×

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!

FSF Certifies Atheros-Based ThinkPenguin 802.11 N USB Adapter

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the going-free dept.

GNU is Not Unix 85

gnujoshua writes "You may recall that last Fall, the LulzBot AO-100 3D printer was awarded the use of the Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom certification mark. Today, the FSF announced certification of the ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB, Wireless N USB Adapter, which uses the Atheros ARAR9271 chip. The FSF's RYF certification requirements are focused on the software (not the hardware designs) of a product, which in this case was primarily the device firmware and ath9k-htc module in the Linux-libre kernel. (Disclosure: I work for the FSF.) There's also a cool story that is within this story... which is that the firmware for the Atheros AR9271 chipset was released as a result of a small device seller (ThinkPenguin) striking a deal with a large electronic device manufacturer (Qualcomm Atheros) to build a WLAN USB adapter that shipped with 100% free software firmware. This deal was possible largely because two motivated Qualcomm Atheros employees, Adrian Chadd and Luis Rodriguez, made the internal-push to get the firmware released as free software."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

85 comments

SLASHDOT = NO FREEDOM... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596623)

* Breaking news: currupt Slashdot administrators have modified the site's "lameness filter" to censor true and useful HOST file information. Slashdot admins collude with criminals to prevent you from learning about HOST files. Visit here [slashdot.org] for information Slashdot does not want you to see.

* Older news: corrupt Slashdot administration attempted to ban me for blowing the whistle on their illegal activities, while not banning the criminal who stalks, harasses, and impersonates me. Whistleblower abuse is a federal felony. Lunatic Slashdot admin's have been owned by me in so many tech debates over the past decade that they conspire with criminals to effetely & vainly *try* to "hide" my posts and censor me. Jealousy at it's finest.

=> Lawsuit's and criminal prosecution against Slashdot are now inevitable. Moderation+posting records will be sequestered and anyone acting aginst me will be dealt with permanently.

Previous notice:

A corrupt slashdot luser has pentrated the moderation system to downmod all my posts while impersonating me.

Nearly 330++ times that I know of @ this point for all of March/April 2013 so far, & others here have told you to stop - take the hint, lunatic (leave slashdot)...

Sorry folks - but whoever the nutjob is that's attempting to impersonate me, & upset the rest of you as well, has SERIOUS mental issues, no questions asked! I must've gotten the better of him + seriously "gotten his goat" in doing so in a technical debate & his "geek angst" @ losing to me has him doing the:

---

A.) $10,000 challenges, ala (where the imposter actually TRACKED + LISTED the # of times he's done this no less, & where I get the 330 or so times I noted above) -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3585795&cid=43285307 [slashdot.org]

&/or

B.) Reposting OLD + possibly altered models - (this I haven't checked on as to altering the veracity of the info. being changed) of posts of mine from the past here

---

(Albeit massively repeatedly thru all threads on /. this March/April 2013 nearly in its entirety thusfar).

* Personally, I'm surprised the moderation staff here hasn't just "blocked out" his network range yet honestly!

(They know it's NOT the same as my own as well, especially after THIS post of mine, which they CAN see the IP range I am coming out of to compare with the ac spamming troll doing the above...).

APK

P.S.=> Again/Stressing it: NO guys - it is NOT me doing it, as I wouldn't waste that much time on such trivial b.s. like a kid might...

Plus, I only post where hosts file usage is on topic or appropriate for a solution & certainly NOT IN EVERY POST ON SLASHDOT (like the nutcase trying to "impersonate me" is doing for nearly all of March/April now, & 330++ times that I know of @ least)... apk

P.S.=> here [slashdot.org] is CORRECT host file information just to piss off the insane lunatic troll.

--


CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]
CENSORED BY SLASHDOT [slashdot.org]

Re:SLASHDOT = NO FREEDOM... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596827)

LOL, yeah, the slashdot LAME filter rejects your 2 million lines HOSTS file. I guess they finally got something right.

My Panties want to be free! ...apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596833)

*Breaking news: I was about strangled by my own underwear when I learned that my local district attorney wouldn't hear my case about the WHISTLE BLOWER harrasment and outright ABUSE I suffer here on slashdot! He told me to get out of his office, and take my medication! He said if I ever came back, he would have me comitted! CLEARLY the conspiracy at slashdot has deep roots, and all those evil lawyers on slashdot have teamed up with the other abusive moderators to DENY ME JUSTICE!

My friend the pink unicorn tells me that if I just try harder, and refuse to let them crush my spirit, that the TRUTH about the HOSTS file and the evil slashdot lusers who conspire to downmod and hide my posts will finally come out, and I will be a hero to millions! I believe him! He's never lied to me!

Afterall, I've totally PWN'd them at every turn, forcing them to turn to such clearly despicable tactics as DARING to suppress the TRUTH of the HOSTS file in EVERY altercation so far! I even showed that Cornelius guy what for when he misspelled "penetration" on his blog! Jeeze, what a tool! *Clearly* I am the superior intellect here! My friend the Pink unicorn assures me that someday, someday soon, I will finally be recognized as the GENIUS I clearly am!

Until then, I must continue to fight off the strangulating chokehold my panties tie themselves up in every time I get so disgracefully modded -1 troll, and push on, posting the TRUTH that slashot's panty posessing moderators and admins want to HIDE!

