Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Sep 2010 17:40 UTC, submitted by kragil
Linux Ahem. I just had to write that all-caps headline. Broadcom's wireless chips - used by just about everybody in this industry - have been a major pain in the bum for Linux users, because the company did not release open source drivers. Workarounds had to be created, lots of pain was had in the process, but now, Broadcom has finally seen the light: they have open sourced their wireless Linux drivers.
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RE[2]: Great news...
by tux68 on Fri 10th Sep 2010 01:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Great news..."
tux68
Member since:
2006-10-24

What the open source world needs to provide is a Mesa stack with a good interface so that at least the driver itself can remain closed source (for the short term) and the OpenGL part of the equation is then pushed off to the open source world thus to have a standardised single library as with the case of MacOS X rather than the current situation of Linux where you have a mixture of OpenGL implementations each introducing their own peculiarities and bugs.


You don't support open source by enabling closed source solutions. You support open source by pursuing and encouraging open source solutions.

With that being said, there is always ATI but even then the open source drivers are always behind the times when it comes to performance and support - the man power just isn't there and open source isn't the silver bullet that'll solve problems as some try to make it out to be.


You're right, open source isn't a silver bullet. But open source can be a goal in and of itself. Open source solutions have certain traits that are desirable beyond the latest and greatest performance metrics. There is real liberation gained when you're not tied to a single vendor who controls the source. As one example, support for old video cards can be maintained long after the original business that sold them has dissolved or just lost interest in the product.

IMO people need to stop being so obsessed with performance or the latest bells and whistles to appreciate the real value of open source in freedom and risk mitigation.

Well BroadCom have been providing a driver for quite some time.


That doesn't help address some of the important qualities that attracts business and hackers to open source in the first place. You don't have to be a radical freetard to appreciate and value open source. And once you appreciate its positive qualities, the nVidia or Broadcom closed-source offerings for Linux aren't interesting or praise worthy.

That being said, sometimes a company like Broadcom can not make the internal shift needed toward open source in a single leap and must make a gradual transition as we saw in this case. Though not ideal, it's understandable and we can forgive them their late arrival to the party now that they're really ready to join in.

It will be really nice if someday we can say the same about nVidia.

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