Ubuntu up and running!
My Ubuntu system is now fully up and running on a used laptop I picked up at the Trenton State Computer Festival. I picked up a Toshiba Satellite (2.4GHz) running Windows XP Home. I need XP for school as they run some odd apps that are Windows executables (grrr). The only problem with the laptop was I couldn't get the mini-PCI WiFi card to work under Windows (???). So once I determined that the system was stable (at least as stable as Windows gets) I installed Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty?). I played real dumb and just answered the install questions (I used a DVD to install Ubuntu). It repartitioned my disk with no problems, Windows still works (except for the built-in WiFi) and Ubuntu is up and running. I also have a Compaq system running Fedora 4 ( also have a Fedora 6 server and a soon-to-be Ubuntu server). I won't be upgrading the Compaq system any time soon as it's now my wife's (dual boots to Windows XP, she needs that for school). On the Compaq system I'm running ndiswrapper with it's WiFi card. On the Ubuntu system I initially had problems with the mini-PCI WiFi card and thought it was dead. So I purchased a Buffalo AirStation (WLI-CB-G54S) PCMCIA card. It works OK with Windows and Ubuntu and I made sure it supports better than just WEP. It works with a native driver under Linux but it's range is limited. I may need to get an external antenna to work better. I'm told that I could have made that card work with the NDISWrapper but I suspect that a future kernel change may break NDISWrapper. Beside I want native Linux drivers not Windows kludges (albeit a very inventive kludge, score one for the real hackers). Some where along the line I decided that I'd give the AR5212 based mini-PCI card another try. At first I was getting: "wifi%d: unable to attach hardware:" (sorry can't remember the full message). I did a quick search and found that either it was a hardware problem or I could upgrade to the latest cvs release of MADWiFi. I downloaded it, did a sudo make and sudo make install. Then manually configured the various parameters (I'm also using WPA_Supplicant for WPA support). I now have a working native Linux driver for my AR5212 card (yes!). I did much less work than I had to do for the Wireless network chapter of my book. I'm pleased to see that this difficult subject is becoming a little bit easier to deal with. I may write this up as an article for one of the Linux magazines or Circuit Cellar, we'll see. Right now it's time for my annual "Longest Day" bicycle ride (200+ miles in one day).