Re:My Panties want to be free! ...apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596999)

Stop with the panties, seriously, I'm actually going to vomit.

Jeremiah Cornelius: Grow up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43605983)

You're embarassing yourself Jeremiah Cornelius http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3581857&cid=43276741 [slashdot.org] since you posted that using your registered username by mistake (instead of your usual anonymous coward submissions by the 100's the past 2-3 months now on slashdot) giving away it's you spamming this forums almost constantly, just as you have in the post I just replied to. Wasn't it embarassing enough MICROSOFT FIRED YOU?

Having trouble posting, aren't you, Paul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43607785)

You fail it, Paul. Your skill is not enough.

Re:Having trouble posting, aren't you, Paul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43616113)

Jeremiah Cornelius failed at Microsoft. His being fired proved his lack of skill was not enough.

Re:Having trouble posting, aren't you, Paul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43630185)

Hello Paul.

Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (4, Informative)

acariquara (753971) | about a year ago | (#43596697)

Looks like the price of freedom is pretty steep.

It's not like we are starved for wifi dongles that "just work" on Linux without NDISWrapper. We're not in 2003.

eg: http://dx.com/p/802-11n-150mbps-wifi-wlan-wireless-network-usb-adapter-53538 [dx.com] $10 bucks including shipping, and there are TONS cheaper than this. I just looked for one that specifically said "Linux compatible".

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (4, Informative)

alantus (882150) | about a year ago | (#43596767)

Looks like the price of freedom is pretty steep.

It's not like we are starved for wifi dongles that "just work" on Linux without NDISWrapper. We're not in 2003.

eg: http://dx.com/p/802-11n-150mbps-wifi-wlan-wireless-network-usb-adapter-53538 [dx.com] $10 bucks including shipping, and there are TONS cheaper than this. I just looked for one that specifically said "Linux compatible".

As a matter of fact, I wish it "just worked".
I have one of these dongles, and last time I tried to use it I was hitting this bug:
https://lists.ath9k.org/pipermail/ath9k-devel/2011-November/007467.html [ath9k.org]

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43597009)

Now that the firmware source is open and the UART wiring instructions are public, there's enough basic stuff there to figure it out.

We're digging up instructions for JTAG debugging.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43597127)

As a matter of fact, I wish it "just worked".
I have one of these dongles, and last time I tried to use it I was hitting this bug:
https://lists.ath9k.org/pipermail/ath9k-devel/2011-November/007467.html [ath9k.org]

This is a bug from November 2011 is against the same chipset. But, it was a module that was loading proprietary firmware.

The firmware was released as free software within the past couple of months. So, now instead of the ath9k kernel module folks having to treat the firmware as a black box, they can file bugs [github.com] and submit patches [github.com] to the firmware itself.

The reason we certified this device is because it carries freedom to the user. Not arbitrary freedoms, but the specific freedoms to run the program, share it with others, make modifications to the source code, and share modified versions of the source. With this freedom, a user can not only work with others to find and eliminate bugs, but they can find ways to adapt and improve the software so as to squeeze the most they can out of the device. The same can't be said with the 2011 adapters that shipped with this chipset.

And, this isn't just idle speculation. Already we have seen a fair bit of cooperation between this firmwares lead developers and the ath9k module maintainers. I would be very surprised if the almost two-year old bug you pointed to still exists. But if it does, then at least I know you and I can easily reach out to a trustworthy community of free software hackers to explain to us the problem.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (4, Insightful)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | about a year ago | (#43597401)

If I can spend 10% and it works, I'm happy.

http://dx.com/p/ultra-mini-nano-usb-2-0-802-11n-b-g-150mbps-wi-fi-wlan-wireless-network-adapter-black-71905 [dx.com]

Therefore, I am happy.

Enjoy your purity. I'll enjoy my $48.60 in leftover money.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43597629)

Enjoy making the world a crappier place, retarding the progress of science, and generally screwing the world up for your kids.

I dont know how much you lose when you are offline for an hour, but it would take me at least that long to drive in to replace one of these things, and that's more than the dongle costs however you look at it. So as I see it you are penny-wise but dollar (and otherwise) foolish.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598509)

Ok, great argument. But if money is on the line, why are you using random unsupported driver that was thrown on to some FTP site? Shouldn't you have considered this before your NIC blew-up due to some obscure technical issue?

And I'm sure your employer is paying you to work, not shop for obscure USB dongles because Linux is too shitty to support your laptop hardware properly. The economically rational thing to do would be to replace you with a Mac user who has a unix system that came from the factory with working drivers. Per your own argument, that is.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598609)

Your "economically rational" thing ends up working like this: You buy the Apple product that definitely 100% works no problem. It doesn't work. Apple says "Oh, really? Too bad". You buy something else, you write off the enormous cost of the non-solution, you sigh at the people insisting that won't happen. Really. This is how big IT projects mire themselves, they rely on some God-like single supplier (Apple in your case) and then get bitten because the God-like supplier doesn't give a shit. Freedom means you can find somebody for whom making stuff work is important, e.g. because your contract is more than a negligible fraction of their income. There are dozens, probably hundreds of independent companies and individual contract workers with Linux expertise, and only one Apple Computer Inc.

