The Jem report has a
great article describing the intracies and difficulties in
why wireless drivers suck under Linux/FreeBSD and most other Free operating systems out there.
A choice quote from an Atmel representative is extremely enlightening on why some companies are far more open to OSS drivers:
You’ve only got three real chances for success: you can be first to market with a technology, or you can have valuable and unique features that no one else has and the market wants, or you can have the lowest price.
Atmel wasn’t first, didn’t have any new unique features, and wasn’t the cheapest, either. With the PC and OEM markets being somewhat locked out, we repositioned to focus on the embedded space where the market was experiencing and predicting large growth. In the embedded market, if you don’t get documentation to developers, then you both fail.
Basically, the players that are friendly to OSS basically lost the market initiative so OSS drivers are a way to grab a certain sub-segment of the market. Kind of sad to hear this to tell you the truth but understandable.