Saturday, July 26, 2008

Not sure what to buy for Wireless? Buy Atheros

It's well known that I don't think Intel is really interested in supporting Open-Licensed software beyond simply using people like Keith Packard as strawmen to draw attention away from their anti-consumer / consumer-hostile technologies (TPM, HDMI with HDCP), and two faced software support (BIOS, EFI).

One of Intel's slights of hand to draw attention away from how Open-Licensed hostile they really are has been the release and support of an open-licensed wireless driver. The sad thing is, when you go looking for wireless cards that are compatible with Open-Licensed software, the biggest name in the business was Intel.

Atheros has now stepped up to the plate and delivered a home run on Open-Licensed support for their wireless drivers, and not just any any wireless drivers. The code for their latest 802.11n cards is already online : http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/ath9k

According to Mad Wifi, Atheros has hired Luis Rodriguez and Jouni Malinen, who are going to continue to work on the driver. That means this release isn't a simple code dump to look good on paper. Nor is the release semi-opened up, it's under the ISC License, which is what the radically open-licensed OpenBSD developers are using.

So, the result is simple. If you go shopping for a new wireless card, laptop, or router, it's probably a good idea to see if it uses the Atheros chipsets. Then you'll know that any Linux or BSD should have no problems supporting the device.

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