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My most recent headache was when my wireless adapter, that worked out of box with Ubuntu 7.04 physically broke. Trying to find a replacement has not been easy, and while I have compiled drivers before, it is such a struggle and this time I was not able to get it to work.
I would like to see a permanent solution to this, so does the slashdot group think that it would be worthwhile to try and either purchase:
A) an 802.11 a/b/g/n design — have someone make one from the ground up for a group or company x, and completely open it up
B) purchase a small or struggling semi conductor manufacturer (as part of a group effort — it could be run as a profit or non profit)
And try and come up with an open solution? I know that manufacturers like Intel have excellent driver support, but they do not have PCMCIA, USB or PCI solutions (unless if you use some type of adapter, which I am going to do for now). Ideally I would like to see an open USB wifi dongle, that would have completely open driver support and eventually be submitted into the kernel. If this were to be successful, then of course other types of hardware, i.e. webcams, RAID, etc... could also be considered.
Is this too ambitious a project? Has it already been done? Any comments and criticisms are welcome. While my knowledge of Linux and open projects in general is a bit limited, I think that something like this makes business sense. I feel that outside of Canada and the U.S. there is an enormous market for Linux and other open source projects, and by removing the hindrance of hardware many other things could fall into place.
I only need to look at my frustration as a consumer trying to completely replace a mainstream o/s with Linux, and feel that there must be many more in the same situation. (if anyone replies to this, I'd also be glad to tell you about my RAID woes, but that might be best for another project/post).
P.S. I haven't invested in a domain or a site of any type for this yet, but if there is some interest, I would definitely move forward. If this makes it to Slashdot and the feedback is good, then I will come up with a url somewhere."