- Download latest Linux wireless drivers
- Compat-wireless release types
- Requirements for bleeding edge
- Linux wireless version table
- Where to download bleeding edge
- Directly downloading the tarball
- Archive of compat-wireless-2.6 tarballs
- Building and installing
- Known issues
- Why was this work done?
- What's the difference between compat-wireless-2.6 and John Linville's tree?
- Do I need this on Fedora?
- Getting compat-wireless on Ubuntu
- Building for external kernels
- Patches for compatibility work
- Checking out compat-wireless-2.6.git tree
- Patches for drivers
Download latest Linux wireless drivers
You can now download a package which lets you compile and install the latest advances on the Linux wireless subsystem and get some of our latest drivers without having to recompile your entire kernel. This package adds mac80211, mac80211 drivers, and any new FullMAC driver which has had fairly recent updates.
If you'd like to keep the wireless-testing.git repository local as well, please read out git-guide which explains how to achieve this. With a local git repository you can update the compatibility package yourself. For more information on how to do this please refer the Developers section below. Please keep in mind though that if you do this it is advised you start your compat-wireless-2.6 tree through the git tree that holds it. This way if changes are made to add support for a new driver of a new compatibility feature all you need to do is pull from the repository (git-pull). Please read Checking out compat-wireless-2.6.git tree section for details on how to do this.
Compat-wireless release types
We have a few types of compat-wireless releases. This page is dedicated to follow always the bleeding edge, which to us means following the wireless-testing tree. Please refer to these other links for the other compat-wireless releases.
compat-wireless-old – for kernels 2.6.22 up to 2.6.26
stable compat-wireless releases – based on stable kernels for kernels >= 2.6.27
Requirements for bleeding edge
You need two things:
A Kernel >= 2.6.27
- Your kernel headers installed
Please be very sure you have your kernel headers installed before reporting any sort of build issues with this package. This usually will mean having this symlink point to a valid directory with kernel headers in it:
The exception to this is if you are building the package targeting a kernel you are not running. Users doing this should read the Building for external kernels section.
Additionally, the kernel you're building for needs a valid ".config" file, if it isn't present compat will assume you have PCI, USB and PCMCIA built into your kernel and if not, fail building.
We recommend these the following userspace applications to be installed:
Linux wireless version table
The following is the latest release versions for code taken from wireless-testing.git and on compat-wireless.git. This is updated automatically every day. The version represents the git-describe output.
Where to download bleeding edge
You can get bleeding edge compat-wireless here:
This package is updated daily. It reflects the latest on wireless-testing.git tree.
Directly downloading the tarball
We have enabled anti-hotlinking to the compat-wireless-2.6.tar.bz2 tarball. This ensures users directed to this tarball from random tutorials online will hopefully read this page. Anti-hotlinking prevents users from accessing the tarball directly before seeing this page. In summary, you cannot directly (for example using wget) this tarball before having viewed this introductory page. If you try to do so you will be redirected here. You can, however, directly download a dated version of the tarball, for example compat-wireless-2008-03-25.tar.bz2.
You can find the latest dated tarball in the compat-wireless-2.6 download directory.
Archive of compat-wireless-2.6 tarballs
Building and installing
Extract the content of the package:
tar jxvf compat-wireless-$(date -I).tar.bz2
Build the latest Linux wireless subsystem:
cd compat-wireless-$(date -I) make
We use the updates/ directory so your distribution's drivers are left intact.
sudo make install
This nukes our changes to updates/ so you can go back to using your distribution's supported drivers.
sudo make uninstall
Since you might be replacing your old mac80211 drivers you should first try to unload all existing mac80211 and related drivers. Note also that broadcom, zydas, and atheros devices have old legacy drivers which you need to be sure are removed first. We provide a mechanism to unload all old and legacy drivers first so you should run to be sure:
sudo make unload
Before loading modules you must first unload your old wireless subsystem modules. Read above how to do this. If you know what module you need you can simply load the module using modprobe. If you simply are not sure you can use, just reboot the box.
We tend to carry all new drivers or any drivers worth getting updates for. For a list of all current Linux wireless drivers see our Drivers page.
If MadWifi is present the build system will detect this and disable it. It does this by simply renaming ath_pci.ko to ath_pci.ko.ignore. This lets us disable the MadWifi driver without blacklisting it which could cause issues with users later. If you would like to enable MadWifi at a later time and disable ath5k you can run:
sudo athload madwifi
To revert back to ath5k you can run:
sudo athload ath5k
Why was this work done?
