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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
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Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

Jan Kiszka - University of Hannover

IrCOMM2k: Porting Linux IrDA to the Windows Kernel

Paper (PDF)

This presentation gives an overview of the IrDA standard, introduces the status of infrared support on Windows, and compares it with the progress of Linux-IrDA.

IrCOMM2k is an Open Source project intending to improve the IrDA support of Windows 2000 and XP, and provide virtual COM ports. Instead of using the incomplete IrDA implementation of Windows, the latest IrCOMM2k version includes its own IrDA protocol stack which has been taken nearly unmodified from the Linux kernel.

The architecture of IrCOMM2k is explained, concentrating on its ability to switch between MS-IrDA and Linux-IrDA while benefiting from the full Windows IR-adapter driver support. The talk also illustrates the framework used to integrate the Linux network programming model into the network driver interface (NDIS) of Windows.

Debugging techniques to find and fix IrCOMM2k problems on other users' systems are also discussed. This is essentially a communicative challenge because most users are neither Windows experts nor do they have programming experience. In this regard, the importance of visualizing the protocol activities will be emphasized. A visualization of IrCOMM2k is presented and suggestions are made how to port it to Linux.

Besides providing a technical view of IrCOMM2k and Linux-IrDA for kernel developers and interested infrared users, the goal of this presentation is to encourage further Open Source driver projects for Windows. Porting other Linux network protocols like TCP/IP, IPSec, or Bluetooth could be helpful for both worlds. On Windows it is an advertisment for Open Source. Linux, on the other hand, may benefit from bugfixes developed as the code is used in a different context.

Finally a new project is suggested: a user-friendly Open Source IPSec client to secure WLANs or to provide road warrior access for mobile notebooks which mostly run Windows. This client will be based on FreeS/WAN and the Linux TCP/IP stack and will attach itself to the Windows network system like IrCOMM2k does.


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