[Community] Thinfirm WLAN firmware

Lukas Märdian luk at slyon.de
Tue Feb 5 20:10:07 CET 2013


Am 05.02.2013 19:07, schrieb Nick:
> On Tue, Feb 05, 2013 at 05:50:56PM +0100, Lukas Märdian wrote:
>> At least two people I know of have tinkered around with it in the past.
>>
>> For example take a look at this kernel 3.2 which has everything needed
>> to get it working (except the firmware):
>> http://git.freesmartphone.org/?p=linux-2.6.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/3.2-gta04%2Blibertas-tf-sdio
>>
>> <snip>
>>
>> No. Thinfirm was a cooperation between Marvell and OLPC. They created
>> just another binary blob. This blob leaves most of the work for the CPU
>> tough and does very few in the firmware. And it has some extra
>> capabilities like AP-mode.
> 
> Is AP-mode what would be needed to have the phone as a 3G wifi
> router? 'Cos that would be a neat feature. Also, the thinner the
> binary blob layer is, the better, plus OLPC are less scary providers
> of blobs than most other people. So it sounds like it would be worth
> playing with this and seeing if it can replace the current ones
> provided by debian non-free, because:

Indeed. You could still use Ad-hoc networking now, which works with the
default libertas_sdio. But with AP-mode (and e.g. hostapd) you can
create a real access point, which gives problems in connecting with
different devices.

> - It has more capabilities (AP & Mesh)
> - It is provided by more trusted party
> - It is a thinner layer, doing more in the CPU, that we can control

And can maybe easier be reverse engineered? :)
A project was already started for the chips predecessor:
  http://wiki.laptop.org/go/88W8388

> I'll give this a whirl when I get a GTA04 and report back. Hopefully
> it's just a case of switching out the firmware file and using the
> different driver in the kernel, as Lukas implies (at least for 3.2).

Sounds good! Maybe it's even in shape in 3.7... I don't know about the
current status.

Regards,
  Lukas

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