Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Broadcom Releases Source Code For Drivers

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the they-sure-get-my-goodwill dept.

Open Source 350

I'm Not There (1956) writes "Broadcom, the world's largest manufacturer of Wi-Fi transceivers, open sources its Linux device drivers. This is a big win for Linux users, as there are a lot of users that face Wi-Fi problems when they use Linux on their laptops. With these device drivers now open source, distributions can ship them out-of-the-box, and that means no Linux Wi-Fi problems for new devices and upcoming distributions at all."

cancel ×

350 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hahahahahaha (-1, Troll)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526494)

and that means no Linux Wi-Fi problem for new devices and upcoming distributions at all.

Yeah, because the drivers with source code always works flawlessly. What a bunch of bullshit.

Re:Hahahahahaha (5, Interesting)

C3c6e6 (766943) | about 4 years ago | (#33526568)

No one is saying that device drives will magically start working flawlessly because their source code is open, although it will make it easier to track down bugs (see Linus Torvalds' quote about the number of eyeballs).

The main point, however, is that now Linux distributions can ship these drives out of the box, so wireless devices will work straight away. Until now the biggest (and dare I say only?) problem I've had with installing Linux on a laptop is finding and installing the right drivers for wireless network cards.

Re:Hahahahahaha (3, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526668)

That's what the text says though, or do you have a problem reading the quote?

and that means no Linux Wi-Fi problem for new devices and upcoming distributions at all.

Just do a quick search for rt2x00 bugs, they've been open sourced a long time, and still has plenty of bugs and failures. It's not magic, it wont' make all problems go away. Yet, that's what the claim is.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

glennpratt (1230636) | about 4 years ago | (#33527316)

That whole paragraph looks like it was run through Google Translate, it's kind of silly to pick it apart line by line.

I'd assume the sentence you quote meant there won't be problems including drivers as new models are released or in various distributions that have different policies about non-GPL binaries.

Re:Hahahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526924)

(see Linus Torvalds' quote about the number of eyeballs)

I'm pretty sure that was E.S.R, who called it Linus's Law. Probably from his Cathedral and the Bazaar book. Remember that? Or him, come to think of it :D

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

Animats (122034) | about 4 years ago | (#33527130)

No one is saying that device drives will magically start working flawlessly because their source code is open, although it will make it easier to track down bugs (see Linus Torvalds' quote about the number of eyeballs).

Microsoft has something better than "eyeballs": the Static Driver Verifier. [microsoft.com] This has been under development for a few years, and now, Windows 7 drivers don't get signed unless they pass static verification.

This is real proof of correctness, in actual production use. It doesn't guarantee that the driver will run the device properly, but it does guarantee that the driver won't crash the OS.

Re:Hahahahahaha (5, Insightful)

sammyF70 (1154563) | about 4 years ago | (#33527248)

hmm .. I still have to see a driver for any wireless card that crashes linux. Worst case scenario, it just doesn't work, which was incidentally the problem I had with my broadcom adapter on an Acer Aspire One D250. but crash the OS? not really, no.

Re:Hahahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526580)

Uh... the manufacturer is providing open source drivers for their hardware. Except for random edge cases, yeah... drivers tend to work reliably. What are you smoking?

Re:Hahahahahaha (2, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526612)

Oh, lighten the hell up guys, troll? Seriously? Just because I'm pointing out that the open drivers have their fair share of issues too? Open Source is not some magic pixie dust that makes the drivers impervious to mistakes, I'm very happy that it's open source because that means that I might be able to install Fedora on my IdeaPad without wrestling with the broadcom driver(It's sort of working now), but you can't possibly believe that open sourcing the driver will remove every issue with it?

Re:Hahahahahaha (0)

armanox (826486) | about 4 years ago | (#33526664)

The big thing isn't that they're open sourcing the driver - it's that Broadcom is releasing a Linux driver. Open Sourcing it is icing on the cake, but the main point is that the driver is from Broadcom for their hardware.

Re:Hahahahahaha (3, Informative)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526682)

They've had a binary driver out for some time, I'm using broadcom-sta on my IdeaPad.

Re:Hahahahahaha (3, Interesting)

armanox (826486) | about 4 years ago | (#33526738)

Maybe I'm about a year behind on Broadcom on Linux, but last I looked you had to use NDISWrapper with the Windows driver to get it to work, and Broadcom had no actual driver (was using a 2007 era HP Laptop).

