WiMAX? 'Dead with no known users': Linux tips code in the recycle bin

LTE it be: Nobody seems to care, so off the 15,000 lines go


Greg Kroah-Hartman, responsible for maintaining the stable branch of the Linux kernel, has nudged WiMAX a little nearer the precipice with a commit to Linux staging to strip the technology from the operating system.

WiMAX has been on life-support in the Linux world for a while now and Kroah-Hartman's assessment was blunt: "the wimax code is dead with no known users. It has stayed in staging for 5 months, with no one willing to take up the codebase for maintance [sic] and support, so let's just remove it entirely for now."

The technology was greeted with much excitement when it was mooted in the early part of this century. A snappier name for the family of IEEE 802.16 wireless networking standards, proponents of the system dreamed of a wireless and speedier alternative to "last mile" broadband access and fast mobile connectivity.

Sadly it was not to be. Despite the efforts of staunch supporters such as Intel in the first decade of this century, it became clear that the train leaving the station carried the names "4G" and "LTE" rather than WiMAX, certainly as far as the UK and US were concerned.

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WiMAX was eventually relegated to more niche duties, seeing action in airport communication (in the form of AeroMACS) and some emerging markets. A far cry from the "one billion" users by 2012 imagined by former Intel CEO Craig Barrett back in 2008.

And now the tech and its Intel i2400m driver are to be despatched from the Linux kernel, despite the operating system enjoying a loyal following with network operators in regions where WiMAX might have expected to do well.

As for the when, it looks like Linux 5.13 will lose the 15,000 or so lines of dead code.

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"If someone comes along and wants to revive it," said Kroah-Hartman, "a simple revert of this patch is a good place to start."

If not, then it does indeed seem that this particular chapter in the history of WiMAX will soon be closed.

Current government restrictions mean that holding hands and singing songs to mark its passing is not possible. So please send in all condolences virtually... using 4G. ®


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