Also, nobody is adding these USB dongles to a laptop because "Linux is too shitty". They're using USB dongles in a wide variety of embedded and lightweight applications where Apple don't supply any equipment at all. Although in your head an elevator is probably a Mac Book plus an iMac plus two Mac Book Airs to make the "bong" noise when it arrives at a floor, in reality it doesn't have any Apple components at all - even the ones at One Infinite Loop don't. Linux is used, like it's used everywhere else, because it works. Crazy huh?

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600107)

You buy the Apple product that definitely 100% works no problem. It doesn't work. Apple says "Oh, really? Too bad".

Typical AC bring Apple into a conversation by making shit up. Apple has great customer support.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#43602977)

Having supported Apple in the enterprise, I will respectfully disagree. When a Dell has an issue, you call Dell. They send out a part, and offer a technician to replace it. When an Apple has an issue, you drive a half hour to the mall, wait 2 hours in line to talk to the technician, only to have them take the computer into the back room and have you return in a few days. Which is the good tech support?

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43605529)

I don't think you are comparing Apples-to-Apples, if you will forgive the pun. When Apple had Enterprise hardware (XServes) could could indeed pay Apple for Enterprise level support where Apple would send a technition (usually the same folks as Dell sends) to get you the part installed after you talked it out with an Apple Enterprise support person on the phone. And they even had a couple of service levels gaurenteeing timly delivery. So very similar to Dell.

Since they no longer have Enterprise hardware, that level of support is no longer avalible on any hardware. There are still a couple of support levels avalible to large organizations, but my guess is that you are not large enough of a customer to make those worth-while.

On the smaller, more customer focused level, if you have a desktop computer and AppleCare then it used to be that you could call AppleCare and with only a small bit of talking (e.g.: saying "I don't want to take this in"), they would send out a technition to your home/place of buisness. Laptops were always send-in, but they would send you the pre-paid box, and the whole process was pretty easy. In my expereience this was exactly the same level of experience I was getting with my Dell support calls, but the people on the phone with AppleCare tended to be better (at least for the first couple of levels). I pretty much knew the ways of clearing thorugh the first level support, and after that things were more even.

It has been a while since I have been in that sort of position (4-5 years), so things might have changed, but my read of things from conversations with others is that they are mostly the same. I think that most of the difference in your experience is that you knew what to do with Dell, but were only doing Macs "on the side".

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600617)

Enjoy making the world a crappier place, retarding the progress of science, and generally screwing the world up for your kids.

What if the time and money he saves trying to make this overly expensive dongle work right on his laptop lets him work longer on a cure for cancer instead?

^ This is how retarded you look. I can play the logical fallacy game too.

If anything you freetards have "slowed down progress" more than proprietary software ever did anyway. Why not work on Linux rather than the heap of crap that is GNU Hurd? Do you not want the planet to progress faster instead of working on unimportant useless shit?

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43599505)

Enjoy your purity. I'll enjoy my $48.60 in leftover money.

Good point, we should be prepared to do anything for money.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about a year ago | (#43602283)

Reminds me of this joke:

A man walks into a bar and sits down. A woman walks up to him and starts talking. He says "Would you sleep with me for $1 million?". "Sure", she replies. "How about $10,000?", he counters. "What do you think I am, a hooker?", she retorts. He responds, "We've already established that. Now we're just negotiating."

P.S. I will admit that I might have gotten the second number wrong.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | about a year ago | (#43602049)

Enjoy your purity. I'll enjoy my $48.60 in leftover money.

Every man has his price. Now we know yours.

Crap hardware, no support, a month in waiting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43602411)

Your a jackass, die, you piece of shit.

I'm glad my $46.80 is going to ThinkPenguin because they've got one of the best track records on bringing *good* hardware and support to market. It is such a pain to order hardware from overseas only to find out the chipset has changed, or it's total crap, or I can't get support, etc. The company contributes a substantial amount of money to free software and if your not willing to throw in a few extra dollars toward that goal fine. But don't go criticizing the company or the rest of us here who are.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600305)

https://github.com/qca/open-ath9k-htc-firmware/issues/1

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43606607)

2 years later and the bug is still there.

Thanks for the link.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43596857)

Freedom isnt about cheap and it never was.

A dongle that 'just works' today with a particular binary wont necessarily work tomorrow on a different machine or after a simple recompile with different options, let alone after a major software upgrade.

At the moment this appears to be the only properly supported wireless dongle on the market. It should be no surprise it's a little more expensive than the junk.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43597149)

Sure, there's a point to buying quality hardware, but at the same time, why is buying a $54 dongle and keeping it for a long time better than buying a $20 one today and buying an improved one for $20 sometime in the future.

This isn't 2004, you really don't have to search for laptops/wireless dongles that support Linux, its a rarity if they don't support Linux.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43597479)

Sure, there's a point to buying quality hardware, but at the same time, why is buying a $54 dongle and keeping it for a long time better than buying a $20 one today and buying an improved one for $20 sometime in the future.

Primarily because doing so sends a clear signal to suppliers that we ARE willing to pay extra to get something done right.

Secondarily because buying the "improved one" should be done on my timescale and for my reasons, not forced because I have a piece of junk that wont work properly.

This isn't 2004, you really don't have to search for laptops/wireless dongles that support Linux, its a rarity if they don't support Linux.

