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We propose a generic framework for distributed broadcasting in ad hoc wireless networks. The approach is based on selecting a small subset of nodes to form a forward node set to carry out a broadcast process. The status of each node, forward or nonforward, is determined either by the node itself or by other nodes. Node status can be determined at different snapshots of network state along time (called views) without causing problems in broadcast coverage. Therefore, the forward node set can be constructed and maintained through either a proactive process (i.e., "up-to-date") before the broadcast process or a reactive process (i.e., "on-the-fly") during the broadcast process. A sufficient condition, called coverage condition, is given for a node to take the nonforward status. Such a condition can be easily checked locally around the node. Several existing broadcast algorithms can be viewed as special cases of the generic framework with k-hop neighborhood information. A comprehensive comparison among existing algorithms is conducted. Simulation results show that new algorithms, which are more efficient than existing ones, can be derived from the generic framework.