Re:Hahahahahaha (3, Insightful)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526770)

That's probably a couple of years behind, actually.

Re:Hahahahahaha (3, Informative)

ciggieposeur (715798) | about 4 years ago | (#33526936)

See the b43 driver and b43-fwcutter utility.

Re:Hahahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526706)

huh? i've been using the proprietary wl driver for years.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

gomiam (587421) | about 4 years ago | (#33526880)

No, you get modded Flamebait because your comment is it. Because it would have taken you less words to just say something in the line of...

and that means no Linux Wi-Fi problem for new devices and upcoming distributions at all.

That is, no problems besides those in the open sourced code.

But you had to be innecessarily agressive. Well, you reap what you sow.

(And no, this comment isn't Insightful or anything else; actually I probably HBT).

Re:Hahahahahaha (-1, Troll)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526984)

It's not agressive, it's the truth. I didn't wrap it up in fancy words or diplomatic blurb. It's bullshit, and it's hyperbolic bullshit. But apparantly all the 12 year olds with Ubuntu has mod points today, and I probably offended their religion. So it's not that big of a deal, but it's annoying to see how little it takes to get modded down when it's only the truth. I guess the truth hurts.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

Andorin (1624303) | about 4 years ago | (#33527286)

> But apparantly all the 12 year olds with Ubuntu has mod points today, and I probably offended their religion.
You really can't understand why you're getting modded down? That comment is essentially a troll.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

toppings (1298207) | about 4 years ago | (#33527028)

(And no, this comment isn't Insightful or anything else; actually I probably HBT).

  • Have Better Teeth?
  • Harass Baton Twirlers?
  • Head-Butt Tinkerbell?

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | about 4 years ago | (#33527032)

Yes, agreed.

The big problem with Linux Wifi is not necessarily the drivers, but the usability of the rest of the stack. On Windows and Mac it's easy to connect to a wireless network; you can do it in a few clicks and enter a password, because the Wifi tool is part of the GUI. Then you are done.

On Linux, the Wifi tool may (or may not) be part of your desktop environment. There may be several possibilities for your desktop environment and included in your distribution. As a new user, you will not know which is the right one. If you find the right one, then it may (or may not) work. If it does work, then it may support WPA2 and other modern Wifi standards, or it may be limited to WEP. Finally, even if everything has worked so far, it may (or may not) remember the settings for next time.

No wonder we all end up hacking wpa_supplicant.conf.

It's good that we get driver source code. Thanks Broadcom. But really, thanks to ndiswrapper (awesome software!) drivers haven't been a big issue for a while. The rest of the stack is, as always, the problem.

Re:Hahahahahaha (2, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | about 4 years ago | (#33527098)

As a counterpoint, I found it dead easy with Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an Asus 701. It was about as many clicks and menus as it takes on OS X and WinXP. Now a given distribution may not always make it that easy for you but this should basically be solved for the distros intended for desktop use.

Re:Hahahahahaha (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | about 4 years ago | (#33527252)

Agreed. And I'm glad that recent Ubuntus have improved in this regard.

Re:Hahahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526616)

Not bullshit at all. It means that programmers can now fix the code and release stable versions with linux updates. Meaning (virtually) no problems for Broadcom wifi in future releases and updates.

Yes - hooray!

Does this mean I can do packet injection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526500)

I know alot of the chipsets didn't support it and I ended up buying an external atheros a ways back. Albeit, cracking wifi network is mostly a shits and giggles operation - it can come in handy occasionally. So, does anyone know if open source driver = packet injection or is it limited at the hardware level?

Oh and of the course, the obligatory hoorah for open source.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526502)

First Post

Re:FP (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 4 years ago | (#33526534)

Take heart - you're still in the running for lamest post.

believe it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526782)

First post!

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527310)

Lamest Post

Sweet (0)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 4 years ago | (#33526504)

Now maybe I'll finally be able to get wireless working on my two Dell laptops!

Re:Sweet (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 4 years ago | (#33526908)

In other words, "Will 2010 be the year of Linux on the laptop"?

About Time (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526506)

Seriously

This is fantastic (5, Interesting)

Demanufacture (113381) | about 4 years ago | (#33526512)

Congratulations Broadcom, you have just made at least one geek very happy.

While you're at it, any chance of releasing the source for your video decoders? I promise that you will own the HTPC market if you do.

