[conspire] "madwifi" is proprietary sludge (was: driver)

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Tue Jun 27 20:47:05 PDT 2006

On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 20:42:55 -0700, Rick Moen wrote:

> Why the slowness of this market effect with WiFi chipsets?  Probably
> because there's fewer people among the latter market as a whole willing
> to vote with their feet, and too many unwary people who buy first and
> research later.

It's not just that; there are many other factors contributing to this
slowness. First, until ipw2200, there was no stage 2 802.11g chipset.
Intersil came close, but did not reach the cigar. So other than
temporarily making Intersil hardware a prized commodity, prices remained
what they were, where ipw2200-type hardware was the cheapest. Now that
the ipw2200 driver is mature, the hardware it supports is known more for
its limitations than for that support. Add to that the existence of the
madwifi driver with its HAL, which leads people to overlook the stage 1
status of Atheros hardware because it fully works. I would compare this to
the evaporation of nearly all efforts to fabricate a fully functional
open-source SWF player six years ago when Macromedia released their first
Flash player for Linux. Tim has just posted a perfect example of why
Atheros is still the preferred 802.11g chipset for Linux: because of the
research beforehand, not because of the lack of it. So, here we have an
instance where the value of stage 2 hardware continues to be at a low
point, while the value of stage 1 hardware is improved. This certainly
affects the rate of development of the open-source HAL. Also, it doesn't
help matters that Atheros have convinced themselves that they are

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