Wi-Fi and free softwars

For more details on this topic, see Comparison of Open Source Wireless Drivers.BSDs (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD) have had support for most adapters since late 1998. Code for Atheros, Prism, Harris/Intersil and Aironet chips (from assorted WiFi vendors) is mostly shared among the 3 BSDs. Darwin and Mac OS X, despite their overlap with FreeBSD, have their own unique implementation. In OpenBSD 3.7, more drivers for wireless chipsets are available, including RealTek RTL8180L, Ralink RT25x0, Atmel AT76C50x, and Intel 2100 and 2200BG/2225BG/2915ABG, due to at least in part of the OpenBSD’s effort to push for open source drivers for wireless chipsets. It is possible that such drivers may be implemented by other BSDs if they do not already exist. The ndiswrapper is also available for FreeBSD.

Linux: As of version 2.6, most Wi-Fi hardware is supported natively by the Linux kernel. Support for Orinoco, Prism, Aironet and Atmel are included in the main kernel tree, while ADMtek and Realtek RTL8180L are both supported by proprietary closed-source drivers provided by the manufacturer and open source drivers written by the community. Atheros and Ralink RT2x00 are supported through open source projects. Support for other more exotic wireless devices is available through use of the ndiswrapper driver, which allows Linux compiled for the Intel x86 architecture to “wrap” a Windows driver for direct use.

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