When you look at the Linux landscape, there are traditionally two companies which are well known for lacking support when it comes to Linux. ATI and Broadcom. Well, good news when looking at the Broadcom landscape! Broadcom, well known for frequently holding out when it came to delivering drivers – especially Wi-Fi drivers and source code for Linux users has officially joined the Linux Foundation, with plans to extend its open development and collaboration with the Linux community.
The move announced a couple of weeks ago might just be the biggest change in the Open Source landscape* this year.
Heavily contributing to the reputation Linux had for not being as compatible with essential technologies such as Windows and OS X, Broadcom’s decision to join the Linux Foundation and release new open source drivers (brcm80211).
Since the release of that new open driver, it has been integrated into the recent Linux kernel release 2.6.37, where it can be actively improved upon by the entire Linux community.
Off topic a little bit, we need to see more Open Source organisations open up to the community their proprietary drivers.
Although the opening up of commercial code in the kernel is one of my favorite topics, to save myself typing out a whole new discussion on the topic I will simply point over to David Airlie, the maintainer of Maintainer of all the direct rendering manager code and the X.org co-maintainer for Red Hat, covering both Fedora and RHEL.
David goes on to ask one very important question: ‘So what are they [orgnaistaions providing closed source userspace drivers] actually hiding in userspace?‘