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LinuxWorld: Linux joins the wireless LAN-rush

Nov 08, 2000, 08:51 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rick Cook)

"Linux has a growing role in the rush to wireless. Although Linux was a pioneer OS for wireless applications, a combination of size, technical factors and marketing considerations have made it lag behind as wireless applications and hardware have exploded. However, that is rapidly changing as Linux displays its flexibility and the advantages of the open systems model...."

"Wireless networking has been used for over a decade in specialized applications such as inventory control. However, until recently the approaches were proprietary and often conflicting. The wireless explosion is built on a series of open standards that have been refined over the past several years to meet the needs of a broader audience. Among those standards is Linux, which can be found everywhere -- from servers feeding information to mobile clients such as laptops to cell phones and PDAs powering their wireless connectivity to the Internet and LANs...."

"Linux's weak position in wireless today is ironic because the OS got a head start in wireless networking when hackers started cobbling up wireless connections between Linux laptops and LANs. However, in the early stages of the wireless tidal wave, the major makers of PDAs and cell phones generally bypassed Linux in favor of other operating systems such as Palm OS on PDAs and proprietary realtime operating systems (RTOSs) on cell phones. (The other major competitor is Windows CE -- see sidebar.) Only recently have commercial companies such as IBM, Nortel Networks, Ericsson, and Nokia made Linux a central part of their wireless initiatives."

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