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Kernel comment: The obstacle course of cooperation

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Broadcom has spent a year working on its open source driver for WLAN/Wi-Fi hardware to fulfill the quality demands of the kernel developers, but now they may not even want it any more.

When it presented Brcm80211 a year ago, Broadcom became the last major manufacturer of WLAN chips for notebooks to get into developing open source drivers for its own WLAN components. The company was praised for this step, and Brcm80211 became a part of the kernel after only a few weeks. But the code landed in the staging area because it did not fulfil the quality demands of kernel developers. The firm then spent part of the past 12 months fulfilling these requirements; now, we have the Brcmsmac and Brcmfmac drivers.

At the same time, Rafał Miłecki improved the B43 driver that has been in the kernel for some time. The driver originally only supported older Broadcom WLAN chips, and Miłecki added support for numerous components that Brcmsmac addresses.

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