Does anyone know *why* there are [generally] limited free-software Broadcom drivers?

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whoopi_cat

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This is not a question I really know how to plug into DuckDuckGo effectively.

Is it a case that once the kernel included the blobs, and Ubuntu included the blobbed kernel, most people simply lost interest?

Or are the technical challenges of these chipsets such that its development is more difficult than other things?

Are there any parallels here with the nouveau project? I'm generally pretty impressed with nouveau's current capability, and their website says that nVidia only offers minimal assistance to the project.

While I don't think it's particularly germane to the conversation, I'll mention that my Alienware m17x R3 has this in it:

06:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4322 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller (rev 01)

And since I'm in lspci, this is my graphics chipset. Would I potentially be much less impressed with nouveau if I had something else?

02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation G92M [GeForce GTX 260M] (rev a2)

Magic Banana

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Is it a case that once the kernel included the blobs, and Ubuntu included the blobbed kernel, most people simply lost interest?

I think so. Notice that the driver probably is under the GPL. The firmware (i.e., the code that the kernel sends to the device to run there, not on the main CPU) is proprietary.

loldier
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Broadcom wants to keep secrets. They're afraid of losing unique selling points or differentiation if a third party could write better firmware code for their chips. The driver is usually open-sourced but the firmware that runs on the device is closed source proprietary. Broadcom doesn't make wifi cards, I think. They only supply the chip and they don't want to lose control over their OEM manufacturers. Like MS doesn't tell OEM manufacturers what Windows source code looks like.