David Boles wrote:
John Summerfield wrote:
I know that Ubuntu went to considerable trouble to get Ubuntu working
well on laptops a two or three releases ago. I do not know the status of
wireless on Ubuntu, but I suspect it's been better in other respects
(power management, hibernation) on laptops for a while.
I know wireless on opensuse 10.2 sucks pretty badly, but I really can't
say whether other distros do it better or worse.
Not knowing, I crossed out Linux and substituted Fedora.
In this case, I'm assuming working drivers; I have Atheros-based cards
and I can get a working driver for them. Having done that, on Fedora,
wireless still sucks.
And my statement is an observation, not an attribution of blame.
Attributing blame just gets arguments, but anyone who extols the wonders
of Linux wireless networking to a Windows or OS X user deserves derision.
I was not trying to be 'nasty' John. I asked because I was/am curious.
I didn't think you were:-)
My boss wants me to start using a laptop, I do not like laptops, never
have, but I was looking for some Linux information. The last laptop I
'had' my secretary nicknamed 'David's paperweight ;-) because that is
what I used it for mostly.
As near as I can tell - if you want problems use certain WiFi devices
and any Linux. Really want problems? Use something, anything, assembled
by Dell. I do not know why but those seem to be the start of most
problems and/or complaints that I have read.
I gather that the WiFi problem is lack of drivers? Which, as I read, is
a problem with Vista too. The manufacturers waited too long to provide
Microsoft with generic drivers or to write their own 'good'drivers.
Video drivers too. It seems that Linux drivers are few and far between.
A problem is drivers. Atheros cards are well-supported (I know this
because I have several), but the madwifi driver includes a binary blob,
so Linux distributors are loath to include the driver. It is, however,
in some after-market repos, and downloading it from madwifi.org isn't a
A reason that part of the Atheros driver is a binary blob has to do with
US law and things the wireless could do if it were unconstrained. There
is an alternative driver, available from the same location, that seems
better suited to distro vendors' requirements, but I've not tried it.
OTOH I have seen messages that suggest might be distributed, but I've
not set eyes on it.
Intersil plays pretty nicely and provides information and help to those
who would write a driver. See prism54.org. Unfortunately, it's some time
since I found a prism54-based card on the market.
TI and Broadcom are very secretive, but reverse-engineers have been at
work and some broadcoms work. Got a Mac?
Intel seems tp play nicely and writes drivers (or helps write drivers),
but not having any Intel wireless I've not actually tried. I do see
problems with the latest Intel wireless from time to time.
I have an Acer laptop (a cheapie, suggest you keep away from them) that
has built-in wireless. I first installed OpenSUSE 10.0 on it; at that
time OpenSUSE included the madwifi driver, but no more.
I now use a Thinkpad r40, a good one, and it's got openSUSE 10.2 on it.
I added the madwifi driver, it works. To my surprise, the infernal modem
Thinkpad T-series are reputed to be about the best for Linux, and if The
Boss will pay for one, take it:-) - Make sure you pick a high-end one;
my R40 has a 1440x1050 screen, but most R40s don't have that good a
Some vendors, HP, Acer, Dell and (I think) Lenovo, maybe others, ship
Linux preinstalled in some locations. if The Boss (and you) think those
will do, if you can't get a Linux preload, then try to get the same
model with Windows. A Knoppix CD and application of ntfsresize (is it on
Fedora Live? I dunno) will soon make some space.
As for Dell? I read it is poorly supported, inexpensive hardware, that
is their major problem. Again this I do *not* know. I have never owned,
or used, anything Dell. I only know what I have read and what I have
been told by others.
Your thoughts on any of this?
there's Dells and there's Dells. I would only consider a Latitude. I
don't have a good opinion of any consumer grade kit, it seems low-spec
and built to a price. However, I've never owned a Dell Laptop, and a
Dell Optiplex GC270 gave me a hard time.
The reason I say Wireless on Fedora sucks is that the wireless
configuration tools just are not up to it. My Mac will automatically
associate with any AP I've already introduced it to. I don't have to
remember the password/WEP key or whatever. My Thinkpad, running openSUSE
10.2, couldn't even remember the WPA password for my daughter's wireless
router when I visited last month, even without connecting to anything
else in the meantime. It would not configure wireless unless I logged in
to the GUI. It won't enable wire and wireless at the same time.
From what I've seen here, I don't think Fedora would do better, I
didn't have wireless in runlevel 3; I don't think I tried wired-only
networking while running networkmanager.
At work we have four or five APs, and I often carry a laptop around (I'm
the IT bloke). The Mac associates with whichever when I open the lid.
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