Re:This is fantastic (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about 4 years ago | (#33526678)

Congratulations Broadcom, you have just made at least one geek very happy.

It would be more if they had done this years ago. I have many not so fond memories of trying to configure broadcom cards under linux. I can partially blame the status of my hair on broadcom wireless cards.

Broadcom, you owe me sleep retroactively and some thicker hair!!!

Re:This is fantastic (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 4 years ago | (#33526750)


I can partially blame the status of my hair on broadcom wireless cards.

Broadcom wireless cards made you get a Brazilian wax? Weird.

...

Re:This is fantastic (4, Funny)

Andrew Cooper (1539649) | about 4 years ago | (#33526888)

Well yeah. Getting a Brazilian was listed as an important step on the forum I was using to get my wireless card working. And I got it working so the wax job must have helped, right?

Re:This is fantastic (4, Informative)

BobNET (119675) | about 4 years ago | (#33526784)

While you're at it, any chance of releasing the source for your video decoders?

You mean like this [broadcom.com] , or something else?

Re:This is fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527022)

I promise that you will own the HTPC market if you do.

What the hell is a 'hot top pc?'

Re:This is fantastic (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | about 4 years ago | (#33527140)

Home Theater PC

Re:This is fantastic (1)

Fitch (584748) | about 4 years ago | (#33527166)

Amen! This is a long anticipated move that is very much appreciated. Way to go Broadcom.

Now what will it take to get you to apply the same logic to your 7400 series video SOCs. And get Realtek onboard while you're at it. You would sell product like the proverbial hotcakes...

The world just got a bit nicer. :) (4, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#33526522)

Broadcom wirelss. Cause of a 100 page thread [ubuntuforums.org] on the Ubuntu forums (and innumerable posts elsewhere) by people trying to get those bloody cards working under Linux.

So speaking as one of the many sufferers, how long before I can just slap Linux on an old Acer laptop and expect the wireless to just work?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 4 years ago | (#33526572)

Huzza! This could eventually make my life easier too!

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526596)

Broadcom wirelss. Cause of a 100 page thread [ubuntuforums.org] on the Ubuntu forums (and innumerable posts elsewhere) by people trying to get those bloody cards working under Linux.

So speaking as one of the many sufferers, how long before I can just slap Linux on an old Acer laptop and expect the wireless to just work?

You can try it today, and if it doesn't work, fix the driver.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#33527070)

You can try it today, and if it doesn't work, try to fix the driver.

Fixed that for me.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

Rashkae (59673) | about 4 years ago | (#33526644)

Probably too late for Ubuntu 10.10, but I would expect these to be included with 11.04

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

djdanlib (732853) | about 4 years ago | (#33526914)

This seems like the kind of major win that would be worth delaying Ubuntu 10.10 for.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

scrib (1277042) | about 4 years ago | (#33527196)

Even if it doesn't delay it, they could opt to ship with a "probably works" driver. A driver that might not work for all machines or that might break under certain conditions is far better than the current "no driver" situation. If it worked just well enough to connect and download an update, that would be great!

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 4 years ago | (#33526690)

Hehe I am not a hardware kind of guy, but I've known of Broadcom chipsets for years and years, thanks to what seemed like a tireless effort to make their cards incompatible with Linux. This is a tremendous good news for the free software community. I think that we are at a place now where we should take a dysfunctional open-source driver over an apparently (!) perfect closed-sourced blob, since the latter is COMPLETELY useless in production due to the security considerations.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (3, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | about 4 years ago | (#33526724)

$ lspci
(...)
03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN (rev 02)

$ lsmod | grep b43
b43 153329 0
rng_core 3158 1 b43
mac80211 128164 1 b43
ssb 33383 1 b43

My broadcom BCM5311 has been working just fine using the b43 drivers included in Linux; they are there for quite some time..
Good news for everyone though. This means new broadcom hardware support and improvement of current GPLd drivers.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | about 4 years ago | (#33527144)

From the B43 development website [linuxwireless.org] :

not working yet * IEEE 802.11n

That's all 802.11n devices. You know, those things that have been on the market for like 2 or 3 years? From TFA:

Broadcom would like to announce the initial release of a fully-open Linux driver for it's latest generation of 11n chipsets.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33526780)

I've never really understood: why don't more hardware companies open the source for their drivers? Is there super-secret special source in the drivers that they're trying to prevent their competitors from learning? Is it an issue of patents?

