While this new kernel doesnt boast any earth-shaking additions, it does include numerous improvements to Linux for both users and developers.
For many laptop users, the most important news is that Linux now includes built-in driver support for the Broadcom 43xx-based wireless card family.
This Wi-Fi chip family is found in many laptops such as many models from Acer, Apple (those using Airport Extreme), Compaq and Dell.
This driver support depends upon another new enhancement to the kernel—the addition of a Softmac layer in the wireless stack. Softmac is a software MAC (machine access control) layer that works with Linuxs built-in 802.11 layer.
This provides a great number of Wi-Fi protocol management features for chips that, unlike the Intel ProSet Wireless chip family, dont handle these details in hardware.
Softmac is not the only open-source project that takes this approach. MADWiFi, for example, uses one to support Atheros Wi-Fi chips.
Since Softmac is now part of the kernel, however, it can be used by developers to more easily support other Wi-Fi chips.