Monday, December 26, 2005

Wireless shouldn't be this hard

I have a simple desire: run Linux on an old Dell laptop to be used mainly for Firefox and one or two IM clients. Nothing fancy. So after having a positive experience with Ubuntu on an older desktop machine, I decided to try it on the laptop.

Four years ago I was quite proud of myself for having gotten 802.11b working under RedHat with a Lucent Orinoco Silver PCMCIA card in a Dell Inspiron 8000. It wasn't easy, but I eventually appeased the gods and my wish was granted. Fast-forward to 2005, same Dell Inspiron 8000, Ubuntu Linux, a D-Link DWL-G122 802.11g USB dongle...

Oh, wait, you want to use USB wireless?

I can't get it to see the device. Well, lsusb saw it, but the prisma02 drivers didn't. Digging into the kernel just to get a network interface to recognize is so 1992. As Paul Graham recently wrote:

There are three variants of procrastination, depending on what you do instead of working on something: you could work on (a) nothing, (b) something less important, or (c) something more important. That last type, I'd argue, is good procrastination.

The list of things in category (c) relative to spending more time with this noble quest is already long and growing.

So tonight I reinstalled Windows XP. Not because I want to use Windows. Not because it's faster to set up -- by the time all updates and Service Pack 2 are installed about 6 hours will have elapsed. However, I know at the end it will work.

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