It seems to me that drivers are an instance where opening the source should be a no-brainer. It's not like an application, where you're trying to sell the software. People still need to buy your hardware to make use of the drivers, so it's not like your customers will be inclined to stop buying things from you. I would image you could drastically lower the cost of supporting the drivers by opening them, though. You'll probably increase quality at the same time.

I'm sure I'm missing something, though. Would someone enlighten me?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526958)

Maybe it's something like the situation with graphics cards, where the hardware is identical but the different price points are for more or less powerful proprietary drivers?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | about 4 years ago | (#33526970)

Often these drivers connect to registers in the hardware that are *not* public knowledge. In the case of WiFi and other "firmware" radios the driver often contains DSP code that would normally be in Si but is now in loadable firmware, thus the manufacturers want to keep that a secret.
-nB

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#33527076)

Is that DSP code licensed from a third party or some sort of unpatentable trade secret?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (5, Informative)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about 4 years ago | (#33526988)

My company manufactures devices for PCs. We do NOT open source our drivers; I'll give you my two cents as to why:

1. Licensing. Our drivers include licensed code from at least two other companies - code that implements algorithms seen as proprietary and valuable by those companies. We don't have the right to publish that code, and couldn't conceivably convince them to do so.
2. Competitive advantage. We have several competitors in our market. The specs that Marketing puts on our datasheets might be optimistic in some scenarios. If we open-sourced our drivers, our competitors could easily demonstrate that to potential customers - if their drivers were closed, we would not have the equivalent opportunity to prove that their liars were worse than our liars.
3. Support. If we publish source, we will end up fielding all kinds of questions from all kinds of people about all kinds of aspects of our product. Even if we simply answer "Go away" to all those queries, there's a lot of time spent reading and replying (or simply ignoring) them. Considering that we sell our products to OEMs for a few dollars, there just isn't any margin for end user support.
4. Security. Say what you will about "security through obscurity", it still has a huge following in the corporate world. Publishing all your source code provides all kinds of opportunities for the scoundrels of the world to take advantage, from the PHB point of view.
5. Financial. There is no business case to be made to disclose this proprietary information. If I'm not going to make money from something, why should I spend the time/effort to open source it, and perhaps give away information that my competitor could use?

In Broadcom's case, there are probably others also - for example, publishing source for a Wireless card could allow operating the RF section beyond regulatory limits - transmitting/receiving out of band, transmitting with too much power, etc. This could jeopardize certification (such as FCC certification in the US) or subject the company to unwanted regulatory scrutiny.

Does this help?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527176)

If I had mod points I would have gladded modded you up, though only for your first point. I feel the rest are either washes (you mention bad potential problems without mentioning the potential good ones) or things that are borderline illegal (or should be).

1. Great point, can't argue this one.
2. Is the spirit of fraud, if commonplace and within the letter of the law, and should not be tolerated.
3. Support, if your source is good enough, other people (the community) will actually do your support for you in many cases.
4. Do I actually need to pick this point apart? While it is correct that many PHB believe it, it isn't actually true.
5. There are plenty of business cases to be made for doing so. Free (unpaid by you at any rate) coders improving your device, and depending on license, being required to make those improvements available to you for starters.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#33527246)

1. Licensing. Our drivers include licensed code from at least two other companies - code that implements algorithms seen as proprietary and valuable by those companies.

Release the rest, and provide descriptions of the missing algorithms. They'll be reimplemented in a week.

if their drivers were closed, we would not have the equivalent opportunity to prove that their liars were worse than our liars.

So don't lie.

3. Support. If we publish source, we will end up fielding all kinds of questions from all kinds of people about all kinds of aspects of our product.

Really? Do you think end users are really going to contact Broadcom? Or are they just going to go to the Ubuntu forums like they have been.

4. Security.

We all know that's bullshit.

