We have ath, now what about Broadcom?

Matthew Emmerton matt at compar.com
Wed Jul 23 15:22:57 PDT 2003

> > Folks,
> >
> > Okay, so now I just figured out what the "ath" driver is.  Sigh...
> >
> > Of course, I find this out through searching for open source
> > drivers for the Broadcom chipset as used in the Linksys WPC54G
> > cardbus device, which I happen to have just bought.
> >
> >
> > I've already done quite a bit of Googling and searching through
> > the archives, and I haven't found anything obviously relevant to the
> > issue of drivers for the Broadcom chipset, at least not anything
> > recent.
> >
> > I did find a lot of old references to drivers for this chipset in
> > the April timeframe, mostly having to do with people discovering that
> > Linksys was shipping access points & routers using this chipset,
> > using Linux for MIPS and BusyBox, but not providing the drivers
> > themselves under their GPL obligations.
> >
> >
> > Can anyone provide some pointers or links that would bring me
> > up-to-date on the current state of affairs on this subject,
> > especially as it related to FreeBSD or *BSD in general?
> The folks at Broadcom have not been willing to release any information
> on their 800.11g chips for fear of violating FCC regs. The required
> NDA would prohibit the release of the source. You can program
> both the transmit power and frequency if you have this. (I make no
> claim as to whether their concerns have any validity.)
> For that reason there has been no open-source support for these chips.

Why would Broadcom be scared?  Obviously it's the _driver_ that controls the
power/freq output of the chip, so the responsibility of staying within FCC
regs is that of the driver authors.  Of course, the "no warranty" aspects of
open source drivers turns a blind eye to liability, but would things really
come back to Broadcom?

Matt Emmerton

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