Linux community mourns loss of WiFi driver expert

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The Linux kernel community is in mourning following the loss of Larry Finger, a longtime and prolific contributor to WiFi drivers. Finger, who began his contributions to the Linux kernel in 2005 and had over 1,500 kernel patches accepted into the mainline Linux kernel, passed away on 21 June 2024.

The news of Finger’s passing was shared by his wife in a brief statement on the linux-wireless mailing list: “This is to notify you that Larry Finger, one of your developers, passed away on June 21st.”

Finger’s journey in the Linux kernel community began with contributions to the Broadcom BCM43XX driver. Over the years, his expertise expanded to encompass a wide range of Linux WiFi drivers. His most recent work focused on drivers such as RTW88, RTW89, R8188EU, R8712, RTLWIFI, and B43, among others.

The impact of Finger’s contributions to Linux wireless hardware support cannot be overstated. Longtime Linux users will recall the challenges of the past two decades, including struggles with WiFi support and the need to resort to solutions like NDISWrapper to use Windows WiFi drivers on Linux systems. Thanks in part to Finger’s dedicated efforts, today’s Linux users enjoy largely trouble-free wireless hardware support.

Finger’s work on the Linux kernel spanned nearly two decades, during which he consistently contributed to improving and expanding WiFi driver support. His commitment to the open-source community and his technical expertise helped shape the current state of Linux wireless networking.

The loss of Larry Finger is deeply felt within the Linux community, particularly among those involved in kernel development and wireless networking. His contributions have not only improved the user experience for millions of Linux users worldwide but have also paved the way for better hardware compatibility and performance.

As the Linux community reflects on Finger’s legacy, many developers and users are expressing their gratitude for his tireless work. His contributions serve as a testament to the power of open-source collaboration and the impact that dedicated individuals can have on technology used by millions.

The passing of Larry Finger marks the end of an era in Linux WiFi development. However, the foundations he laid and the improvements he made to the Linux kernel will continue to benefit users and developers for years to come. His work stands as an inspiration to current and future contributors to the Linux ecosystem, demonstrating the lasting impact that sustained, focused efforts can have on open-source projects.

As the Linux community mourns the loss of one of its valued members, it also celebrates the legacy of improved wireless support that Larry Finger leaves behind. His contributions will continue to be felt every time a Linux user connects seamlessly to a WiFi network, a fitting tribute to a developer who dedicated so much of his time and expertise to improving this crucial aspect of modern computing.

(Photo by Dreamlike Street)

See also: Dave Burke retires as VP of Android engineering

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