General discussion


Linux and the wireless network driver

By jck ·
OK, ladies and gents (and those who don't want to be classified as either):

Over the weekend, I downloaded and did default installs of 6 flavors of Linux onto the new drive I received on Friday. Linspire seems to have been the only Linux that, by default, found and loaded a driver for my Xterasys 802.11b wireless network card.

Being as I haven't messed with Linux in about 6-7 years, I can't remember a lot about the OS. Plus, now it's GUI and all I remember is command-line interfaces.

Do most Linux distros have a tool now to load a driver, or do I need to do this manually still? I know that I saw an interface for loading drivers for a device, but I didn't see the appropriate one for mine in the list and I didn't see an equivalent to the Microsloth "Browse" button.

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ISO Disk for Linux?

by dingletec In reply to grandeur lost...

Maybe I'm confused by what you are saying... An iso image is a cd image you can write to disk. If you are trying to make a cd that is readable by Linux, create one as you normally would. It should be readable by any OS as it is.

I'm sorry you're frustrated... Welcome to Linux! For me, it's a love/hate relationship. Ok, I admit it, I actually do love a challenge, but the frustration occasionally causes me to use the word hate. I'm sure I were happy when everything worked well, I wouldn't have learned a fraction of what I have.

I realize you want to make everything work with the hardware you have, but fyi I use a Cisco 350 and Orinocco Gold cards in my laptops. You would just be able to pop one in, and it would automagically work. For the desktops, I use Dlink dwl-520 cards. I'm sure if the others posted what has worked for them, we could come up with a pretty good list for you.

There are so many more interesting things to learn about Linux, getting Windows drivers to work in Linux just seems an exercise in frustration to me.

For instance, did you realize konqueror in KDE supports browsing tons of protocols? In the address bar, you can type:


And you can browse your email on the server as files.

fish://username@<some hostname or ip address>

And you can browse, drag, drop files and folders between systems using ssh/sftp. Incredibly secure filesharing, relatively speaking. I was amazing myself by having different windows open and dragging files between systems I admin in different cities and states. I do all that by the commandline usually, it was just cool to see how far advanced KDE is beyond Windows and OSX in filesharing.

I read you can do that with something like 78 different protocols. I generally only have use for fish(ssh), ftp, smb, etc.

Anyway, hurry up and get beyond this hardware issue. I'm interested to see your reaction when you start discovering some of the much cooler things about linux.

Shell scripts, for example. I think a person can do just about anything with a shell script.

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a little clarification

by jck In reply to ISO Disk for Linux?

What I had tried to do was:
1) get the source files for creating the Linux driver on the Linux box - succeeded
2) create a CD, using a Windows XP PC, in ISO 9660 format that a Linux box could read with the source files on it - failed

About the only thing I can think is that after the machine booted, I opened the CD drive and put the CD in and closed it and it didn't auto-mount the CD volume. Not sure if Mandrake does that or not.

Basically, I want to create a CD on a PC (using something like Roxio) with my wireless card Linux driver source files, which is readable by a Linux box.

As for the frustration, I expect was facetious. You think I've worked in programming Windows without grinding some teeth? Why do you think so many IT guys go bald in front first? It's cause they pull out their own hair because of Windows issues...hahahaha.

I'm definitely not wanting to have to buy another wireless card, although the one I have is 802.11b...and...11g would be a nice speed improvement. I looked at the D-Link card as well as a couple others that said they have GPL drivers for Linux. The big question is, does their CD that comes with the wireless card have Linux drivers on it? I think that's what will determine what I buy.

I'll get beyond the hardware's just a matter of time and effort and help from people who've been where I am now.


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Suse solution..

by peter.barrett In reply to Linux and the wireless ne ...

I have the same card under SuSe 9.2..
That card needs drivers installed by the os before it works.. Suse has a dir /hotplug/firmware
in the readme it said to put the drivers in that dir.. I restarted and checked with modprobe and the card came up first try.. !!

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The saga continues...

by jck In reply to Linux and the wireless ne ...

Well, I have the files onto the Linux box. However under Mandrake, I could not get them to compile because evidently some source files were not where it thinks they should be. When I re-loaded Xandros on the box, it said that the "gcc" compiler could not be found.

I'm trying to use the Makefile included in the .tar file as is, but I think I'll have to edit the path in which it looks for certain packages.

So far, no luck. I'll keep working at it. Xandros is my current guinea pig. If I can't solve it tonight, then I think I'm going to Ubuntu again.

more to come...

