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Re: Bits from the kernel team

On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 07:51:20AM -0300, Ben Armstrong wrote:
> 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.)

The rt2860sta driver is effectively being maintained by Bartlomiej
Zolnierkiewicz <bzolnier@gmail.com>.

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

I find this hard to believe.

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

If someone can make that work, and if that change is accepted upstream, then
the kernel team can probably apply it to the version in squeeze.  But we do
not normally apply patches without upstream review (DFSG-compliance has been
an exception, but I'm feeding those patches upstream as well), and we do not
carry out significant development of our own (at least, not in our Debian


Ben Hutchings
Make three consecutive correct guesses and you will be considered an expert.

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