Atheros, manufacturer of one of the most common wireless chipsets in the world, has made a bold move towards embracing open-source driver development for their cards by letting the final piece out into the open
. That piece is the Hardware Abstraction Layer, an important component they had to date still kept under a proprietary wrap.
The company has commented that they want to see future updates and fixes for the driver to be a community effort, and plan to use Linux as a platform to provide a reference code base for other platforms.
Many laptops and wireless devices contain an Atheros chipset, with their principal competition being Intel and Broadcom. This move may serve to help them in capturing a larger market share, giving them a small advantage over Broadcom and putting them on more equal grounds with Intel in terms of development. The MadWifi project
in particular could benefit greatly from this move, which in turn could lead to Atheros chipsets having a much more stable base of support on Linux-based systems.