To the contrary, although it is not 2004 and some things have improved, I still count one single dongle that actually supports GNU/Linux properly. One.

Supporting one or many binary distributions of GNU/Linux does not constitute proper support. Meeting the criteria [fsf.org] for this particular certification does.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43599121)

Primarily because doing so sends a clear signal to suppliers that we ARE willing to pay extra to get something done right.

But that's not true. Actually, you're willing to pay extra to get something done over right. You only have to pay again because they did it wrong the first time. I'll support the manufacturer who does it right the first time, and doesn't expect me to pay them to do it again the way they should have done it once.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599345)

What is "over right"? What did they do wrong that you'd repay for the same thing?

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (3, Insightful)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43597495)

The people that want to do dirty hacks, like mesh or TDMA offload on the USB NIC.

Or even improved hostap support.

Or an experimental platform for ${THING_YOU_HAVENT_THOUGHT_OF_YET}.

Yes, you can buy cheaper NICs. Same as buying cheaper anything. But here's a USB NIC with a well-understood wifi part (AR9285 on-die) and now open firmware with open tools to fiddle with the thing. If the FSF and manufacturers manage to ship a million units, great. I'm happy just knowing that people are doing interesting stuff with it. Doubly so if I haven't thought of it yet. Triply so if it's cool and turns out to be transferrable to the other Atheros wifi hardware out there.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | about a year ago | (#43599305)

Srsly. Since when does a piddly $54 scare away a bona fide nerd. Having tools like this around when you have an epiphany on the crapper is priceless. I mean, come on, any of you could wipe your ass with $54 and still have plenty where that came from...

Ohhh...wait....I just realized something

::cue Willy Wonka meme face::

some of them think playing D&D and working at Burger King makes them nerds...how adorable

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

acariquara (753971) | about a year ago | (#43600509)

Srsly. Since when does a piddly $54 scare away a bona fide nerd. Having tools like this around when you have an epiphany on the crapper is priceless. I mean, come on, any of you could wipe your ass with $54 and still have plenty where that came from...

I was going to buy FOUR of them to hack and play around with small devices like the Raspberry Pi. Balked at the $216 price tag and never came back. Don't judge.
We have $25 single-board computers [raspberrypi.org] and $25 OpenWRT-enabled routers WITH USB SUPPORT (TP-Link WR703N) [dx.com].

A $54 Wifi dongle is, no matter how you put it, downright stupid.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43600413)

I will buy a $54 dongle if it means that I can include it within my embedded devices and not have to worry about the next linux kernel update supporting it.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43600573)

Here's irony: the difference between the $20 dongle you bought and threw away and the $20 dongle you replaced it with (and the next $20 dongle you buy to obsolete the second one) may just be in firmware. Firmware that, if you'd paid the money up-front, you could have flashed from open-source repositories and had the exact same features... for $0 extra.

BTW, the entire premise that you have to constantly, obsessively, upgrade hardware is foolish. Just thought you should know.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about a year ago | (#43601109)

BTW, the entire premise that you have to constantly, obsessively, upgrade hardware is foolish. Just thought you should know.

Thanks for saying that.

It bugs me to no end that we mindlessly dump perfectly good electronics into our landfills all for the sake of having the latest and greatest, rather than improved functionality (which, most of these hardware upgrades don't provide).

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#43603085)

I am curious, does this mean better Kismet support? Can we now do wardriving without $300 adapters or do spectrum analyzing to pick the best frequency to run our wireless on to not interfere with the neighbors?

http://www.kismetwireless.net/ [kismetwireless.net]

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43604569)

The AR9280 and later NICs support spectrum analyser mode, as a diagnostic thing.

Yes, this includes the AR7010+AR9280, AR7010+AR9287, and the AR9271 (which is an AR9285 wifi core.)

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596875)

Cheap Wifi dongles are very problematic and have a history of issues as alantus suggests. Having a completely open Wifi dongle is a Very Good Thing (tm) as many (or all) of these issues will be moot. Plus, if something stops working correctly the device firmware is out there to troubleshoot.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596993)

I've used this for years with Linux and it's the best wifi card I've ever used: http://www.amazon.com/Alfa-AWUS036H-Upgraded-Wireless-Long-Rang/dp/B000QYGNKQ

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43597037)

Hey, don't use the word 'dongle', its use sexually harasses women (whether they realize it or not) as well as effeminate XY cross-gender creatures.. Their feelings matter more than your lazy use of the language.

for the intellectually stunted: /sarcasm

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598459)

Looks like the price of freedom is pretty steep.

If you buy based solely on price, all other features will disappear sooner or later. It's your choice. Vote with your wallet, as long as you can.

Otherwise... happy race to the bottom. Have fun down there.

Re:Yeah, but $54 for a USB Wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598485)

Good point, I usually buy them on ebay from China for 5 to 10 bucks. You can enjoy your sweet expensive freedom - it is on available over here anyway.

ThinkPenguin 802.11 n USB adapter... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596729)

...Now neckbeard compliant!

Re:ThinkPenguin 802.11 n USB adapter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598571)

So you insult a hardware vendor who respects your freedom and implicitely advertise closed/proprietary hardware, right?

Does it hurt?

Re:ThinkPenguin 802.11 n USB adapter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43601913)

You're trying way too hard.