It was done for users or developers stuck on older kernels that want to help test or patch wireless work. Additionally if you're on a recent kernel this lets you get the latest and greatest wireless-2.6 git work without much effort. This may mean new drivers for some users. Last but not least we hope this will encourage vendors and developers to post patches upstream first rather than forking or maintaining their own mac80211 releases with their own patches for their own drivers.
If your driver needs firmware please be sure to check the driver page for that driver.
What's the difference between compat-wireless-2.6 and John Linville's tree?
This package is based on John's tree, we just add compatibility support for older kernels.
Do I need this on Fedora?
As of Fedora 10 mac80211 is shipping mac80211 built into the kernel which means you cannot replace the mac80211 version for it as you will have a symbol conflict. This is being followed on Red Hat bugzilla:
The initial FC10 kernel release had mac80211 built-in to the FC10 kernel and not as a module which prevents users from using compat-wireless. This was reported as under a Fedora bug #470143, John later fixed this as of 126.96.36.199-83 FC10 kernel.
John Linville actually builds Fedora kernels whenever he makes any updates to wireless-testing.git and these kernels are based on wireless-testing.git so you should just have to upgrade your kernel. What you get from these kernels will be exactly what you will get out of this package. Therefore you really only need compat-wireless-2.6 package on Fedora if you are using a really old kernel and you can't upgrade for some reason. Note that yum update is reasonably useful, although it can be weeks behind. If you want to be sure to get the latest Fedora kernels which have wireless-testing.git code in you can get them here:
These are the kernels that John builds for Fedora.
Getting compat-wireless on Ubuntu
With Ubuntu you have the option of either installing compat-wireless yourself or of installing the package that provides it built by the Ubuntu kernel team. The Ubuntu package that carries compat-wireless is called linux-backport-modules and it has more backported modules than just your wireless subsystem. Its updated whenever major updates are pushed out into the wireless-testing git tree.
# For Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid users: sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid # For Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty users: sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-jaunty
Please note that if you are installing linux-backports-modules-intrepid and you later decide to install compat-wireless by building it by yourself you are highly encouraged you first remove linux-backports-modules-intrepid first otherwise you can run into module dependency conflicts.
Building for external kernels
If you have a kernel you do not have installed but yet want to build the compat-wireless-2.6 drivers for it you can use this syntax:
make KLIB=/home/mcgrof/kernels/linux-188.8.131.52 \ KLIB_BUILD=/home/mcgrof/kernels/linux-184.108.40.206
If you've found a bug please report it to our linux-wireless mailing list:
Report the bug because you are working with the latest and greatest. If your bug is compatibility-related then we should still try to fix it within the compat.[ch] work.
See the wireless-testing ChangeLog to see the list of latest changes to all wireless drivers, the wireless core and mac80211. Since this package is based on the wireless-testing.git latest means patches which John has accepted today!
See the compat-wireless-2.6 ChangeLog to view changes made necessary in order to keep advancing this package.
This work is a subset of the Linux kernel as such we keep the kernel's Copyright practice. Some files have their own copyright and in those cases the license is mentioned in the file. All additional work made to building this package is licensed under the GPLv2.
Hacking on compat-wireless-2.6
Please try adding new drivers, test them and if they work enable them. You can then send patches. Compatibility work goes into compat/compat.[ch]. If using those files do not suffice additional actual code changes can go into compat/compat.diff.
If you have your own wireless-testing.git tree, before running admin-update.sh be sure to set your GIT_TREE variable. For example:
scripts/admin-clean.sh - Cleans the compat-wireless-2.6 tree scripts/admin-update.sh - Updates compat-wireless-2.6 with your git tree scripts/admin-refresh.sh - Does the above two
- Dialog (make menuconfig) option for this package
Patches for compatibility work
Please send patches against
To: Luis R. Rodriguez <firstname.lastname@example.org> CC: email@example.com Subject: [PATCH] compat-2.6: fix foo
Checking out compat-wireless-2.6.git tree
If you have a local wireless-testing.git tree already you can just check out the compat-wireless-2.6.git tree yourself and make updates manually. To checkout the compat-wireless-2.6.git tree you do:
Every now and then you want to pull to get the latest updates:
cd compat-wireless-2.6/ git-pull
Patches for drivers
If you'd like to send patches for a driver though you can send it using our Submitting Patches guidelines. Please note that some patches applied onto wireless-testing can be applied onto compat-wireless-old, they just need to be backported. Help with this is greatly appreciated.