[conspire] Ah, it's an Atheros-based PCI card

Tony Godshall togo at of.net
Fri Sep 2 17:25:09 PDT 2005

> > Ok, sorry for not mentioning the model number and stuff before. It is
> > a Netgear and here is the model number:
> >  
> > WG311T

> That means that madwifi suffers the long-term disadvantage of
> binary-only code of all sorts:  It cannot be debugged or maintained by
> the larger Linux community, and thus may afflict your system with 
> stealth bugs, and over time will probably cease to be usable as hardware
> and the kernel's software interfaces evolve.  Also, though I'm not
> certain about this, I imagine that many Linux distributions do not
> include it.  It would for those distributions be a post-installation
> add-on.
> It's disappointing that the madwifi project isn't more up-front about
> their being hostage to a binary-only HAL core library to which they have
> no developer access:  I see nothing on their Web pages that mentions the
> fact.  Unfortunately, this is all too common among proprietary software 
> projects with a Linux presence.  In fairness, their perspective is
> probably that lack of community control and hidden proprietary
> restrictions are an everyday thing for _them_, so they saw no reason to
> mention it.
> ...

OK, so from a practical perspective, if you choose a distrib
that's cumpunctious about everything being FOSS, like Debian, 
it won't work as given, but you can grab and compile from

But a commercial distrib that doesn't mind putting some
non-free in the package, like Xandros, will likely have
the madwifi stuff complete with the binary-only driver

I try to buy from companies that support FOSS software, but
I've had to compromise on my current laptop, and am
currently running Real Debian, but with the non-free madwifi 
driver because I had to do so to get the laptop with the display 
I wanted.

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