Re:ThinkPenguin 802.11 n USB adapter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43602179)

This was not really trying hard. I didn't even link to the FSF website.

Master Mode (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43596803)

one thing i noticed last week on ThinkPenguin is that their adapters generally support Master Mode making it easy to build access points. i don't think this can be said for most adapters requiring ndiswrapper.

Re:Master Mode (1)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43597091)

The underlying wifi parts are the same as the PCI(e) chips of that era; the same basic features are supported.

Re:Master Mode (1)

laing (303349) | about a year ago | (#43597155)

Whether or not it supports master mode is the first thing I looked for on the product page. It doesn't say whether it does or not anywhere. If it did, I would buy one today.

Re:Master Mode (5, Informative)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43597187)

The wifi part of the hardware does. One of the reasons we opened up the firmware was to let people at it to make it better at supporting master mode.

The NIC has a small embedded CPU to act as a PCIeUSB gateway and a small amount of RAM to run code and buffer frames. The problem with master mode is the amount of RAM that you need for each associated station. So there's been discussion about moving some of the stuff done in the NIC CPU (transmit aggregation, rate control) into the host, so the NIC itself doesn't need to store (that much|any) per-station state.

Re:Master Mode (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43597609)

So what exactly happens, with the provided firmware, when the onboard RAM is exhausted?

Re:Master Mode (3, Informative)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43598029)

Things then crash. :-)

Embedded software looks different to your Linux/FreeBSD kernel development. There's fixed buffers allocated for things. Once those buffers are full, everything stops until they're not full.

If you want more information please subscribe to the ath9k firmware list and ask questions there. I'd rather everyone benefit from the answers!

Re:Master Mode (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43598125)

I probably wouldnt recognise your typical modern *nix development, I havent had the slightest thing to do with development since the 90s. It was just a question of curiosity. That said, the stuff I vaguely remember probably looks more like what is done now in embedded systems than elsewhere I would guess.

Hopefully it doesnt really crash, it just quits accepting new clients? If it really crashes that does not sound like good design. If it quits accepting new clients, then in effect the available RAM produces a limit on number of connections, software works as designed within limitations.

If it genuinely crashes yikes. Rewrite it somehow to swap some connections out to virtual (i.e. main) memory? But what kind of performance overhead would that incur?

Feel free to ignore me, I am fascinated but extremely unlikely to actually produce any patches.

Re:Master Mode (3, Interesting)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43598371)

The master mode operation in firmware right now is limited to a handful (4? 8?) clients.

Whatever the max is before it runs out of RAM.

I think it just refuses to take on new associations.

Re:Master Mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600359)

To his point it would look like a 'crash' as everything would basically stop working.

In a typical 'programming' environment you use things like malloc/free to get and release memory. In an embedded environment it is usually allocated at compile time and is a particular offset in memory or at best on the fixed sized stack. They then (if they are being diligent) check for overruns of said buffers (as that can lead to exploits of your firmware). You try to avoid malloc/free as much as possible as it usually ends up fragmenting your heap memory (if you have it). Some firmware shops go as far as to outlaw malloc/free type operations.

Think of 258k (if your lucky) of RAM. These things also typically have less than a meg (usually much less) of memory. So they are very careful how memory is laid out. They also typically do not have access to main memory at all. They are usually self contained in their own little world. They could put something in to 'swap out' but the swap out cost would be huge. In this case it probably would be 10-20+ frames of data. Which would make your connection seem flakey.

Why is it so very last-generation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43597407)

USB 1x1, 2.4GHz only? That's five bucks on eBay. Couldn't it at least be a dual-band radio?

Apparently the cost of freedom is not being able to connect to my network, I'm in a highrise and there are 40 APs fighting over three channels that I can see from where I sit, 5GHz is the ONLY way to get things done.

And, hey, why not fight for a 802.11ac radio? 802.11n is last year's tech, and these guys are going to have to go another ten rounds with Atheros if they want to be able to make another model. What was the rationale behind starting off with something that is soon to be obsolete?

Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (3, Informative)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43597507)

The FSF decided to investigate this AR9271 part. I'm not sure why.

The AR7010+AR9280 NICs are dual-band. There's AR7010+AR9283 NICs that are 2x2 2.4ghz only. The AR7010+AR9287 NICs are also 2x2 2.4GHz only but support a few newer things (like short-GI in 20MHz mode, and generally better behaviour all around.)

Hopefully the FSF certifies the AR7010 based firmware devices too. But, they've chosen this one and I'm glad they saw it through.

I don't know if there's a hardware list that shows the dual-band ath9k_htc hardware. But it's out there, somewhere.

Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (1)

gnujoshua (540710) | about a year ago | (#43599963)

The FSF decided to investigate this AR9271 part. I'm not sure why.

The reason is because RYF certification is not simply done on software for a given chipset. RYF certification works by us entering into a formal agreement with a company that sells hardware. The agreement states that the company can display the RYF certification mark on all products that pass our testing and certification process so long as that company agrees to meet various requirements [fsf.org]; we agree to do a limited amount of promotion on the product (press release, listing the product on our site, etc). In this case, the agreement is with ThinkPenguin and the product we tested and certified is the TPE-N150USB.

Over time we will certify more products and enter into agreements with more companies. I hope that people will come to trust the RYF certification mark and seek it out when looking to purchase computers and other hardware products — thus making it valuable to both the buyer and seller.

