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Binary Blobs?

Binary Blobs?

Posted Apr 19, 2007 23:31 UTC (Thu) by mrons (subscriber, #1751)
Parent article: MadWifi: Much ado about nothing?

Could someone explain why the MadWifi driver "will never be allowed in the linux kernel" because of the binary blob, yet the Intel ipw driver is allowed despite the requirement to load a binary blob to make it work?


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Binary Blobs?

Posted Apr 20, 2007 0:59 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

The Intel blob is firmware -- i.e., code loaded onto the card that executes on its processor. The MadWifi HAL is a user-space, closed-source, daemon that must be running for the kernel driver to work. One could argue this is a distinction without a difference, but I believe it's the distinction people have drawn.

Binary Blobs?

Posted Apr 20, 2007 12:14 UTC (Fri) by ewan (subscriber, #5533) [Link]

It's worth noting that there are two versions of the intel ipw3945 driver - one which requires a binary userspace daemon and which was never included in the mainline kernel, though it was in several distributions; and a more recent one that only requires binary firmware to be downloaded to the card, not run on the host processor.

Binary Blobs?

Posted Apr 26, 2007 11:40 UTC (Thu) by quintesse (guest, #14569) [Link]

I imagine that the difference is that it is very difficult for code on the card to get root access to your system. So while any ethical problems remain (as RMS would probably point out) the practical situation is very different by making sure that the closed source binary runs in its own "sandbox".

Binary Blobs?

Posted Apr 27, 2007 1:40 UTC (Fri) by pimlottc (guest, #44833) [Link]

Hey, thanks for the pointer on the newer obnoxious proprietary daemon free driver for the Intel
card. I hadn't heard about that. Will try it out.


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