> Broadcom are not giving permission for anyone to distribute that firmware for use with Linux
Interesting... I'm pretty sure I've seen laptops with b43 WiFi and GNU/Linux preinstalled for sale. I wonder if the laptop vendors actually ship this stuff without functional WiFi. That would be... surprising.
> unless I'm missing a technical detail your scheme has actually broken the drivers
it looks lke you are indeed missing something, for I have proposed *3* options, and only one of them is currently implemented: the one that indeed refrains from asking for the non-Free b43 blob, asking for /*(DEBLOBBED)*/ and discarding the userland response instead.
The two other options are:
- have the kernel ask for a unidirectional hash of the blob name, and have udev look for a blob whose name hashes to the same value (as proposed in the 2.6.33-libre announcement)
- have userland register with the kernel available firmware names early in initrd, and right after switch_root, so that the kernel (optionally) won't even ask for names that aren't registered. This won't just make such requests faster: it can also enable pieces of firwmare built into the kernel to be updated from userland, something that can't be done ATM AFAIK.
Now, you'll see that both of these are actually orthogonal to the licensing of the blobs: they're just ways to enable the kernel to tell whether a certain file is available without inducing users to go get them, in one case, by refraining from naming the blobs so they can't be identified unless you have them; in the other, by having them named at first, so the kernel knows it's not asking for something that the user doesn't want to be bothered about.