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Re: Bits from the kernel team

On Mon, 19 Oct 2009 22:54:47 +0100
Vincent Sanders <vince@kyllikki.org> wrote:
> A constructive discussion was held about the outstanding firmware
> issues, how the team addresses them and how we might work with upstream
> to address our DSFG issues with kernel sources.

By chance, did any of that discussion touch on patching drivers so that
they can load without the firmware?  Many Eee PC owners currently have
no DFSG-free option for wifi (short of replacing the card) because
rt2860sta depends on a non-free firmware.  Some months ago I had a
discussion on irc with some members of the rt2x00 project about this
problem.  I discovered then that:

1. They expressed no interest in putting any more work into the legacy
vendor-supplied rt2860sta driver that is in the current Squeeze kernel
and were instead focusing efforts on rt2x00. (Unfortunately, rt2x00 will
almost certainly not be ready for 2.6.32, so I'm hoping someone else
will be willing to help with rt2860sta for Squeeze.)

2. They thought that all that without the firmware, users would really
miss would be some non-essential features like power management.

3. They thought it would be possible, and perhaps even essential to
deal with certain boards, to make rt2x00 work without the firmware.

4. However, a quick test: just tearing out the call to load it,
caused the driver to fail with a kernel panic.

The Debian Eee PC project would love to see Squeeze release with DFSG
support for as much Eee PC hardware as possible, so if anyone can
assist with supporting this chipset without the firmware for the
Squeeze release, we'd like to hear from you.

 ,-.  nSLUG    http://www.nslug.ns.ca   synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
 \`'  Debian   http://www.debian.org    synrg@debian.org
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