Poking around with the Pico W to see if I can get Bluetooth chugging. Short answer: no. The CYW43439 module has a proprietary protocol and they've only got wifi working via someone's closed blob. Disappointing.

@phooky There are no legal WiFi or Bluetooth chips that don't require some proprietary blob running *somewhere*, because they are all programmable to the extent that being open would make it trivial to make them do illegal things. Never mind that you can anyway just by lying to the software about what country you're in. But that's how FCC part 15 and its equivalents have been interpreted so far. So the only difference is where the blob runs.

@freakazoid there's blobs and there's blobs. If they want to have proprietary firmware running on the module, or even want me to send that blob to the module? Fine. But there's no available documentation for communicating with the module; even that's done with a proprietary module. So to implement bluetooth, I'd have to communicate with an undocumented blob over an unspecified interface. That's a nope.


@phooky Ah, yeah, that is indeed a problem. OTOH this has always been a problem with Raspberry Pi. They have never demonstrated that they've at all cared about the openness of their dependencies.

@phooky Their number one concern, as far as I can tell, has always been cost. Which is laudable; if you can't afford the device in the first place, it's irrelevant how open it is.

@freakazoid it's a particular bummer in this case because the rp2040 is such a great, well-documented chip. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up building their own wireless module at some point. They do care about openness, but they definitely prioritize having working systems in user's hands first.

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