OpenBSD Journal

Update on wireless firmware vendors

Contributed by grey on from the keep up the fight dept.

Thanks to Carnelian for writing in mentioning Theo's post to misc@ from Monday about the status of wireless firmware vendors.

Additionally, Theo has a status update on progress for a driver for Atmel based chipsets in this post.

While I would encourage our readers to keep petitioning the contacts shown later in this post, it is encouraging to see that we have more vendors options available now than when we began several weeks ago. Contacts from Theo's post are as follows: 858 391 1857

Mr Boyd Bangerter (503) 264-7773
Mr Eric Jacobsen (480) 554-6078
Mr Ducan Kitchin +1 503 264 2727
Mr Uriel Lemberger +972 (4) 8655701
Dr Ali Sadri (858) 385-4571
Dr Adrian Stephens +44 1223 763457
Dr Chin C Tsien +1 858 385 4317
Dr Jesse Walker +1 503 712 1849

ps. Alternatively if someone wants a real challenge, perhaps it is
time to reverse engineer these firmwares, which is totally legal.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By gwyllion ( on

    In his atmel usb wireless(atu(4)) status, Theo states which companies refuse to make their firmware free: "I think a few more efforts are going on for other devices that are free like this (Hint: Not Intel, not TI, not Conexant Prism-GT)."

  2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Intel makes me sick. SuSe and Mandrake too; figures... They're in it for the money only, not the OSS or original Linux idealism... I'm sure RH will do the same, seeing as they've already screwed around a lot of their existing customers. The MS's of Linux...

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      Actually, Intel Engineers want to help...(They appear to be supportive of open-source projects)...Its just the folks in management that says "HELL NO!"

    2. By Justin ( on

      If you are interested in MS Linux check out

  3. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Hmm ... it might be an idea to mount a campaign attempting to persuade companies producing laptops to consider these driver/firmware license issues when selecting the integrated devices in their laptops. Best done when well armed with facts and specifics of course.

    I really don't care if some manufacturer does not support me (You don't want my money? ... Fine.) if I can just select a product from a company that does. Much harder to 'select something else' with the integrated devices in laptops.

    1. By grey ( on

      Actually, most wireless chipsets in laptops are on user-replaceable minipci cards. Not only is it relatively easy and inexpensive to find alternatives (e.g. but you may be able to save some money when ordering a laptop by opting to not get wireless if the vendor doesn't supply a chipset that is suitable.

      Ideally, this wouldn't be an issue if more chipset vendors would cooperate, or if we could convince laptop vendors to help in this campaign - but as you said, the vendors who do offer viable alternatives will only get more business in the meantime.

      1. By Wim ( on

        User-replacable is relative, too many times I see companies protecting their product range by building in software checksums, for example, if you want to get rid of the stupid Intel wifi card in the IBM Thinkpads, it's fairly easy to screw it open and put in a Prism 2.5 wifi card, but then the BIOS does not want to boot anymore because of an unauthorised card.

        Solution: either reflash the BIOS with your own PCI ID or plainly disable the check in the BIOS by running the following program

  4. By gwyllion ( on

    aaron@ is asking for Prism GT/Duette/Indigo based wireless cards. Read his post on misc.

    I'm curious if the firmware licensing is already dealt with. I assume they will start from the FreeBSD driver pff.


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