[Gllug] London laptop recommendations

Mike Brodbelt mike at coruscant.demon.co.uk
Fri Jun 8 21:33:22 UTC 2007

Tom Weissmann wrote:

> It could be just that the antenna is better but my T40's Atheros / 
> madwifi combination performs much better than the Intel / ipw2200 
> combination in my girlfriend's laptop, in terms of picking up and 
> maintaining a connection to far-away APs. As far as I know, you can also 
> do more with the Atheros, too: create multiple interfaces on the same 
> channel, use master mode.

The card is reportedly better than the ipw2200, though I've no first 
hand knowledge. For me however, it's use is characterised by random 
interface hangs and a tainted kernel. It doesn't matter how good the 
hardware is if the driver is so poor as to be unusable.

> On the other hand, I've never needed to use ad-hoc mode :)

Neither, it seems, have the madwifi developers. I'm sure that if your 
use of it falls into the subset of driver functionality that actually 
works, it's a decent setup. However, I'm attempting to use what I 
consider to be an *extremely* basic mode of operation, and for a period 
of over 2 years since I first attempted it, madwifi has consistently 
failed to provide an operable connection. Add to that the fact it's 
non-free, and I see absolutely nothing to like about it - in fact I 
consider the projects' existence to have actively prevented the 
development of a decent driver, by being just good enough that people 
aren't complaining a lot. This is why I think no driver is better than a 
non-free driver - it spurs development by reverse engineering of drivers 
that are GPL compatible and thus get into the kernel, where they get 
hacked into shape quickly. Just look at OpenBSD as a case in point. 
Ndiswrapper, with all its problems, remains a better driver choice for 
many use patterns.

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