Working for a networking hardware vendor can be an extremely rewarding experience for a kernel developer. The rate at which new features are accepted in the kernel also provides lots of motivation to develop new features that showcase hardware capabilities. This could be done by adding new support for dataplane offloads via cls flower, netfilter, or switchdev (if we still think it exists!). In-driver support for pre-SKB packet processing via XDP and AF_XDP also provide a chance for developers to search for new software optimizations in their driver receive and transmit path.
In addition to thinking about what is happening upstream, developers at hardware vendors regularly find themselves managing internal and external expectations from those responsible for developing features that are not always exclusive to the Linux kernel. This could range from frameworks like DPDK and VPP that run on Linux or completely different OSes/stacks to functionality that is available without software interaction.
There is no quicker way to develop new features and resolve issues than to have direct contact with hardware and firmware developers. The goal of this talk will be to share some experiences balancing the expectations of customers and partners along with those of the community.
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