[CentOS] CentOS 5 and Broadcom wireless

Sat May 12 14:30:55 UTC 2007
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On Friday 11 May 2007, Mogens Kjaer wrote:
> This is what I saw as well. Broadcom wireless works in FC6,
> not in Centos 5.

FC6 is on kernel 2.6.20 currently, and CentOS 5 is at 2.6.18.  It is highly 
likely that the 2.6.20 bcm43xx driver will not be backported to 2.6.18 by 
RedHat; whether it even CAN be backported to 2.6.18 is questionable.

And, no, CentOS 5 for its entire 7 year life will not have a kernel version 
bump; it is forever on 2.6.18, following the upstream's model.  Thus CentOS 5 
will not be a good choice (RHEL5 for that matter neither!) for folks needing 
a good bcm43xx driver (that includes me, by the way). 

If you want to stay with an RPM-based system, you might very well want to 
track Fedora for the laptop; if you're not married to the idea of RPM-based 
distributions, you might want to check out a late ubuntu version, which has a 
late kernel.

Before you make the attempt to run the 2.6.21 kernel in CentOS 5, understand 
that there can be fairly large differences in the kernels; the changes from 
2.6.18 to 2.6.21 are in some areas non-trivial and could break you system in 
odd and intermittent ways; not to mention that by installing a custom kernel 
you loose the primary advantages of running CentOS in the first place.  And 
the CentOS developers will not (and really cannot) give you any support of 
any kind if you run a custom kernel.

If the Linux kernel developers would just make things backwards compatible, 
this wouldn't be an issue.  But the kernel developers as a group care nothing 
for backwards compatibility, and regularly break things in weird and 
sometimes devious ways.
Lamar Owen
Chief Information Officer
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
1 PARI Drive
Rosman, NC  28772