If you know a company selling devices with these other chipsets that support free firmware, or really any company selling hardware that supports 100% free software, please email us to let us know [mailto], and maybe send that company a link to FSF.org/RYF [fsf.org] and encourage them to consider applying for certification.

Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#43597667)

Unfortunately, at the moment, the manufacturers perceive the proprietariness of their products as a value. You see how much this costs as is?

But it's real. Every bit is there, driver, firmware, documentation. This thing will be supported as long as there is one old hacker that has one and doesnt like to replace a working part.

And honestly, I know, I like having the latest and greatest when I can too, but can you please quit shitting on those less fortunate? USB 1.1 is 12mbps and there are a lot of people trying to work on less than that. I have the best service available in my area and it would not be a bottleneck in my system. (Not that I run critical systems on wireless anyway, it's ethernet, but if I needed to run something wireless the USB 1.1 throughput limit wouldnt slow me down.)

Last years tech fully and truly available is infinitely better than this years tech locked away where I can never see it, even if I did supposedly buy the hardware. And hopefully this will lead to the manufacturers starting to figure this stuff out and doing more of it.

Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43598433)

This thing will be supported as long as there is one old hacker that has one and doesnt like to replace a working part.

First, a USB device is designed to be easily replaceable. Second, imagine that we have open sourced design of Pentium II. How much interest would that generate? In just a year or two it might be hard to find a hacker who'd want to deal with obsolete stuff - and WiFi stuff gets obsolete faster than you can put the credit card back into the wallet.

It is certainly possible that someone, somewhere, buys a COTS consumer-level part, sticks it into the server, and then 10 years later is unwilling to replace the whole module when it fails. But that's what people deal with every single day in the industry and elsewhere - things fail and they need replacement. I would be far more concerned that the hardware of this dongle fails 10 years later - where would you get a replacement then?

This whole approach appeals to too few people. Most are pragmatists. A pragmatic approach means that when the thing fails, there will be money and resources to replace whatever needs replacement. If no money is available, then I guess the project is not that important, after all.

I do not know what business would be attracted by this specific dongle just on the basis that it is documented. This whole concept is way above the pay grade of pretty much everyone who works in IT. It is not even feasible, in most cases, for an IT guy to start a science project to debug a problematic device. This is handled by simple replacement of what doesn't work. This method offers fixed and predictable duration of repair. Hacking a driver, on a live system ... well, there are crazier things to do, but not too many.

There is only one useful function that is directly fulfilled by this product - and that is creation of completely free computing systems. Days are coming (perhaps not tomorrow, but who knows?) when RMS's dark prophecy [gnu.org] materializes in laws and COTS hardware like WinRT, that denies you, the owner, the right to use the equipment as you see fit. There are F/OSS designs of the CPU and other key blocks already. This is another addition to the collection. Perhaps the hardware will be obsoleted and not available anymore (quite soon, actually, considering that every new IC has about 6 to 9 months on the market before it is obsoleted and replaced with something else.) But the principles of operation may be useful if one wants to build a free computing system.

This function - a free computer - is very important. However, just as nearly all things that are good for the society (and the soul,) there is very little financial reward for doing good deeds. I understand pretty well how much labor went into development of the hardware, MCU software, and the PC software to make the thing work. I do some of that, now and then, for living. This is a good thing to do; but expect no monetary reward. The cost of the device is high, and only a handful of devotees will invest. (There are many devotees, but not too many will support F/OSS by buying the device.) I, for one, simply have no need for such a product - all my computers have built-in WiFi, not that I use it much anyway. Cable is more reliable, and has no interference from neighbors, and nosy Google cannot intercept it easily.

Re:Why is it so very last-generation? (2)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#43598911)

Uh, you misread part of the complaint.

USB 1x1 isn't the same as USB 1.1. The latter is a spec. The former refers to the antenna configuration. The poster was taking issue with the lack of MIMO and single-band radio, not speed of the USB bus.

http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/2009/110909wireless2.html [networkworld.com]

I'm not disputing your points, just correcting your error.

Can't even buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43597599)

It doesn't appear to accept my Gmail address as valid, and thinks I have a space at the end of my user name. Cant even buy it on my lunch break.

FS what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43597603)

sorry i have never heard of this organizaton.

oh wait. its run by RMS? the guy who thinks pedophilia is A OK?

The God of deuteronomy does aswell. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598099)

Deuteronomy 22 28-29 (in hebrew).
2 Samual 12 (little lamb).

Young girls have always been good wives for men. They are often sweet, love the man, and gentle. They are also more likely to be interested in the things men are interested in (video games, exploring, etc etc having fun) rather than things women are interested in (scandals, soft power, manipulation games).

Who cares? (1)

rlh100 (695725) | about a year ago | (#43598087)

I have used free software starting with inews on the extra tape archive on the SunOS (not Solaris) 1.X and 2.X 1/4" QIC cartridge boot tapes.

The FSF with its devotion to making everything it touches be free of copyright restrictions and to require you to publish any code that touches the FSF code has relegated itself to irrelevance. A $54 USB WIFI adaptor. Whoopdedo.

I have moved on. Most of the open source software i use has a far less restrictive Berkeley or Apache style license.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598565)

I don't see a problem with $54. I see a problem with $54 2.4 GHz only. Sorry, I am not going to buy anything that doesn't do 5 GHz these days, full stop.

