HP-sponsored wireless tools are revved to version 19 in latest Linux kernel: The Linux Wireless Extension and Wireless Tools are driven by HP project leader Jean Tourrilhes, who has a long and generous history in wireless driver work for Linux. The 2.6.14 kernel merges these projects into the kernel itself, making them more widely available with less effort.
Tourrilhes downplays this specific release, but notes that the 802.11 stack now includes HostAP and a set of Centrino drivers that required separate installation. HostAP allows a system to have the majority of features specific to infrastructure access point instead of the more typical ad hoc features available to computers with adapters.
Abstraction has always aided the ease of writing applications on top of drivers by reducing system-specific issues to code that addresses input/output and other housekeeping as a class. An application writer that can access an abstraction layer for any given feature in a driver, such as the improvement in statistics in this release, has less monkeying around to make their programs work with a wider array of hardware. The NDIS5.1 abstraction model in Windows XP is what led to much wider and simpler driver support than under any previous release.