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Eee PC security or lack thereof

Eee PC security or lack thereof

Posted Feb 15, 2008 21:53 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
In reply to: Eee PC security or lack thereof by xoddam
Parent article: Eee PC security or lack thereof

Just checking before I blow money on an eee: does the hardware have any 
components that require closed-source anything? I'd be annoyed to replace 
the OS with Debian or something like that only to find that, say, the 
wireless stopped working or the video card needed a closed-source kernel 
module (to name the two most likely villains).


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Eee PC hardware

Posted Feb 16, 2008 12:28 UTC (Sat) by xoddam (subscriber, #2322) [Link]

Etch definitely won't support wifi and 3D out of the box, it might not even  handle the
ethernet.  Sid will probably support it perfectly in a few months, if it doesn't already.

Ethernet and wireless are Atheros; ASUS/Xandros support 802.11a/g using 'legacy' madwifi
(which taints the kernel with a closed-source glue layer) but a fully GPL port (ath5k) is in
Linus' tree for the 2.6.25 release:

http://lwn.net/Articles/266529/
http://lwn.net/Articles/269241/

Googling indicates people have had mixed results trying ath5k on the eee, but since the
successful reports seem to be more recent (and the driver has seen considerable hacking since
it hit -mm a few months ago), I'd expect it to be fine by now.

There's a bare-bones GPL-only debian 'port' called EeeOS specifically targeting the Eee, but
they too are using madwifi.  Apparently they needed a patch for the atl2 wired Ethernet driver
too, haven't checked why.

*Everything* else in LSPCI is Intel, straight down the line.  Graphics is GMA915; xrandr works
perfectly.

Eee PC hardware

Posted Feb 17, 2008 13:28 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Wow. Excellent response.

I have taken note and will be taking delivery of an eee fairly soon :)

Eee PC hardware

Posted Feb 20, 2008 12:42 UTC (Wed) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Hm. <http://www.ussg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0802.2/0476...> states that the eee has
an ath5007; <http://madwifi.org/wiki/About/OpenHAL> doesn't list it as supported, and
<http://gentoo-wiki.com/Asus_Eee_PC_701> confirms that it's not exactly functional yet (having
to reboot to turn the wireless off/on is hardly a killer but not very nice either).

Has this changed very recently or something?

Eee PC hardware

Posted Feb 21, 2008 3:12 UTC (Thu) by xoddam (subscriber, #2322) [Link]

I see my initial response wasn't so excellent after all :-(

Sorry.

I guess my googling was insufficiently thorough, or I misread something.  I certainly didn't
think to double-check chipset revision numbers.

On seeing these links, my initial feeling is that I should *help* fill the gap in OpenHAL, but
I don't know the first thing about wifi internals ... by the time I get up to speed (in the
meantime trashing my 100% working toy), someone else will likely have finished the job.

So the real question is, how hardcore a geek do I want to be, today?  Is this a challenge I'm
inexorably called to?

And the answer is ... not much.  I like my eee as it is.  I have no call to hassle LKML with
dmesgs from my tainted kernel :-/

Eee PC hardware

Posted Feb 21, 2008 7:38 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

My attitude is, hey, it's not very expensive, and this gives me an excuse 
to learn enough kernel hacking/reverse-engineering fu to help :)


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