Re:Who cares? (2)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43601237)

.. you mean, how the firmware is clearbsd licenced?

Except for the Tensilica runtime, that's MIT licenced?

Except for two GPLv2 files from ECoS? Which state that only those two files fall under GPL, not the rest of the stuff it's compiled with?

I'm pretty sure it's free like you wish. You can create a closed source derivative of the firmware if you so choose.

free frimware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599685)

In the USA,the FCC has very strict rules on transmit power, ...... Mess with one of these, get a complaint, and you risk losing you adapter, and getting a large fine, So if you can afford a 10k fine, go mess with the firmware, otherwise just study it. and leave it alone.
Buy the way, any change you make would have to be certified by the FCC as being compliant and that can be expensive.
1) get a HAM liscense.
2) Learn the rules on EMI and transmitter power, side band emmision, interferance.
3) purchase the equipment to measure it,( this will cost a lot of money)
4)make sure that after your test, that the default firmware is loaded and you use it
5) be very careful. Changing the transmitter or receiver characteristics could be illegal in any country, Some countries will be less amused than others.
6) use the firmware to study, and learn about the are of radio. Make changes at your own risk of a fine of Jail time, depending on country.

from a ham who wants to keep his ham liscense

73's

Re:free frimware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600141)

In the USA,the FCC has very strict rules on transmit power, ...... Mess with one of these, get a complaint, and you risk losing you adapter, and getting a large fine, So if you can afford a 10k fine, go mess with the firmware, otherwise just study it. and leave it alone.
Buy the way, any change you make would have to be certified by the FCC as being compliant and that can be expensive.
1) get a HAM liscense.
2) Learn the rules on EMI and transmitter power, side band emmision, interferance.
3) purchase the equipment to measure it,( this will cost a lot of money)
4)make sure that after your test, that the default firmware is loaded and you use it
5) be very careful. Changing the transmitter or receiver characteristics could be illegal in any country, Some countries will be less amused than others.
6) use the firmware to study, and learn about the are of radio. Make changes at your own risk of a fine of Jail time, depending on country.

from a ham who wants to keep his ham liscense

73's

1st, ham is not an acronym, so quit capitalizing it like one.

2nd, it's spelled license. Or licence in the UK. Never liscence, you twit.

3rd, the FCC just doesn't care. This isn't like interfering with a commercial licensee -- someone else has to get annoyed enough to put the FCC onto you in the 1st place because they just don't care about people interfering with Part 97 (ham) or Part 15 (unlicensed stuff including wifi), and even if you bug someone who then gets the FCC up off their arse and they bust you, their response 1st offense is almost always termination of licenses and seizure of equipment -- they rarely levy the fine until a second offense, even though they could. Sure, if you have a ham license (or commercial or other radio license) and some expensive radios, you're at risk of losing all that, so caution is justified -- but in simple fact, people without any sort of radio license just don't have to worry about it.

4th, not every change you can make to firmware alters the transmitted signal -- you can change stuff pertaining to the interface to the host driver, no problem. It's remains somewhat unclear what the legal status w/r/t the FCC certification of the device is for these sort of firmware tweaks, and thus caution advises avoiding it, but as a practical matter, if your changes have nothing to do with the output, you just don't need to worry at all. Moreover, if you have a ham license, and you can do what you want while operating under Part 97 rules, you don't need FCC certification at all, no matter how much you modify it. Of course you still are responsible to get it right, so you gotta have the tools and skills to test it, but you don't also have to pay a lab to verify it.

73 de ab9ul

Re:free frimware (1)

gnujoshua (540710) | about a year ago | (#43600567)

Buy the way, any change you make would have to be certified by the FCC as being compliant and that can be expensive.

I'm pretty sure this is not true. I recently read a tech topic [fcc.gov] blog on the FCC site that states,

WLAN was originally designed and developed as a home networking technology for nomadic users to wirelessly extend an Ethernet equivalent local area network (LAN) using shared communications media among a group of users through a wireless connection that operates at relatively short distances. WLAN uses license-exempt spectrum bands regulated by FCC rules, 47 C.F.R. Part 15.2 The FCC originally conceived the license-exempt bands to provide a no-cost slice of public access spectrum with only two provisions. First, the transmitter could cause no harmful interference to any nearby licensed services, and secondly, any receiver in this band must be able to accept any interference that may be present. Subsequently, the first wireless LAN was developed by the IEEE 802.11 standards committee (widely known as Wireless Fidelity or 'Wi-Fi' and 'Radio LAN') in 1997. Interestingly, the Wi-Fi standards were a response on the part of industry to the relatively restriction free use of the license-exempt spectrum allocation and rules.

2: See http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_07/47cfr15_07.html [gpo.gov] for the Part 15 rules. Note that the letter versions of the standards are not chronologically consistent since version (b) actually came before (a)!

But, even if you were right, it's important to know that you don't have to hack alone. You can work with others. Let's say you are worried some change you want to make could lead to some malfunction which would boost the signal. You could file a feature request to the project and see if someone else will make the change and test it. Or, if you make the change in code and are worried about installing it yourself, submit the patch upstream and see if others can review the code and test it for you. Just because things could potentially go wrong doesn't mean we should live in fear and abstain from using, fixing, or customizing our software.

