Linux Hackers Tackle Wi-Fi Hassles

When it comes to troublesome Linux peripherals, Wi-Fi takes the cake. Sparked by the Portland Project’s efforts to bring standardization to the Linux desktop, the Linux wireless developer community tackled this problem at its second Linux Wireless Summit last month in London.

The Summit was scheduled as a followup to the January IEEE 802 standards committee meeting, which, among other issues, moved a step closer to making 802.11n a real IEEE standard. As a result of this timing, participants at the Linux Wi-Fi meeting included kernel developers and vendor representatives from Intel, Broadcom, Devicescape, MontaVista and Nokia.

Once there, according to Stephen Hemminger, Linux Wireless Summit co-coordinator and a Linux software developer at the Linux Foundation, the attendees had a very productive meeting.

Still, it’s been slow going in some critical areas of Linux and Wi-Fi, according to John Linville, the Linux wireless software maintainer. In particular, Linville reported that development work is proceeding too slowly on a new 802.11 stack (d80211), and with a new Wi-Fi API (cfg80211), “development is even slower.” Hemminger described the cfg80211 as “a good start but there are no user interface tools (the iproute2 equivalent of iwconfig).”

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