Last week I reported about an interesting discussion with HP and today I can report on a interesting session with the Lenovo team which is in charge for managing hardware and driver support of the devices on Linux. As you might know Lenovo announced to propperly support all future ThinkPad and ThinkStation systems in June 2020 - which resulted in a very good driver support on those devices. Phoronix Article
The interesting thing on that session today was to get some information how hardware support makes it into the upstream Linux kernel and how long it takes to bring Kernel patches that were already merged into a Ubuntu OEM Kernel release to a generic upstream version.
A basic feedback was, that they primarily try to keep code style and quality as good as it needs to be to become accepted for upstream kernel and they’re trying to prevent any drivers that wont make it upstream as this would make it quite hard when it comes to maintaining it. (For themselves aswell as for Canonical)
The question that they were not able to answer with good precision but at least gave me some feelings is about how we can tell when a particular hardware and driver setup is supported by the upstream kernel. They said usually it takes about two months until it is merged upstream which then should lead to having full support within two or three kernel releases. (As we all know it usually takes around six weeks for a new kernel release.) Unfortunately there is no tracking on this and therefore we cannot switch from a Canonical OEM kernel release to a “generic” release without proper testing.