View Full Version : Preparing to go Linux, hardware pre-issue
10th August 2009, 10:14 PM
I am tired of Uncle Billy and Aunt Stevie controlling my computer and what I do with it. Really wishing I didnt love my iPhone soooo much. (Jailbroken of course, neener neener Stevie!!) So I have decided to toss them both to the side and shoot over to Linux. I have known about Linux forever, just like any 'Windower', scared to take the plunge. I am done with Windows. (Although, Windows 7 is the BEST Windows I have seen yet. I still have 3.0 on floppy!(5-1/4!) I have chosen the Fedora package mostly because Linus Torvalds uses it. Ya, I know who he is. I am awaiting my DVD to arrive in the mail, due to my internet connection (down with HughesNET), and here lies my issue. I am sucking internet via a wireless connection. I am using a Linksys WMP300N with the Broadcom BCM43XNG chipset. I have been trolling the threads and kind of getting worried. Anyone have any ideas on maybe preparing a disk or something with the necessary drivers on it? Been reading that the Windows drivers on the XP disk are the way to go. Or, just maybe, have I missed a driver somewhere? I'd like to get this prepared before I drop Windows, while I have internet. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks All!!
AMD Athlon XP 2800+"Barton" (old yes, but rock solid)
VIA Chipset (EWW)
NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS 512MB (AGP)
VIA Ethernet controller (again, EWW)
Linksys WMP300N Wireless PCI (Broadcom BCM43XNG chip)
If you require more specs just ask, thanks again!
29th August 2009, 11:50 PM
I too am a lifelong windows user, though I really like it. (Don't bother arguing. I do want to learn to use Linux too).
While I have made several attempts to switch over to Linux, I have not succeed. Kind of like trying to break a drug addiction I guess.
Anyways, the main problem that has always turned me away has been wireless. My WMP300N wireless adapter has NEVER worked with ANY Linux distro. I am trying Fedora 11 as soon as it finishes burning. I hope I can get some support and help here with all this.
30th August 2009, 12:15 AM
I would start a separate thread on it.
This is, of course, a problem with Linux. You are limited in the hardware you can use, you often have to buy older versions of say, printers and scanners, and buying any new peripheral becomes an adventure. It shouldn't be.
Some vendors are more Linux friendly than others, either releasing code, or at least releasing a driver--then some Linux distros won't use the driver because the code isn't open. :)
This particular card, doing a quick google, looks like it might require ndiswrapper. At any rate, I'd start a separate thread, being sure to put the card model in the title--a vague title like wireless help is likely to be completely ignored.
30th August 2009, 12:34 AM
If we are done with the FUD. Linux ships with more drivers out of the box than any other OS including Windows. Has done for quite some time. You will still find the occasional driver issue but it is pretty rare these days. For the most part it just works. Unless you are running raw hide that is.
Have you tried the ath9k driver?
30th August 2009, 01:35 AM
No, an avoidance of false advertising.
There are still far too many pieces of hardware that require more work than they should to get working in Linux. The abundance of nice GUI tools seems to make it worse, not better.
Most of the time, they can be gotten to work. But denying that it will take effort, claiming it will work out of the box, simply drives people away when they see this isn't the case.
I'm writing as a fellow forum user, not a CM, so feel free to castigate if you wish.
30th August 2009, 01:40 AM
I started this thread back in January, and never did get it working.
30th August 2009, 03:03 AM
I suspect that jvillain and I are more in agreement about things than it seems. However, just as an example--I have an HP Photosmart C4795 all in one printer. It's not especially new. I'm not sure when it was first released, though. However, only the latest version of hplip supports it. Things based on, for example, Ubuntu Jaunty don't work with it, I'm not sure about F11, as I've been using Rawhide--but Fedora's version only seems to work if I have the default installation.
In most cases, I have to install from source, and hplip's directions are incomplete, and sometimes incorrect. I can get it working with just about any distribution. However, it's non-trivial.
On the other hand--even our former Windows Admin admitted he was impressed by how well Ubuntu handled his hardware and how simple it was to upgrade when compared to MS, and its genuine advantage and all that nonsense. Not to mention, that as jvillain says, Linux does often come with more drivers included than does MS.
The trouble is, the vendors all support MS, so even if the driver isn't included, one can easily find the proper driver. If you've purchased it (as opposed to inheriting or buying used) a driver disk is usually included.
Conversely, Windows 7 isn't even including a mail client, though it's easy enough to download one.
Often, a card will be a complete pain to get working when it first comes out, but if one is patient, it will (often) soon become trivial. I have a page about the AR5007EG, which, even to the end, required a special snapshot of MadWifi, however, that card, with the ath5k driver, has become trivial. The trouble is, that especially when something is new, getting driver support can become a problem, disappointing the new user who has been hearing about how wonderful and easy Linux has become to use.
30th August 2009, 03:25 AM
Here's a good place for wireless on linux systems -- I installed the b43 (for b4318 chipset) on my Fedora 7 laptop; after trying ndiswrapper which didn't work at all. If you're using a distro with a newer kernel, it may 'just work' for you. But here's the main page for linux wireless:
And here's the page for the b43 drivers: http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43
I think the ath driver (mentioned above) is for atheros chipsets, not broadcom.
