LinuxWorld: Linux joins the wireless LAN-rush

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
However, that is rapidly changing as Linux displays
its flexibility and the advantages of the open systems

“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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