From Fedora Project Wiki

Remove Wire Extensions Support

Summary

The legacy wireless extensions interface was replaced by the new mac80211/cfg80211 interface in 2007. The legacy Wireless Extensions support has been long deprecated so it's time to disable it and remove it.

Owner

Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 34
  • Last updated: 2020-09-20
  • FESCo issue:
  • Tracker bug:
  • Release Notes tracker:

Detailed Description

The Wireless Extensions support in the kernel has been long replaced by the mac80211/cfg80211 support. Disable the kernel options and retire the wireless-tools userspace utilities. Wireless Extensions only supports a minor subset of the wireless interfaces, predominently the WEP interface and userspace has been replaced by iw/libnl/ip interfaces which offer a lot more advanced features as well as modern 802.11 functionality like WPA.

Benefit to Fedora

More secure and advanced features in wireless. In most cases most users won't notice a difference. The vast majority of users use NetworkManager to use 802.11 based wireless interfaces which has long ceased to support wireless extensions/wireless-tools, if it evere did.

Scope

  • Proposal owners:
    • Disable the wireless extensions interface in the kernel and any drivers that depend on it. The only driver that is currently enabled that requires wireless extension support is the Intel Pro Wireless 2100/2200 drivers, this hardware was released in 2003-2005 as part of the original Centrino laptop platforms and all officially supported devices were 32 bit so it's unlikely there's any current users but as they were mPCI cards it's possible there's a few users that put them into 64 bit machines.
    • Retire the wireless-tools package, retirn any packages that depend on it, or migrate them to use libnl3.
  • Other developers:
    • No impact
  • Policies and guidelines: N/A (not a System Wide Change)
  • Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)

Upgrade/compatibility impact

A handful of packages still use the libiw interface and hence depend on the wireless-tools package. Some projects look dead upstream, a number have already been migrated in the last few months, wifi-radar refuses. Where the project is alive upstream tickets have been filed requesting migration. The current remaining package list is:

  • conky
  • knemo
  • lxpanel
  • reaver
  • wifi-radar

How To Test

  • Check that the wireless extensions kernel options are disabled: (CONFIG_WEXT_CORE CONFIG_WEXT_PROC CONFIG_WEXT_SPY CONFIG_WEXT_PRIV CONFIG_CFG80211_WEXT CONFIG_CFG80211_WEXT_EXPORT)
  • Check the wireless-tools package is no longer available

User Experience

Generally users should notice little to no difference.

Dependencies

N/A (not a System Wide Change)

Contingency Plan

  • Contingency mechanism: Leave WEXT enabled in the kernel, leave wireless-tools package in Fedora package repository.
  • Contingency deadline: GA
  • Blocks release? No.
  • Blocks product? No.

Documentation

N/A (not a System Wide Change)

Release Notes

N/A