A major pain point for Linux desktop users over the years has been a lack of Wi-Fi chipset support. That’s been changing for the better over the last few years, but I still find it a little amazing that on Monday, January 10th, the Linux Foundation will announce that Broadcom, yes Broadcom, will be joining the Foundation.
You see, for years, Linux notebook users have had a hate-hate relationship with Broadcom. While Atheros and Intel provided Linux Wi-FI drivers and code, Broadcom did little to nothing for Linux users. Broadcom started changing its ways in 2007 and started offering more and more support for Linux. Then, in September 2010, Broadcom released the source code for the “initial release of a fully-open Linux driver for its latest generation of 11n chipsets.”
Since then, that driver has been integrated into the latest Linux kernel release 2.6.37 and, as a result, is actively being improved upon by the entire Linux community. Even so, for Broadcom, with its vast portfolio of semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, to join the Linux Foundation is a surprise. It’s also a very pleasant one.