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Jean Tourrilhes On Linux Wireless LAN

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the spelling-101 dept.

Wireless Networking 143

mcleodnine writes "Jean Tourrilhes of the Linux Wireless LAN Howto project took some time to answer a few questions from members at Among some of the more interesting commments was his pick of best and worst Open Source friendly vendors ('Some of those TI engineers even sent me e-mails criticising some features of the Wireless Extensions'), an opinion or two about the Next Big Thing in wireless (MIMO), and a poke in the eye for OS zealots of any religion."

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props 4 gmail campaign launched (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9485941)

simply send your unwanted gmail invites to along with your name, and I will give you props in my next GNAA frosty piss/early post

props to octalc0de

Re:props 4 gmail campaign launched (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9485988)

The above FROSTY PISS was brought to you by Zeikfried Tuvai of the GNAA

wireless viop (3, Interesting)

earlytime (15364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9485961)

what i want to knwo is when can we turn these hotspots into voip transmission towers for wireless viop phones?

Re:wireless viop (4, Informative)

agent (7471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486023)

There is a Mesh AP project that has VoIP support.
More info here.


OS Zealotry (5, Insightful)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9485980)

"I actually believe that OS zealotry is doing a disservice to our community, because if you force somebody into something against his will, you run the risk of creating negative experiences. And, ultimately, what matters is not the OS you use, but what you give to the world, you are not interviewing me because I use Linux ;-)"

Finally, I'm sick of the whole "FreeBSD is dying!" "Microsoft kills babies!" "Linux is stoled code!" "Haiku is actually a freeform poem!" stuff. Just use whatever you want... ok?

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Flamebait)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486015)

but he uses Debian! OMG TEH BEST DISTRO! *cackles*

Re:OS Zealotry (4, Funny)

rastakid (648791) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486110)

Just use whatever you want... ok?

Agreed, as long as it is OpenBSD.

Oh Please, BSD is dying (2, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486198)

Agreed, as long as it is OpenBSD.

haven't you heard? BSD is dying!!! I know, I read it on Slashdot.

Re:OS Zealotry (3, Funny)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486274)

Just use whatever you want... ok?

Agreed, as long as it is OpenBSD.

..on PPC.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486160)

...but Microsoft DOES kill babies.

I don't get it.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486171)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Mac (a 8600/300 w/64 Megs of RAM) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Pentium Pro 200 running NT 4, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Mac, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, Netscape will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even BBEdit Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various Macs, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a Mac that has run faster than its Wintel counterpart, despite the Macs' faster chip architecture. My 486/66 with 8 megs of ram runs faster than this 300 mhz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Macintosh is a superior machine.

Mac addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Mac over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486195)

If the AAC format is so great, and everything is open, and apple owns the majority marketshare, then it should have no problem establishing itself.

What is more likely to happen is everyone will be turned off that in order to use the iTMS they can only use an iPod, or if they have an iPod they can only use the iTMS, and then say screw it, and get one of a zillion other devices/services. That's why WMA is likely to win in the format war. Because apple is repeating the exact same mistake it made with the lock of superior mac hardware and operating system software in 1985. They were arrogant and closed then, and it didn't work. They are arrogant and closed today.

If Microsoft were pulling this move, with a 70% marketshare, tying a microsoft player to the store, all of you wold be screaming bloody antitrust murder. you know why? Because you are biased koolaid drinking zealots and support apple's dysfunctional myopia.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486227)

Have you ever tried to pick up a Powerbook? What is that, like, 30 pounds?

Let's get one thing straight. I once owned a Mac. I also used one (briefly) in college to prepare papers. Pretty early on, people realized that GUI was invaluable for cutting corners. The mouse (and that new fangled laser printer) allowed you to quickly modify the font size of your paper. For a while, the scam was this: if you didn't have enough text written to fill the required number of pages, simply adjust the font size up to say, 20 points or so. Voila. 5 page paper becomes 8. I think this kind of use of the Mac is at the heart of my distaste for it. It has become the computer of lazy people. Now, I know the old saw of the Mac cultists (by the way, what kind of computers did the Heaven's Gate people use?) is something akin to "I don't want to learn another language just to do my work. I want it to do the work for me." Fair enough, to a point. The problem is not in wanting to use the computer purely as a tool. The problem is in thinking that the tool will do the work for you. Macintosh users are inherently lazy, selfish people using machines that were once cutting edge but are now virtually useless.

