Author Topic: It is technically possible for Airport Extreme support in 9, I think...  (Read 452 times)

Offline MacNewbie

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So the Airport Exreme card is based on the Broadcom "43" chipset.  Linux has several drivers for this, depending on the exact model, firmware revision, etc.

see:  https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx

Now obviously the closed-source "blob" driver is of no interest, since it is supplied in x86 compiled form.

But, all the other sources listed on that page for drivers ... come with full open source, source code!

I think driver development seems daunting, I am sure it is, in fact. However, for the most part, the hardware on these chips has all the "hard stuff" happening on-chip and the driver just needs to communicate to the chipset what needs to be done. 

I have a few hardware-developing friends that might be able to help with advice, though they don't know about OS 9 specifically.

As well, there is the RALink USB , PCI and PCMCIA card chipset, mentioned here https://ask.metafilter.com/21267/Know-of-a-cheap-USB-Wifi-dongle-for-Mac-OS-9 with open-source drivers for Linux and OS X.

Here's all the Linux related open source driver info https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/users/drivers

So, question is, is it worth it to see if Airport Extreme could be supported? 

Another question might be, "if a tiny USB device were an option, would that be as good or better (since it could work on desktops and notebooks and work on anything with working USB)?"

I am no guru, just wondering if we could have a productive discussion around this and if there are any device-driver writers in need of employment. 

Let's brainstorm:

-- could modify driver to give full Airport Extreme support

-- could we fund a bounty for an open source driver for MacOS 9, once we found a qualified device driver writer and determined what we wanted to support?

-- could we find a way to automate the porting of Linux device drivers (they are written to a sort of standard API) into MacOS 9?

Ideas and comments welcome!!!   Let's get this show on the road  8) and make it funky   -afro-

Offline macStuff

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what was that last thread titled...
lowest fruit? most attainable useful goals?
i forget what the thread was called...

but it would be amazing if we could get more wireless support in mac os 9

Offline MacOS Plus

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Hardware driver is one thing, adding support to Apple's side of the conversation to handle anything better than WEP security is another entirely.  Was AirPort utility and its associated code source available openly?  I'm inclined to suspect that a Broadcom PCI driver for AE is not so complicated, but hacking the utility software side probably is quite involved.  There's a bit of 'chicken and egg' here where you'd have a hell of a time testing a Broadcom driver without all the rest of the AirPort software updated and known working first for its part.

  Writing the entire USB2.0 support structure layer as a completely general thing is likely less challenging, although I'm sure quite a project in itself.  (I'm not referring to WIFI specifically, just a point of comparison of scale.)

  I'm interested in this project in a 'because maybe we can' kinda way, but I'm not a big fan of wireless networking to begin with, particularly for the CPU overhead on older systems.  Just about the only reason for WIFI in my house is smartphones.  Everything else is gigabit ethernet wherever possible - faster, way more reliable, and far more secure.  I keep one older AirPort router around just for testing old devices that are WEP-only, but it's configured to only allow known MAC addresses and is only turned on when absolutely needed.

Offline darthnVader

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If we did write a driver for AE, it wouldn't work with Apple's Wifi utility, no open API.

We'd have to write our own utility for scanning and connecting to networks.

I have ported some device drivers from Linux to OS X, but that's not real useful for OS 9, it's just a different beast.

Offline nanopico

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FYI here in case someone sees this and wants to take this on.
The original Airport card is directly on the IO bus the bootrom is on. Also the reason you cant use an original AirPort card in the pcmcia slot on the G3 PowerBooks.  They are a PCI bus.
The Airport extreme is on the PCI bus. 
The bus really wont be a big deal just something to keep in mind. Apple has plenty of info available on writing PCI drivers for OS 9.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or break it so you can fix it!

Offline Daniel

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This website seems to have a lot of info on the bcm43xx family of chips.
https://bcm-specs.sipsolutions.net
I haven't looked at it much, but it could be very useful.


Offline ortencia1414

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I read that there is a driver made by IOXperts that works. CNET only has the version for OS X. Anyone here know how/where to get the version for OS 9 ?