Control your hardware, don't let it control you. =]

really? (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43599867)

Too bad Atheros makes the lowest end garbage pile of chips, especially wireless ones. They're in all the cheapest laptops. They fail all the time, generate 1990's era hardware errors, and have the worst driver support imaginable.

Re:really? (2)

adri (173121) | about a year ago | (#43601275)

Atheros make high end and low end chips. It's up to the manufacturers as to what they choose. They choose price. Sad, but true.

You can buy the higher-end 2x2 and 3x3 devices. The unit prices are more than the low end chips.

Driver support? It's up to the company you bought the laptop from, not Atheros. Atheros only makes the chips. We don't make the NICs or the rest of the device. Especially in the windows world, vendors have a habit of doing 'strange ass shit' here and there. Please don't blame QCA for the weird, cheap-ass, cost-cutting crap that goes on elsewhere.

We need a lot more of this (2)

ikhider (2837593) | about a year ago | (#43601247)

I picked up a Think Penguin wifi adapter for my machine and am happy to support the cause because it is a worthy goal. It is not about "purity" as some put it, rather for technology as a whole to advance in a stable, more beneficial direction for all. Patent laws were originally used to encourage inventors to share ideas without fear of loss of credit. Those patent laws were subsequently perverted by corporations so they can litigate people out of their inventions and claim benefits for their own interests. A great article, "Land of Wizards" by Tom Wolfe describes how inventors are constantly swindled out of their creations and how the patent system is flawed. I read this after Stallman's excellent "Free Software, Free Society" and realized that the current rules hinder creativity and inventiveness. The FOSS ideals return the benefits of inventiveness back to the populace rather than just corporate cabals. I also picked up the Thinkpenguin ogg player. While the quality of that unit may not be up to snuff compared to its proprietary cousins, I hope my support will lead to better players down the road. I heard that development of the ogg format currently stalled, which would be a shame. Hopefully my small purchases and posts encourage development. I am tremendously heartened to see companies like Thinkpenguin making this stuff available and that great quality distros like Trisquel (which I use) exist. I hope other Libre distros pick up traction and get more developers to encourage the spirit of creativity and inventiveness for all.

new iphone 5 offer for usa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43601643)

http://earningonline2.blogspot.com/

RYF certification is great; newer hardware tech? (1)

RanceJustice (2028040) | about a year ago | (#43606439)

I applaud the idea and implementation of the RYF certification; its nice to know that the software/firmware/drivers etc... needed to run a given piece of hardware are "verified" FOSS meaning that it is going to work just about everywhere (sometimes by default, like merged into Linux kernels, sometimes with a little work such as if someone wants to modify the damn thing to work in a special capacity). I'm even willing to a pay a reasonable amount more for RYF certified software/hardware. In an age where everything is obfuscated for the purpose of attempting to mine as much money and personal information from the populace as possible, we need principled, open entities out there certifying everything from respecting one's software freedom to respecting one's privacy (ie I'd like to see EFF, pirate parties, TOR etc...and other privacy advocates get together and certify the implementation of software and services as respecting one's privacy, being transparent with the "costs" associated etc..).

However, I have to say that for a large percentage of less hardcore uses, the fact that the first device certified via RYF is based on what is now older technology (combined with the extremely high price of the item in relation to others) it is going to appear that the FSF (and perhaps, Linux users as a whole) are glossing over the real-world usability and performance in favor of licensing. This 802.11N adapter for instance is based on 2x2, ~150mb max bandwidth, which is amongst the eldest of the now-old-hat 802.11N standard. On top of this, it is being sold for ~$50 USD! When one considers that a user could easily find a $5-10 similar USB adapter out there (that in many cases, will end up working on Linux) it is going to be hard to justify to all but the most fervent Free Software aficionados who have the skill and desire to put together a product that specifically benefits from RYF certification.

Considering that these days there are a variety of chipsets where the source is available (Intel, Atheros, Broadcoms) etc.. would there have been a better debut? I realize that it may be a bit much to ask as of yet for there to be a RYF 802.11AC chipset vetted (though, it would be awesome if the in the Asus RT-AC66U, could be RYF - given that the firmware is based on WRT etc...)would it be really difficult to find one of the most recent 802.11N 3x3 5ghz+2.4ghz Dual Band 450mb+450mb (or even 450+300? 300+300?) adapters instead? Those would be be more likely to be useful for typical wireless connectivity duties today (ie connecting to a share/streaming HD content...), and are relatively affordable ($15-45 or so depending. There are even some 802.11AC adapter that are even faster and are only in the $40-60 range!). Asking a user to purchase generations-older tech variants, for a high price, that may not have any directly visible benefit to said user, is going to be a hard sell indeed. It just seems like that there were likely a number of alternatives that could have been vetted instead and that the RYF certification, combined with a reasonable price, would actually inspire the community to seek out RYF certified parts and thus bring attention to RYF, FOSS, and eventually inspire manufacturers to see the market finds these feature desirable Was this truly the best/only piece of hardware to debut the RYF label?

As an ideal the RYF certification sounds great, but really hope its implementation isn't going to turn into something that is only interested to most license-savvy FSF follower instead of showing the benefits of Free software to the masses and thus, inspire future developments in FOSS and RYF certified hardware.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...