5. Financial. There is no business case to be made to disclose this proprietary information.

But there is. Before today, if I wanted a wifi router I would only buy one with Atheros chips. Now I will seriously consider a Broadcom based product. I had never run ATI cards before they open sourced their drivers in 2007. Now I have an ATI card.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526998)

Why? Here are the obvious ones:

1. Paranoia
2. Dislike for commie OSS
3. Don't actually own the code to publish
4. Code is really shit
5. Contains many a fudge to work around bugs in the hardware

Of course, none of these actually matter. All the HW companies have to do is publish the bloody spec sheets and programmers will do the driver themselves. In years gone by, all ICs came with data sheets. These days they're scared shitless of people understanding the very products they're trying to sell.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | about 4 years ago | (#33527004)

I think its a bit of a case by case basis. I know in the case ATI, when it was taken over by AMD, they wanted to release Open Source drivers as quickly as possible but couldn't straight away because third party companies had contributed parts of the driver software and it was under NDAs. I think it took them a little while to work around some of those issues, secure agreements, etc. In other cases, companies have things in their drivers that they don't necessarily want their competitors to be able to just grab or study. You might think that a hardware manufacturer only has value invested in the hardware itself. But if you think about it, that they're writing software to go with it, it's not unlikely that in some cases there is value in the software as well.

Still, the mental shift for hardware companies is happening, thanks to the Free Software movement which is making Open Source drivers a saleable attribute both in terms of actual utility and in terms of PR.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 years ago | (#33527202)

I know in the case ATI, when it was taken over by AMD, they wanted to release Open Source drivers as quickly as possible but couldn't straight away because third party companies had contributed parts of the driver software and it was under NDAs. I think it took them a little while to work around some of those issues, secure agreements, etc.

Actually, far more than that. They gave up on "washing" the internal code base and the open source drivers are essentially written from scratch with only slight one-way code sharing. In some cases yes they look at it to figure out how to program specific bits of hardware, but that's about it. And even that almost-from-scratch rewrite has to pass through a fairly serious legal review to make sure they're not revealing too much IP. Most of the shit in the graphics drivers is caused by DRM though, they can't release any low-level stuff or you would be able to see the DRM'd bits being moved around and decrypted, even if you don't know the DRM bits.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (1)

chrb (1083577) | about 4 years ago | (#33527086)

I'm sure I'm missing something, though. Would someone enlighten me?

Corporate mentality. There are a lot of companies out there that just don't get it. They think that every little bit of code that they have under their control somehow gives them an advantage over the competition. The idea of giving away code after they paid to develop it just sounds wrong.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526906)

You can. I installed Arch Linux with wifi just fine on my Acer Aspire 3050 with the ath5k Atheros driver.

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526976)

How about being proactive and being part of the solution and working with others to figure out how to fix it?

After all, isn't that the driving force of opensource?

Re:The world just got a bit nicer. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527226)

It'll be long enough that you may as well get another laptop. This isn't going to change things overnight, so with short battery life & fast spec improvement, there's no point waiting with old hardware.

The three hobbyhorse of the apocalypse for Linux on laptops are wireless, trackpads, and display. Wireless is probably the worst, so this Broadcom release is a very big deal.

[If you want to trade your old Acer for similar, the Dell D610 works nearly perfect. Only "nearly" because apparently on Win and older Ubuntus you could go one step higher in display resolution. But I'd find that too small to read, so I'd say grab one -- it's the painless install you wanted. And it should get you along till this release affects new installs.]

Fantastic news for Linux tourists (1)

mfluder47 (1464715) | about 4 years ago | (#33526562)

This might get me to go back to my old dual-boot setup. I very much a linux beginner, and used Ubuntu pretty exclusively for the first couple of years of grad school. I loved aspects of it, but going round the houses with madwifi, ndiswrapper, and the like to get my broadcom wifi adapter to behave properly just became too difficult. For me this may significantly lower a major barrier of entry to using linux distros as everyday operating systems.

almost 10 years! (2, Insightful)

vivek7006 (585218) | about 4 years ago | (#33526592)

It took them almost 10 years before they released open-source drivers. Must be freaking smart

DD-WRT (5, Insightful)

QuantumBeep (748940) | about 4 years ago | (#33526598)

Looking forward to much broader DD-WRT support for Broadcom hardware in the near future

Re:DD-WRT (2, Interesting)

domatic (1128127) | about 4 years ago | (#33527024)

It could also mean more 2.6.x kernels. Many of these devices gave you the choice of either using the binary blob drivers and a 2.4 based firmware or you could go to 2.6 and hope for the best with the reverse engineered drivers.

Re:DD-WRT (1)

xmff (1489321) | about 4 years ago | (#33527082)

No hw crypto, no ap mode, only current generation 11n chips supported. Also given the fact that DD-Wrt not event adopted ath9k yet in favor to hacked up half open atheros drivers I wouldn't hope for opensource brcm support anytime soon.

