Thursday, June 05, 2008

Installing Linux Drivers: More fun than a Root Canal

If you are a technical person who has never experienced the thrill of trying to get a wireless networking card that is not supported by Linux working on an aging laptop which more or less chokes on the more operating systems, I cannot begin to describe the kind of treat you are missing. I'd might consider moving up a root canal should I ever schedule one to have to avoid going through this process again, although the easiest thing to do would have been to buy a networking card that had native Linux support.

The true tech geek knows that there is no fun in this process, because at least in theory it should be a matter of finding the correct package manager, using synaptic or typing in sudo apt-get install . In practice, what often happens is that the source code of these modules are given, they do not compile correctly, and the person involved has to be a master C programmer and a master hacker to get the drivers compiled from the source code.

Now, at least you have a picture of why Windows is still the number one desktop operating system for the PC, although to be fair, Ubuntu takes most of the common frustrations encountered when using Linux out of the process. Assuming your hardware is supported, all you have to do is pop the CD and you should be up and running.

Belkin does not feel the same way about the necessity to provide drivers for common operating systems that I do. Belkin only wants to provide drivers for commercially backed operating systems. This caused a problem, but it is not insurmountable, assuming the user can load Ndiswrapper correctly. Well, I did, but wanting the computer to run faster, I tried installing the newer version from the CD. This did not work as well as I had hoped.

Now I'm back to the original starting point, installing the older version of Ubuntu and getting ready to make sure I have the Windows drivers to use with the operating system. Gods, how I miss the days when I found frustrating things like this fun.

Notes: I know have the network card and Debian Etch on the sytem. It's working as I'd like it to for the most part.


At Sun Apr 25, 06:44:00 AM 2010 , Blogger Mark said...

Hm. Okay.

Note that Windows is NOT the most popular operating systems because it has support for ( almost ) all available hardware, but that ( almost ) all available hardware manufacturers bundle in a driver for Windows because it is the most used operating system. In fact, if manufacturers followed protocols and standard device conventions, even this wouldn't be a problem. But manufacturers often implement software "workarounds" instead of putting in "real" hardware and simply providing a driver disc, thereby cutting costs. Such hardware fails to work with a "standard" and "generic" class device driver, e.g. Conexant "softmodems". It's not Linux's fault. In fact, you will find that most "dying" hardware tends to work more stably on Linux, as you said yourself :)

Be brave; stranger things have happened.

At Sat Jan 22, 07:54:00 PM 2011 , Anonymous g√ľncel blog said...

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