WIRELESS CHIP OUTFIT Broadcom has open sourced the drivers for its WiFi chips, making them available to Linux.
Broadcom had already moved to open source for some its software but now the company is offering Linux support for its 802.11n WiFi chipsets as well.
Top wireless mover and shaker at Broadcom Henry Ptasinski made the announcement on a blog post yesterday.
"Broadcom would like to announce the initial release of a fully-open Linux driver for its latest generation of 11n chipsets," wrote Ptasinski.
"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."
While other wireless chipset manufacturers like Intel have been knocking out open source Linux drivers for years, Broadcom is way behind the curve on building up its open source portfolio.
Now Linux distributions will be able to get 802.11 wireless working more easily on laptops, PCs and netbooks with Broadcom components.
However, Ptasinski said the drivers are still a work in progress at the moment, so if you don't fancy trying your luck you'll have to wait. But Linux kernel developers are unlikely to be put off by work in progress drivers.
But if you're up to the challenge of building the drivers yourself from the source code you can. Broadcom's Linux Wifi drivers can be downloaded using git from git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/gregkh/staging-next-2.6.git . µ