Linux Drivers for Intels Centrino Due This Year

The company posts the "pre-beta" Linux driver code for its mobile Centrino chipset and says it is "intended to be a community effort as much as is possible."

Linux drivers for Intels mobile Centrino chipset are due in the second half of 2004, Intel officials said Wednesday.

Intel Corp. posted the version 0.1 "pre-beta" Linux driver code for its 802.11b/g Wi-Fi on SourceForge last Friday, complementing the 802.11b Linux driver code that has already been made available. An Intel representative said the final driver code is tentatively scheduled for the second half of 2004.

Although Intels Centrino platform–comprising a Pentium M processor, chipset and Wi-Fi component–dominates the thin-and-light notebook market, the technology currently runs stably only under Microsoft Corp.s Windows.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read a column about Intels Centrino 802.11b/g chipset.

According to the posting on SourceForge, the Linux driver "is intended to be a community effort as much as is possible, given some working constraints," namely the lack of hardware documentation.

Intels 802.11b Centrino Linux drivers have reached version 0.45, including some basic support for ad hoc networking, while the 802.11a/b drivers are currently in a version 0.1 status.

Intel hasnt begun a public open-source Linux driver program for its 802.11a/b/g drivers, Intel spokeswoman Barbara Grimes said.

Grimes confirmed that the drivers will be released under an open-source model, although she was unable to say which open-source license model would govern the release.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about the Intel Centrino platforms move toward Linux.

Intel has historically performed its driver development in-house. The community of Linux developers, meanwhile, has worked independently according to its own schedule. Meanwhile, Linux driver designers have often been forced to play detective as well as developer, working without support from the hardware vendor.

Now, vendors such as Intel are "focusing on becoming part of the community," Grimes said. The give-and-take has been productive for both sides but not conducive to a tightly focused timetable.

"Its something thats a little new for us," Grimes said.

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