Hope all the rest goes well!
30th August 2009, 04:18 AM
Scottro is right. Linux may have numerically more drivers, but is lacking many critical ones for he typical end/home-user. We can't entirely blame the developers as the information for writing drivers isn't provided in some cases. Further part manufacturers will often write and distribute Win drivers freely, but rarely Linux drivers.
Choosing a distro b/c Linus uses it isn't smart. You're not Linus and the things he needs/wants in a distro and his ability to repair shortcomings are vastly differnet from a beginner's.
30th August 2009, 05:01 AM
I have found that the wireless-G hardware is vastly better supported than the wireless-N. Although it is in short supply and will soon be unavailable (I dunno why), TigerDirect has a Sabrent PCI wireless-g adapter for $14.99 that is the one I am offering in my computers. It is one of the very few pcs of hardware I've found that actually advertises its Linux compatibility...that in itself is reason to purchase it IMO, because if we support those who support us...you know where this is going :)
And unless you are going to be transmitting a lot of files over your home network, G is (IMO) just as good as N...54Mbps (6.75MB/s) is faster than most high-speed internet connections anyway.
Just my $0.02 worth, if anyone is interested.
3rd September 2009, 08:01 AM
Fearing that I might get off topic a bit : Linux is the kernel which supports the most hardware out of the box of all kernels ever. Period. Nothing has drivers for as many things as Linux. Linux is also the kernel that can run on the most types of processors (x86, PPC, ARM, SPARC, you name). If Linux doesn't have a driver for the hardware you just bought, get something cheaper that does have a driver and return the old piece of crap to the store. Any type of hardware that your average Joe needs, does have good (libre) drivers for good hardware.
I have lately not been able to find drivers for Windows XP for a lot of new hardware -- this is likely because of Windows Vista, but it doesn't change that new hardware and Windows XP are not becomming better friends. This is mostly audio and wireless NICs but also includes S-ATA interfaces.
If you want a wireless NIC that is well supported under Linux and don't mind installing closed firmwares, I can recommend anything based on RaLinks RT2680 chips (I have one) -- It supports 802.11N quite well. Rpmfusion has all you need for these chips.
3rd September 2009, 12:12 PM
Without getting into firm definitions of where Linux ends and GnuLinux or Xorg begins....
Just as an example....
Linux (or most distributions) have drivers for about 30 plus video cards. However, most of them are cards that are no longer used, and two of the three most common, ATI and NVidia, while generic support is there, are lacking in full support.
It supports lots of motherboards, but the common cheap host RAID cards such as adapatec, are often not supported--and if the manufacturer provides a driver, it's usually for RHEL4.
And so on. I think Debian now supports more architectures than NetBSD, but in the general sense of, "I wanna buy a desktop/laptop, will Linux support *MY* hardware" the answer is, "Not yet." Tell a person something about how it's the fault of the vendor, or how much other hardware Linux *does* support, and whoop-de-doo, you don't even need a driver disk, the answer is, "You mean like the one that's in the box when I buy the computer?"
If I'm a WIndows or Mac user and want to buy an all in one, I buy what I want. If I'm a Linux/BSD user, first I select various ones that might work, then google each model number to see if they'll work with Linux.
So, call it FUD if you wish, but arguing that that isn't true strikes me as false advertising, so to speak. Promise the newcomer that yeah, it works with most hardware, and you'll just make another WIndows/Mac fan when they see that while that might be true, it wasn't in their case.
3rd September 2009, 05:08 PM
I used to look for hardware that would work with Linux as well but those days are long over. As long as you don't buy some thing with "win" in the name of the product you just don't run into problems any more. I have more devices that won't run under Vista and beyond than I do that won't run under Linux. You will never see a Linux distro break the entire driver model as a way to get you to pay to update.
Sure the 3D opensource video drivers aren't up to par with the manufacturers drivers but the blobs are available if you need the extra bit. To say that the open source drivers don't work for what 90% of people use their Linux computers for though is false.
3rd September 2009, 10:36 PM
Hrrm, I don't think I said 90 percent. As I said before, I suspect that we agree more than we disagree, but I would still say that a great deal of hardware won't work, especially out of the box, with many flavours of Linux.
My biggest point here is that simply assuring a newcomer that "Yeah, it'll work," is a mistake.
As for which O/S breaks compatibility---well, that's probably a toss up between all of 'em. Not necessarily drivers (and not, in this case, limiting myself strictly to Linux, as in the kernel).
Anyway, I'm sorry if you feel that I'm spreading FUD, since, from most of your posts that I've seen, you seem extremely knowledgeable, but I really do feel that too many people go in the other direction, of saying, "Sure, it'll work without problem," when it won't work without problem.
Also, you can't judge a newcomer as you would yourself, For example, you might buy something and figure you'll get it to work, but the newcomer would just find that it doesn't work and be disappointed.
Let me add, just in case this becomes an issue, that I'm speaking all of this as a fellow user, not a moderator, so feel free to villify me. (I've been married awhile, so I'm used to that.) :D
I also repeat that I suspect we agree far more than we disagree on this.
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