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related question on Q&A

by jck In reply to Linux and the wireless ne ...

decided on the advice of someone to post a question in Q&A that is version specific to this issue for the Mandrake and Xandros distros and how to resolve the issues I've had with both of them

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Just curious...

by Mantei Woodcraft Ltd. In reply to related question on Q&A

Why did you give up on Linspire? You did say that it was the only one that supported your hardware. What are your plans for Linux that makes Linspire unsuitable?

(I am BTW an entrenched Windows user although I do have Lindows/Linspire which I use infrequently.)

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by jck In reply to Just curious...

it was mainly because it was fee-based, and I plan on learning all the stuff about Linux that I can manually.

Don't get me wrong. Linspire looks really nice and, if I install it later (which I will probably buy another drive and tray or two with which I can play with other version of Linux), I will most likely try it and pay for it.

I just wanted a version of Linux that wasn't too hard to deal with, yet wasn't too easy to get through.

Not having dealt with Linux in years, I have to re-learn what I have forgotten, plus learn what's been added and changed. Hence, I went to Mandrake so that I could get into the guts of the system and learn a lot of core parts.

I am currently working with Mandrake 10.1 and learning how to add drivers, use RPMs, etc. I will be loading Cedega soon so that I can test its ability to load and run OpenGL *and* DirectX games from the Windows platform. Mainly because I am interested in how well it can perform vs. running DirectX games under Windows itself.

Later, I will be working with development tools as I am a senior programmer. And, I may well get into writing driver level software for the Linux platform.

It just all depends. I have lots going on personally in the next 5 months, so things may or may not get to do everything I wanted.

Hence since my learning curve had to be high, I wanted to go with a software package I could download, install over and over, toy with, and not have to worry about licensing and what not.

Mandrake, Ubuntu, Slackware and Xandros fit the bill for now. I will toy with each of those until I'm comfortable with my knowledge, then I will work toward using commercialized Linux OSes and applications.

I see a lot of promise in Linux. I see it definitely being more of a "work horse" OS compared to Windows, and definitely more streamlined. Since I am in a position to recommend things to my boss at work, I want to be knowledgable about Linux to some level of expertise. This way if we find too many functional issues with Windows Server systems in relation to storehousing or application databases, Linux could be an option to solve possible future problems.

OK...enough wind expended. back to relaxing :)

hope that answered your question sufficiently.

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learning with OpenBSD

by apotheon In reply to basically

You might think about taking a whack at OpenBSD, if you want primarily to LEARN. OpenBSD is by no means "easy" in and of itself: it's very hairy unixy goodness, without any of the user-friendly toys common to most Linux distributions, but if you assemble the correct help you will get a step-by-step explanation for how to become a competent OpenBSD user in (relatively) no time at all.

The trick is to know where your references are. OpenBSD has some of the best documentation in existence for an x86-platform OS. It's also widely hailed as the single most secure OS available to the general public. The references you should definitely have on-hand if you want to learn without notable frustration are as follows: Absolute OpenBS UNIX for the Practical Paranoid OpenBSD installation FAQ

You should probably look up the FreeBSD Handbook, too, while you're at it. It's not specifically for OpenBSD (as the name suggests), but it's a great reference for unices in general and BSDs in particular. It's available online (of course).

I most especially recommend the Absolute OpenBSD reference. I've had a chance to look through it, and it is truly an extremely high-quality reference.

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by jck In reply to learning with OpenBSD

I will look up all that stuff.

As I mentioned, I will probably order 2 more hard drives and 2 trays for the swappable rack I put in. I will install FreeBSD on one of them and give it a test.

However, I don't necessarily want the learning experience to be a monster task. I just didn't want to be learning more about the operation of the GUI than the CLI. I've found that in Mandrake, I had to learn what was what amongst the KDE interfaces (since I'd never used any of the more recent Linux GUIs). Luckily, I saw the icon on the bar for the terminal screen and other than it only showing the local directory name, I was happy at that point (I'll change the shell parameter to have it show the entire pwd tree as my prompt so I know where I'm at...).

Thanks again for the info. After yardwork and what not, this weekend will be about messing with Linux :)

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good deal

by apotheon In reply to thanks

Good luck with your Linuxy fun.

By the way, I don't recall whether I've mentioned this elsewhere, but the key to getting good wireless support with a unix is the wireless network adapter's chipset.

For PCMCIA cards, the three chipsets to value about others are Prism, Hermes, and Cisco Aironet. Cards using these chipsets are not exactly commonly available at brick and mortar storefronts, but you might be able to find them for sale online (such as at eBay). Aside from the fact that these chipsets are extremely high-functioning, high-quality wireless network hardware, they are also supported natively by standard modern Linux and *BSD kernels, with drivers for them compiled in by default. They're about as close to "plug and play" as you're going to get for wireless network access on unix. Just plug the thing in, then configure your interface configuration and DHCP client configuration files.

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