What's the real problem with wireless on the Ben?

Uwe Dippel udippel at uniten.edu.my
Tue Sep 13 23:42:03 EDT 2011

On 09/13/2011 10:40 AM, julien forgeat wrote:
> I am not really very knowledgeable about the whole project but from my
> point of view, it is mostly a hardware issue. Open source driver (and
> even that is very hard to find with wifi chips) are not enough, we
> want to know how the chip works, what registry is used for what
> purpose and so on, apparently, this kind of knowledge is never freely
> provided by wifi chip manufacturers.

Dear all, what an interesting discussion!! - I have been following, 
using, and advertising Nanonote for the last year or so. Therefore, the 
topic 'host' on USB is and remains a hot one. It actually is Number One 
for me not to use it much more frequently, and has been the Number One 
turn-away of everyone until now when it came to advertising it. On the 
other hand, Wolfgang seems concerned at times about the financial 
prospects of the project. "No wonder", sorry, that's the best I can say. 
The major impediment for me is that I would LOVE to carry it around and 
hook it into all sorts of WiFi-points (here in Malaysia they are 
abundant, contrary to Germany where it is often difficult to hook up), 
but I simply can't. Over.

Now back to the exact topic: No, I am not. Yes, I am for total freedom 
in software as far as possible. So I appreciate the distinction into the 
'really free' stuff, and the 'not-so-free' stuff, that I can still add 
on just to put food on the table. I'd love to have all free software on 
all of my machines, but then I'd have to harm the environment because 
I'd have to fly to Europe because I refuse to use Skype.
No, I don't need totally free hardware that I can plug into my totally 
free nanonote (is it??). I'd love to, but there is a clear distinction, 
much easier in hardware than in software, when I connect a totally 
non-free WiFi-dongle into my nanonote. I know what I am doing, and I can 
even put a sticker "Free", in green, on the nanonote, and "Not Free" and 
in red on the dongle. But I can use it usefully.
Try to contact SanDisk for the blueprint of their micro-SD card, and 
they'll call an ambulance for you.

In short: don't overdo it, please. keep the target in mind, provide a 
totally free (is it??) core (nanonote, e.g.), and then bite the bullet 
(easy in this case) and allow the rest of the world to get their jobs 
done, even with a devilish dongle. USB is a reasonably open standard, so 
is micro-SD, so what is wrong of interfacing the devil through an open 
standard with open hardware? Or do you not connect the nanonote to the 
Internet because Google doesn't use all free hardware and software? Come 
on, stay realistic. Don't compromise in what you do, I fully agree, but 
only in your court. Don't try to be an island.


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