We are aware that many people have been asking about availability of drivers for new wireless networking adapters. If you’ve followed our driver roadmap and our Warpstock presentations, you might be aware of the fact that these drivers are still in development.
Wi-Fi drivers are by their nature considerably more complex pieces of code than wired ethernet drivers. As a result, they take a considerably longer time to build than wired ethernet drivers. The complexity and multi-functionality requirements of Wi-Fi drivers, and the radically different architecture of unix (or Linux) means that Wi-Fi drivers cannot be created by simply compiling a FreeBSD driver for OS/2 as is generally possible for MultiMac wired ethernet drivers. Wi-Fi drivers need to be developed specifically for OS/2, with the capability to handle expected wireless communication protocols and be manageable by XWLAN, the de facto standard for Wi-Fi device and profile management on the OS/2 platform. All of this work is extremely time consuming and requires comprehensive knowledge of Wi-Fi operations and OS/2 networking.
ArcaOS 5.1 is the first version of OS/2 capable of not only booting on modern UEFI hardware with or without the availability of a Compatibility Support Module (CSM), but also the first to be able to access – and indeed, boot from – GUID Partition Table (GPT) disk layouts. All of this work was prioritized above Wi-Fi driver development, under our guiding philosophy of “if the system can’t boot, not much else matters.”
As addressed in our FAQ, the standard workaround for lack of a Wi-Fi driver is to use a small wireless bridge device. Indeed, this is not a solution, but a workaround until such time as Wi-Fi drivers are available for more modern chipsets.
We understand that wireless drivers are very important to a some of our users. We are doing what we can to address that need while simultaneously continuing to improve the ArcaOS experience overall. We appreciate everyone’s continued patience.