So why am I kicking them when they're already down? The company is dead. Isn't this like shooting fish in a barrel? The Mac was actually a great computer at one time. Simplifying the use of computers to make them intuitively easy to use should be the goal of every designer and engineer. I'm also very pro competition. I'm tired of Microsoft telling me where I want to go today. I've suffered through plenty of installations for FreeBSD and Linux just to further the cause of the free market.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486243)

Why I hate OS X: Printing is so slow on a Mac. Windows is just faster. I dont care if you are using official drivers, GimpPrint or Foomatic. Its slower, a shitload slower. Changing icons...its fucking stupid. So fucking stupid I wont even bother describing it.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486262)

I actually don't hate the Mac as much as the Macintosh user. Mostly, it is because of the extreme arrogance Apple products seem to engender in their users. Have you ever asked someone for a file and have them send you a Mac file? Isn't this a little like sending someone you've never met an e-mail in Russian? A little presumptuous and a big waste of time. The fact that you can not easily share files defeats the open systems nature of the Internet. Granted, Apple products still hold some sway for graphics applications, but that dominance is just about over. So why do people still hold on to these archaic machines that have little or no hope for an upgrade? Perhaps they can not afford a new computer. That is about the only excuse that is acceptable. I assume that is why public schools still use Macs. I hope it is not because the teachers in these schools are computer illiterate, but I could be wrong. Most of the Mac users out there can perfectly well afford new machines. They hold on to them because they are comforted by the smiley faces and their known quantities. Their old fashioned software and ridiculous interfaces ("I'm trying to transfer a file and the dog isn't running back and forth. Help!") only serve to put the kaibosh on collaboration. I'm not proposing that you have to be some sort of computer genius in order to type your memos and e-mail. I am saying come on fossils, enter the year 2000. Or, don't send me stuff.

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486286)

I just bought a G5 after listening to mac people talk about how theirr machines are so much better than PCs and they "never" break down and never lock-up for no reason......WELL........

Last week I bought this thing and since then have had to reinstall OS-X twice, uninstalled and reinstalled Office v.10 twice and still am unable to unzip certain files (Adobe Illustrator, and the drivers for my HP G85 OfficeJet).

Like I said I am a newbie when it comes to macs, its been 15 years since the last time I was on a mac, so it is frustrating when I cant fix the problems on my own...

I have gone thru and fixed the permissions thru Disk Diag. but the same problems still exist. Stuffit causes errors whenever I try to expand (unzip) Illustrator, and HP drivers, and the ****ed thing locks up more than a old 386 trying to run SETI@Home...

Where do I begin ?? :confused:


I did not uninstall and reinstall Office v.10 because of the Stuffit issue. I had to uninstall and reinstall because of so many lock-ups and "weird" things that were going on.

Re:OS Zealotry (0, Offtopic)

heathcaldwell (595289) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486477)

I don't know much about Mac's, but it sounds kind of strange for it to be randomly locking up.

One thing you might want to check is: Where have you physically placed the machine? Is it getting good ventilation? I would assume a G5 produces a bunch of heat, and if you have stuffed it into a cupboard or something, it may be overheating.

Just an idea.

- Heath Caldwell

Re:OS Zealotry (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486241)

File copy time is mostly dependent on disk speed and the size of the I/O transfers performed. CPU speed is a small factor. Less than 1 MB/min is pretty horrible. I would guess you don't have enough RAM in the mac, so your copy is being done in very small chunks and your OS is paging. How much RAM is in the Pentium?

Re:OS Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486581)

YHBT! Hahaha. Can't believe people still fall for this. HAND.

you have to change (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487504)

some of the words and specs around if you want to dunk this troll bait in the water. Man this is an old one.

Re:OS Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486224)

But as long as you have emacs why does the OS matter???

Re:OS Zealotry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486271)

Something has to read the /etc/passwd file:

acoward:x:500:500:Anonymous Coward:/home/acoward:/usr/bin/emacs

Re:OS Zealotry (1)

dotwaffle (610149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488385)


Harsh. Harsh, but true...