Yay (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33526662)

Yay! This is definitely nice. Granted, I luckily didn't run into a bit of trouble getting the broadcom card in my laptop to work using the NDIS wrapper last time I set it up on Ubuntu 10.04, but either way it's good to have open source drivers rather than finding quirky ways to make proprietary ones work.

Linux swallowing Windows Semen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526670)

Yes, 0.83% market share vs 90% does not lie, while you are modding this down I am getting laid with Windows users.

Re:Linux swallowing Windows Semen (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 4 years ago | (#33526716)

Dude, they're computer programs. Get a grip.

Re:Linux swallowing Windows Semen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526722)

Iam getting laid with Windows users.

You should be careful - most Windows users have viruses.

Holy overstatement (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 years ago | (#33526672)

and that means no Linux Wi-Fi problem for new devices and upcoming distributions at all.

Yes, because open source drivers means that they always work, no matter how strange or obscure your hardware and software combination is. That's right, just like all other open source software that never, ever, fails to live up to expectations under any situation. In fact the news is so remarkable that the sun just came out where I live, and I think some very peaceful velociraptors just woke from a very long sleep and are peacefully munching on cabbage, all thanks to this incredible news.

Re:Holy overstatement (0, Troll)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526700)

Fuck no, don't say that. You'll get modded troll and flamebait. Because the open drivers always work and never fail. Ever. It just works(tm).(See what I did there?)

Re:Holy overstatement (3, Insightful)

f3rret (1776822) | about 4 years ago | (#33526820)

Well to be fair most open source "just works".
It's whether it "just works" well that's the big question.-

Re:Holy overstatement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526822)

What's the difference between an open/closed source driver?

With an open source driver, somebody somewhere has a chance to fix it and make it work for your obscure hardware setup. Yes it's not a panacea, but it's a darn sight better than anything else! Quit your bitching, this is a good thing.

Re:Holy overstatement (1)

JonJ (907502) | about 4 years ago | (#33526898)

Nobody anywhere has claimed that this makes it harder to fix, or that it's a bad thing. It's just annoying hyperbole with no connection with regards to reality.

Sooo now I can give Linux a serious try? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526688)

I tried Ubuntu quite some time ago on my aging Acer Aspire 5000. I really like the idea behind linux and open source. Got everything to work. Except for the WiFi. Well since being wired all the time is a drag, I was forced to go back to dreaded XP. I'm not a complete n00b when it comes to computers. But fiddling with WiFi for a few hours was just to much effort for me as a casual user. Hopefully I can now finally switch.

Re:Sooo now I can give Linux a serious try? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527054)

Ubuntu has been able to install the propietary drivers automatically for a long time now.

NDISWRAPPER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526754)

We have Broadcom's ineptitude up until this point to thank for NDISWRAPPER IMHO.

I think the single largest source of linux troubles on laptops has been due to Broadcom devices. They have a HUGE marketshare.

Thanks broadcom. Who knows what good will come from the next time you drag your heels?

Seriously though: I hope this is a sign of things to come.

That could be very nice for Tomato Firmware (3, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | about 4 years ago | (#33526756)

Tomato Firmware is still stuck on Linux 2.4 because Broadcom's driver blob hasn't been ported to 2.6, Don't know how much of a difference it'd make for my WRT54GL, really, but it'd still be nice to be more modern than ~2.4.17.

Re:That could be very nice for Tomato Firmware (2, Insightful)

pankkake (877909) | about 4 years ago | (#33526806)

And it could be ported to other kernels, a BSD for instance.

Re:That could be very nice for Tomato Firmware (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#33526940)

Yes and it opens up the option to use Broadcom chips on all sorts of embedded devices.
Including those running on ARM, PPC, Mips, SH4 and goodness knows what else.

Like AMD (-1, Troll)

codewarren (927270) | about 4 years ago | (#33526772)

Now we'll have drivers for wi-fi that are just as flawless as those ATI drivers we have now. Yay.

Don't get too excited for the old equipment (2, Interesting)

phikapjames (811889) | about 4 years ago | (#33526786)

As the article states, the source only supports the newer 11n chipsets, which is currently BCM4313, BCM43224, and BCM43225. G and lower chipsets still have to use the older crusty stuff. Still something good to look towards the future for. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for routers that have those chipsets and are dd-wrt compatible in the future when I move to N now.

