USB is getting a facelift!
In the beginning, there was USB 1.1, with the "low speed" and "full speed" devices (at 1 Mbps and 12 Mbps, respectively). Then USB 2.0 came along with "high speed" devices that ran at 480 Mbps. Now the new USB 3.0 bus specification defines "SuperSpeed" devices that run at 5 Gbps (5,120 Mbps).
Now that the bus specification is public, I can finally talk about the code I've been developing at work. I've been writing a Linux driver for xHCI (the new USB 3.0 host controller), and changing the Linux kernel stack to support USB 3.0 devices. On November 17th, I got to demo my work at the world's first USB 3.0 "SuperSpeed" Developers Conference.
This is a demo showing a USB 3.0 Mass Storage Device (commonly called a USB drive, thumb drive, or flash drive) prototype running under Linux with an unmodified Mass Storage Device driver. My Linux xHCI driver is necessary to communicate with the USB 3.0 device through the xHCI host controller prototype. The FPGA prototype was provided by Fresco Logic, a company that sells host controller and device IP.
The demo showed speeds that were about 3.5 times faster than USB 2.0 high speed devices. I expect this demo to be even faster when the device and host controller are implemented in silicon.
Details about USB 3.0
USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Roughly speaking, it means that a file that takes 30 minutes to transfer over USB 2.0 could take 3 minutes to transfer under USB 3.0.
USB 3.0 also provides better power management, which translates to longer laptop battery life. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible. That means you can plug all your USB 2.0 devices into a USB 3.0 port, or plug your USB 3.0 device into a USB 2.0 port. The USB 3.0 device will work at USB 2.0 speeds in the latter case, but that means consumers don't have to upgrade their PC or laptop to use USB 3.0 devices at the slower speed.
My big presentation went well yesterday. I presented to all the managers in my group and Imad. (Imad runs the Open Source Technology Center (OTC) and is my manager's manager's boss.) My manager said that he didn't think anyone was bored, and it was the right level of technical detail. Go me! It was my first real exposure since I joined OTC in August. Now it's over, and I can relax and get back to hacking.
Right now I'm sitting in the Tao of Tea, drinking wonderful organic tea and hacking. We really need to have a Linux Coffee Shop Day again.
I got sexy new reading glasses today. For the past couple of weeks, I've developed headaches after staring at my computer all day. I feel fine today, and I can tell that my eyes aren't straining to focus. As an added bonus, I can shrink the fonts on all my applications. Yay for more code per square inch!
I bought a new bike. :D I'm so excited because it's my first new bike in 8 years. My previous new bike was a Target-special that my parents bought when I got too tall for the bike that had training wheels. My new bike is a Jamis Coda, which is a hybrid with 24-speeds, a steel frame, quick releases on the tires, and holes in the frame for a front rack, back rack, and fenders. (Wow, I just rattled that off the top of my head. I'm becoming such a bike geek.)
My new bike should be great for commuting back and forth, and ok for biking trips this summer. I want to do a weekend trip to down the Columbia River Gorge, and a week-long trip down the Oregon Coast. I also want to participate in pedalpalooza this June and go on more bike rides with the Portland bike groups. Deepak wants to do a bike ride down to a penguin themed bar somewhere south. Should be fun!