Broadcom throws Linux a bone, open sources Wi-Fi drivers

Wireless chipmaker Broadcom Thursday announced it will be releasing a fully open source Linux driver for its current generation of 802.11n chipsets. This means that Wi-Fi, one of the most problematic peripherals in the entire Linux ecosystem, will become a lot simpler to set up.

"The driver, while still a work in progress, is released as full source and uses the native mac80211 stack. It supports multiple current chips (BCM4313, BCM43224, BCM43225) as well as providing a framework for supporting additional chips in the future, including mac80211-aware embedded chips," Broadcom Scientist Henry Ptasinkski posted in a gmane newsgroup today.

With this driver source code available, Linux distributions can now include native support for certain Broadcom Wi-Fi chips. Until now, many of these required users to extract Broadcom's proprietary firmware and replace it with custom firmware in order for certain wireless devices to work. Even then, many Broadcom chips were totally unsupported.

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