Thanks (4, Informative)

msclrhd (1211086) | about 4 years ago | (#33526792)

To the Broadcom team and everyone else who made this happen: you have my heartfelt thanks.

Where's the code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526804)

If you go look where the code is said to be, it's not there:

http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/gregkh/staging-next-2.6.git;a=tree;f=drivers/staging

And where's the license?

Hallelujah!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526858)

Sooo.... when does it trickle down to my laptop, so I can finally use it for some serious work for a change?

Documentation (2, Interesting)

sshore (50665) | about 4 years ago | (#33526868)

It's good that they've released source for drivers.

It would be better still if they released documentation for their hardware that would be adequate to write a driver.

It's said that source code is the best documentation, but it only documents what the source is doing; not why it's doing it, what it could do, and what it shouldn't do.

Best documentation for a reason... (4, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | about 4 years ago | (#33526972)

Speaking as one who routinely works on open and closed projects, believing the documentation would be tempting, but usually a mistake.

The driver reflects the reality. If well commented (particularly if it has developers venting frustration), it really reflects the reality of how that doc got implemented in reality.

Often documentation is first written, then parts fabricated/code developed. When the fabricated parts come in, often there are minor different and/or incorrect interpretations of the spec, major enough to make the doc unusable, often minor enough to work with a change to the driver. When this happens, the driver will get updated, but going back to the documentation... No, not so much.

Particularly when it comes to the 'what it could do' part, at best it's not already done because they decided not to fund it and it is simply untested and may or may not work. Frequently it's because that capability was so fubared in testing that the feature was thrown over the fence to make a schedule.

Then you're doing it wrong (1)

Rix (54095) | about 4 years ago | (#33527048)

Proper code has comments with exactly that.

Re:Documentation (1)

domatic (1128127) | about 4 years ago | (#33527056)

True but I bet these drivers speak volumes to the devs who have been producing reverse engineered drivers. Since these will doubtless have to be tweaked to get into the Linux and BSD kernels I suppose the opportunity is there comment them enough to be fairish documentation.

I can't find the source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33526874)

"""
The driver is currently available in staging-next git tree, available at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/gregkh/staging-next-2.6.git

in the drivers/staging/brcm80211 directory.
"""

Do you see a brcm80211 directory here? I don't.
http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/gregkh/staging-next-2.6.git;a=tree;f=drivers/staging;h=3a9ba849b916d04ebe7f79dc02c31a46cea815e0;hb=HEAD

How about bnx2 gig-e blob firmware (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | about 4 years ago | (#33526904)

I hate having to jump through hoops to install debian on dell hardware.

Hooray! (1)

ReederDa (1874738) | about 4 years ago | (#33526928)

This will be awesome! I've been waiting and waiting for drivers for my wireless card to be released. Halelujiah!

Is it too late for Ubuntu 10.10 support? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#33527050)

Ubuntu 10.10 is in Beta, and presumably a feature freeze -- is it possible to sneak these into the development for 10.10? If there's one thing I hate about installing Linux on my netbook, it's getting the fscking wifi drivers working shuttling files via USB thumb drive because I lost the eithernet cable or don't have access to a physical port.
 
Yes, this is a real problem for some people, and many college dorms are starting to go wifi only, meaning you have to hijack a library or computerlab eithernet connection to fix the wifi on your linux netbook.

Re:Is it too late for Ubuntu 10.10 support? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33527096)

I asked about this and someone from the Ubuntu kernel team responded [stackexchange.com] , looks like we'll even get a backport for 10.04!

Re:Is it too late for Ubuntu 10.10 support? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#33527164)

Official support for backporting it to the 10.04 LTS release is fantastic news. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see unofficial backport support for 8.10-9.10. In this era, this is something that is just as important for laptop users as basic VGA or USB support.

LiveCD win! (1, Informative)

scrib (1277042) | about 4 years ago | (#33527326)

One of the biggest problems I faced was using a LiveCD to show off Linux.

"Here, boot with this and check it out!"
"Eh, kinda neat lookin'. How do I get online?"
"Well, hook your laptop to the router for a bit, or download some stuff onto a flash drive with another computer. Then you have to figure out exactly what model of wireless card you have and follow these arcane steps. No, it's easy, but you have to download these tools, too, to split the Windows driver files in... Wait, why are you booting back into Windows?"

It's really difficult to convince someone that Linux is as easy to use as Windows (in general, day to day work) when their first experience is struggling to make such basic things work.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?