Who says the French are arrogant? (4, Funny)

dannyelfman (717583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486031)

From the article:

It's hard to describe those comics to non-french speakers, because the french-speaking comic culture is vastly more diverse, mainstream and serious than in other languages (either manga or US comics), and this precise type of comic has no equivalent.

I don't think so. Nope, not one bit.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486112)

He's not being arrogant.

He's simply pointing out that like 100% of Manga consists of drawings of blue-haired, pumpkin-headed screamers with eyes the size of dinner plates, with very little variation.

Sorry he insulted your porn, btw.


Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (0)

dannyelfman (717583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486141)

Nah, he didn't say anything about lesbians in plaid skirts.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (4, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486292)

You forgot the tentacles and schoolgirl uniforms.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486319)

Hi, dickhead. Managed to get your GIMPed wallpaper into any major distributions lately?

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486442)

That last troll was posted by:

McDaniel, Scott,
McDaniel Development
29 Old Highway 5 South, and..
7 Riverside Dr.
Ellijay, Georgia 30840
United States
(706) 562-5002

Feel free to call this troll. He's lives with his mom, and that's her voice in the answering machine message. Every time Mr. McDaniel decides to troll, another copy of his personal info will be posted immediately afterward.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486741)

Pity you've got the wrong guy, but an excellent way to prove yet again what an asshole you are, Poag.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486348)

Talk about stereotypes... why are you such a petty asshole, Poag?

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9487681)

You're an idiot. So is T. on that specific issue. A large proportion of japanese manga is never translated. So is a large proportion of french BD. And as far as japanese manga are concerned, there are a lot of intelligent, well-thought out stories, that rival the best that french BD can produce.

At least in France, there is a hope. A few of the more interesting manga have been translated in the recent past... probably after T. emigrated to england.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (1)

sparrow_hawk (552508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488070)

I found that line... amusing. Because we all know that American [] comics [] are [] "just [] for [] kids [] ," right [] ?

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (1, Flamebait)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486145)

What he meant is that his comic is too intelligent for Americans. There are no fart jokes, profane words, extremely violent fights, sexuals, or so-called "Sports Utility Vehicles."

Americans don't read comics so much as "ugly crapfests of visuals."

qui a dit que les americains sont des cons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486255)

pas lui, que je sache. alors faut arreter de generaliser, OK?
Stereotypes, there must be more to life... -Blur

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486452)

AFAIK ( and I did grow up in France, so I know what I'm talking about ), he's completely right.
Comics are very, very mainstream there, many times more then in anglo-saxon culture.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (2, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486837)

But not more than in Japanese culture, which neither you nor Mr. Tourrilhes seem to be particularly familiar with.

They are missing one comic type... (1)

Psymunn (778581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486565)

That's it. i'm naming my boxes at home Asterix, Tin-Tin, and Tenticale monster 3 (because french comics, while diverse, just don't capture every facet of human interest)

Re:They are missing one comic type... (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487679)

Hmm... Hergé is Belgian, not French!

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (2, Interesting)

SebNukem (188921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487820)

No, he is not. French "comics" are a significant part of french litterature and art. They are not limited stories about super heroes with super powers against super vilains. The fact that you have no idea about what Jean is talking about doesn't make him arrogant.

Re:Who says the French are arrogant? (2, Interesting)

Tonytheloony (462274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487893)

He also said french-speaking... not french. Many of those comics actually come from belgium.

On zealotry (4, Interesting)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486042)

Seems to me that the most fervent zealots of a particular OS are simply just narrow-minded or don't know much beyond their own little world. You see countless developers (y'know, people who do things) decrying zealots, while the zealots themselves just kinda sit there, making everyone else look bad with their banter, and don't really contribute anything other than fanboyism.

Kill em all I say.

Re:On zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486314)

Kill em all I say.

You're posting on Slashdot, so let's start with you.

