[Nottingham] computer bits and pieces

Martin Garton martin at stupids.org
Tue Dec 12 12:23:15 GMT 2006

On Tue, 2006-12-12 at 11:57 +0000, Michael Erskine wrote:
> On Tuesday 12 December 2006 08:24, Godfrey Nix wrote:
> > Can anyone offer suggestions of a suitable plug-in wireless lan card for
> > my Compaq laptop? I am running Fedora Core on it (if that makes any
> > difference).
> Martin Garton should know this one!

Actually, I don't have any wireless equipment for my laptop that I'm
entirely satisfied with.

I have an actiontec usb 801.22b adapter (atmel chipset of some sort)
which works okay, but is only "b" and it not supported out of the box on
all distros. (recent ubuntu and mandriva do support it. unsure about
recent FC)  We used this one at the last LAN event to get internet

I also have an old pcmcia 802.11b adapter (uses the orinico driver)
which works fine but again is only "b"

Finally, I have a belkin usb 802.11g adapter which almost works but the
driver is still in development.  The thing about this one is that what
is apparently one type of adapter actually comes in at least 4 different
flavours with different chipsets despite looking the same on the
outside.  If you can get one of the ones that works, they are great.  I
has one of the working ones.

So in summary, I don't have any very useful advice really.

Wireless support on linux is one of those areas that's not as good as we
would like.  Things are starting to look up though I think, with more
vendors being more helpful to developers and more developers working on
reverse engineering and developing new drivers that way.

Another problem is that many drivers are maintained outside mainline
linux and often duplicate bits of functionality which belong in the core
stack.  Having two competing stacks doesn't help either.  This situation
is also getting better especially since the wireless subsystem now
appears to have a proper maintainer (John Linville) who seems to be
doing a great job so far.  I expect some of the out-of-tree drivers will
be easier to merge as things improve.

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