of life and technology

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Mon, 23 May 2011

Testing new hardware support for Debian 6.0.2

The Debian kernel team regularly backports driver updates to the Linux kernel in stable releases to add support for new hardware, and I've prepared several updates intended for point release 6.0.2. Since the kernel team does not have a large collection of hardware on which to test driver changes, we would appreciate test reports from users. It is important to test not just that new devices are supported properly, but that there are no regressions in support for older devices.


I have updated these drivers to the versions found in Linux 2.6.38, modulo driver API changes:

I have also cherry-picked some small changes:

There are more drivers that I think should be added or updated (see #624794) but they will probably have to wait for release 6.0.3.


The source package and binary packages for i386 and amd64 are available on They can be verified by the checksums in the signed changes file.

The current packages are version 2.6.32-35~test1, but there may be further test versions before an official stable update.

How to test

For network drivers, I suggest the following regression tests:

  1. If the driver tries to load firmware (only required for some chips), does this work once the firmware file(s) are installed?
  2. Can you receive and transmit VLAN-tagged frames after creating a VLAN interface?
  3. Does the interface work after suspend and resume?
  4. Does the interface work after removing the cable for 10 seconds and reinserting it?
  5. Does multicast configuration work? (IPv6 autoconfiguration or mDNS will cover this.)
  6. Can the interface send and receive TCP/IP across a LAN at the same speed, before and after these changes? (Use e.g. netperf to test this, but don't forget to remove the netperf package after use.)
  7. Are any warnings or errors logged by the kernel during the preceding tests?

For storage drivers, unfortunately I don't have a good idea of what tests would be suitable. In any case, please don't test on disks storing valuable data!

Please send test reports to the bug reports linked above, stating the driver name, the PCI ID for the device you tested (from lspci -n) and any other device identification that the kernel log (for example, r8169 logs the 'XID' of the device).

posted at: 20:51 | path: / | permanent link to this entry