Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Broadcom brightening.

Broadcom brightening.

I saw something interesting in my email today — apparently Rawhide (which is rolling toward next week’s Beta release of Fedora 12 even as we speak) and Fedora 11 have received the b43-openfwwf package, which supports a bunch of Broadcom wireless models. You can find out more information about b43-openfwwf at the OpenFWWF website, including a list of models supported and expected results.

What this means is that if you’re one of the folks who either (1) doesn’t have a choice of a more free software-friendly wireless in your computer, or (2) didn’t make the sustainable choice of a free software-friendly wireless, you’re no longer stuck with having to drag out fwcutter to slice firmware out of another driver. Although there might be some limitations in the modes that b43-openfwwf supports, your out of the box experience in Fedora 12 — and in Fedora 11 if you install directly with updates — will be quite improved!

Thank you to Peter Lemenkov for getting this package into Fedora!


  1. Jeff Sandys

    But doesn’t b43-openfwwf still need the broadcom firmware like fwcutter? Or does it work out of the box? I hate updating my laptop because I lose the wireless internet and have to ‘sneaker-net’ the broadcom firmware before I can do anything else.

  2. @Rahul: No need, you’ve done it for me. 🙂 As I did note, this is a stopgap for people who’ve made what I think is a bad purchasing decision, to support a notoriously free software unfriendly hardware vendor. At least with b43-openfwwf, they’re not stuck in the cold having to carve out firmware.

    @Jeff: Yes, it works out of the box on a number of Broadcom wireless chipsets. Not every one, but quite a few. By the way, if you had a separate /home partition and just stored the firmware in your personal directory, you wouldn’t need to sneakernet anything, just recopy after installation. Hope that helps!

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