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Linksys Falls Into Line Over Alleged GPL Breach
Linksys Falls Into Line Over Alleged GPL Breach

(July 7, 2003) - In a great example of how fast the Linux world moves in comparison to the rest of the technosphere, wireless networking specialists Linksys – bought by Cisco for $500 million in stock earlier this year – was reported in June as being in breach of the GPL by using several GPL projects in its firmware, but not making any of the source available, or acknowledging the use of the GPLed software.

Just one month later that has already been rectified.

Shipping firmware for their 802.11g access-points based on Linux without making any source code available is a breach of the GPL. Perhaps nobody at Linksys thought about their obligation to provide source code, or if they did, the process fell through the usual corporate cracks. But all credit to them, in just 4 weeks, for having now made good on the oversight: the company has now GLP’ed the source code for running on their WRT54G wireless access point.

In a world where a pioneering company like for example Tivo, Inc. is very careful to comply with the GPL, it would seem that Linksys/Cisco was quick to realize it couldn’t possibly risk being negligent. For Linux developers, the source code opens up the intriguing possibility of, for example, building access point firmware with IPsec and native IPv6 support.

Andrew Miklas, the developer who originally drew public attention to the alleged breach, notes that Linux has excellent support for at least one other manufacturer's wireless family, too - namely the Broadcom set of chips. If you happen to be running Linux on a MIPS processor in a Linksys router, he says, ”All the following Broadcom chips appear to be supported under Linux.”

  • Broadcom BCM4301 Wireless 802.11b Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4307 Wireless 802.11b Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11a Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11b Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11 Multiband Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4310 Wireless 802.11b Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11b/g Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11a Controller
  • Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11 Multiband Controller

”This list was produced by running strings on lib/modules/2.4.5/kernel/drivers/net/wl/wl.o,” Miklas adds.

About Linux News Desk
SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

To me happened the exact same thing as to Patrick Frisch. I have done a full text search on the kernel provided and couldn't find BCM4301 anywhere!!

It will be great to have those drivers because the Airport Extreme in PowerBooks also uses the chipset. I am downloading all the software for the router looking also for the drivers ...

After reading the article, I had the impression, that eventually there is an open source driver for the BCM4301 (as stated in the article). After downloading the kernel source I realized that there is no such file "wl.o" (mentioned in the article). I also search the whole tree for something containing BCM4301 or even BCM43 but no luck so far.
Please tell me, where I can find these drivers and if there is any hope, that I can use my dell true mobile 1180 in the near future ....


Your Feedback
Paulo Lopes wrote: To me happened the exact same thing as to Patrick Frisch. I have done a full text search on the kernel provided and couldn't find BCM4301 anywhere!!
Alvaro del Castillo wrote: It will be great to have those drivers because the Airport Extreme in PowerBooks also uses the chipset. I am downloading all the software for the router looking also for the drivers ...
Patrick Frisch wrote: After reading the article, I had the impression, that eventually there is an open source driver for the BCM4301 (as stated in the article). After downloading the kernel source I realized that there is no such file "wl.o" (mentioned in the article). I also search the whole tree for something containing BCM4301 or even BCM43 but no luck so far. Please tell me, where I can find these drivers and if there is any hope, that I can use my dell true mobile 1180 in the near future ....
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