Today announced Devicescape that their Linux WLAN solution is Open Source and will be integrated into the official Linux Kernel. This is true, but you should know that this release was not today but some months ago (nevertheless the step is still a nice step 🙂 ). To clearify the situation of WLAN in Linux the technical news magazine heise.de has published an article surveying the whole topic – if you can read at least some german, go through it, it is worth it!
For those who are not able to read german, here is a short summary:
The reason why they announced it today is that Red Hat’s John W. Linville, the official manager of the WLAN subsystem, announced in an e-mail that this stack will be the future of WLAN networking in Linux and that most of the WLAN driver developers agree on this topic. bcm43xx based cards and some of the Ralink-WLAN-Chips chips are already supported.
There are no statements about the old IEE80211 subsystem and the SoftMAC extension, so we can estimate that they will be dropped quite soon.
Other problems are that the ipw3945 drivers are still troublesome since Intel had to take account of local laws and therefore the driver needs an userland application which sets the features according to the local law.
Nevertheless we will see a common standard WLAN stack for Linux in the future which will speed up development and improve the driver quality a lot. But there is still quite a lot of work to do, especially in the cases where the drivers depend on proprietary stuff.