Linux Developers Create Open Broadcom WiFi Firmware
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 9 January 2009 at 09:44 PM EST. 10 Comments
An increasing number of hardware vendors are adopting practices that benefit the open-source and Linux communities from AMD releasing documentation and code to Creative Labs open-sourcing their X-Fi sound driver. One of the companies holding back on better embracing Linux has been Broadcom with their WiFi adapters being ill supported. However, open-source developers have stepped up to the plate and have improved the situation on their own.

Developers associated with the community-spawned b43 driver have begun programming the final component needed to having a working open-source wireless stack on Broadcom hardware: a working firmware. These developers have written a simple 802.11 compliant firmware, but it's not yet feature-complete.

This open-source firmware is compatible with the mainline b43 Linux driver and doesn't require any modifications to the driver since the global registers and shared memory are being treated in the same way. This firmware should work with Broadcom BCM43xx 802.11b/g WiFi adapters.

The announcement regarding the open-source Broadcom WiFi firmware can be read on the bcm43xx-dev mailing list. The community-developed firmware can be found on the OpenFWWF web-site (Open FirmWare for WiFi networks).

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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