The Open Source Solution to Solving Linux Wi-Fi Problem


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Could this be the badly needed 'fix' that we need in the wireless world with regard to Linux? While it does present a new world of simplicity with getting innovation underway, I do not think this alone is going to help get more wireless vendors on board with the Linux movement anytime soon. Still, the efforts made with OpenHAL and MadWiFi hold out hope for many users out there, especially those of us who are tired of playing "musical wireless cards," thanks to the vendors who choose to use those darn Broadcom chipsets.

Atheros Devices Good to Go, Right At the Kernel Level. What a grand day it will be to see wireless cards purchased at big box stores working without the hassle. Unfortunately, this dream remains a long way off. The bigger problem of vendor acceptance that Linux users are here and would potentially make up a nice sized niche market should these vendors choose to wake up and smell reality.

For the interim, however, seeing Atheros devices working from the kernel level effortlessly would be a huge improvement over the way things are being rolled out today.

The Future of Linux Wireless is Going to Be OEM. The future of wireless for Linux distributions is OEM . It's just a matter of putting wireless into marketplace, while avoiding compatibility issues. In short, it provides an immediate reward to those vendors who choose to provide a ready-to-go notebook bundled with Linux. We have seen this with a variety of small time sellers, along with Dell, Lenovo and eventually Acer and HP.

This means that wireless vendors are not flagged with support calls on getting things like WPA encryption working, while still making sales that they might not have had otherwise. It seems like a win - win situation to me.

In the End, It May Simply Be Easier to Buy a New Notebook. For intermediate to advanced users, who are willing to track down WiFi cards based on chipsets, live without WPA in some instances or have opted to stick with Ethernet, buying a new notebook for the sake of improved wireless connectivity may seem a little overkill.

When a new user faces problems jumping through the NDISWrapper hoops, tracking down WiFi cards from HCLs and other related activities, the end result is almost always the same - they give up. What so many of us, as Linux users, fail to grasp is that projects like OpenHAL are critical to long-term development. The education on what to expect and what not to expect remains a complete load of hot air when articles claim how easy it is to setup wireless Internet on Linux machines. It's downright misleading.

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