[PATCH 2.6] Intersil Prism54 wireless driver

Pavel Roskin proski
Thu Mar 11 00:31:56 PST 2004

On Thu, 11 Mar 2004, vda wrote:

> On Thursday 11 March 2004 06:11, Jim Thompson wrote:
> > madwifi already put a generic 802.11 stack in linux.
> It's not in Linus tree, and will have hard time merging due to
> binary-only part.
> Actually from technical perspective I like Atheros hardware. Since it
> uses *x86* binary part, not ARM/whatever, I conclude it allows host CPU
> more control over inner workings of the card. Interesting ;)

The important difference is that "ARM/whatever" is firmware that works on
the card, while the "x86 binary part" is linked into the driver and runs
as part of the kernel.

This makes it impossible to compile madwifi for non-Intel architectures,
including ARM, PowerPC and AMD64.  This is a major drawback, especially if
you consider embedded applications.

As for the ability to mess with the binary code, you can do it both with
the firmware (before it's loaded) and with the binary objects.  However,
the binary objects can in turn mess with rest of the kernel, unlike the

So, even from the technical perspective (I won't even touch the legal
issues), you are much better off using the hardware that doesn't require
you to run proprietary code with kernel privileges.

Sorry for replying to a borderline troll and for stating the obvious.

Pavel Roskin

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