Re:On zealotry (3, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486328)

OS zealotry is just (hopefully) a stage in the growth of a user. it's when they realize the OS is great for their use, they imagine how many other great uses it could have for them, and then think everyone must use this because it is so great for me. hopefully they realize eventually that other people use things that are great for themselves, and changing would be detrimental to what they want to accomplish. Eventually the zealot will come to terms with diversity and no longer be a zealot. the problem is there will always be zealots, but the people who are zealots may change.

there was once a long list comedically stepping through the progression of a linux user from newbie to guru. i tried finding it, but failed. i must be using the wrong keywords. google has failed me, and I have failed it.

Re:On zealotry (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486845)

Zealotry isn't confined to Linux users. Macintosh users can still hold their own and yes dear there is such a thing as a Windows zealot. The Windows zealots are pretty entertaining. They claim to be oppressed on Slashdot then look for pro-Linux comments to mod down. Pathetic really. The especially tasty ones think that use of Windows confirms all that is of capitalism, America, Mom, and Apple Pie....well maybe not the APPLE pie. Those same people will also speak vaguely of the "best tool for job" as though they were objective or something. I'm pretty sure some astroturfer started this whole thing of calling anybody who doesn't use Windows a zealot. Methinks, some of the hardcore MS users have something to feel defensive about.

I think I know where excessive zeal about a choice like this comes from. Everyone here wants to be thought of as intelligent and discerning. The choice of OS/editor/IDE/browser/whatever confirms and announces these qualities to others. When someone criticizes his choice or praises another, his intelligence is being insulted. Not only is the user of something else stupid, he is boorish and ignorant as well.

The Windows zealot has something else to offend him as well. The Windows market is saturated. Anything else that grows in mind or marketshare is an economic threat to him if his job or business relies on Windows' marketability. I think a lot of the commie trolls against FOSS come from this economic defensiveness.

Re:On zealotry (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9488246)

"OS zealotry" is a big hypocrisy by MS fanboys who think that running *anything else* than their OS is necessarly a zealotry, while having 90% of the population running _only_ Microsoft would not be one.

Don't talk about "OS zealotry" while what you exactly mean is "not wanting to run Microsoft Windows"

I have a question: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486071)

Why doesn't it work?

Re:I have a question: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486191)

Because he's French. You didn't expect a Frog to know anything about WiFi, did you?

Re:I have a question: (1)

steve_l (109732) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488186)

I actually got JJT to get RH9 working on my laptop; I was in HPLabs in Palo Alto, cornered him and refused to leave till it was going. It only took half an hour.

Not his fault though -RH9.0's defaults were towards PCMCIA cards, not mini-PCI, but it still shows the problems with mainstream linux.

Of course, that was last year. This weekend I stuck SuSE 9.1 on an old laptop, it found the netgear PC card, bonded to the (open) WLAN and was on the net, no network config dialog boxes at all.

Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486082)

Our company was considering going with Ti's TX100 802.11b chipset about a year ago, to build our product around. Then we did our homework.

Seems a bunch of people signed onto a petition to get Ti to release the specs for their TX100 chipset, so they could develop the drivers Ti was refusing to release. When Ti ignored it, they called the BBB on their ass, citing false advertisement (they claim the chipset is supported in Linux)...And they STILL ignored it.

With that being said, put your money where your mouth is. Buh-bye Ti, Helloooooo, Intersil. :)

Re:Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486200)

Pardon me, ACX100, not TX100.

Re:Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (4, Interesting)

bbowers (596225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486220)

Seems thats somewhat the case with Realtek. They had a huge showing with the RTL8139 series chip released to the Open Source Community, however their chip RTL8180L for wireless is falling through the floor. It's a part binary part source module, that wont run on a kernel greater than 2.4.21, and uses the private extentions(iwpriv) instear of the regular ones (iwconfig). Numerous e-mails have been sent from the community and no response at all. Theres a large thread about this, and when I say large, I mean large.... 816 replies, and 100947 views large... [] Seems as if Realtek doesn't want to release the source... if they did... they might make big bucks with it. Thats ok, not our loss.
I got my card working with slackware... though I think I am gonna ditch it, works like crap anyways..

Re:Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486844)

I got my RTL8180-based adaptor working with ndiswrapper and the WindowsXP driver. Of course, a native driver would be nice, but it does work..

Re:Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486272)

While your stand is admirable, you could have also put your money where THEIR mouth is, and said "we'll use your products if you open up the specs". In the end, you may have still gone with Intersil, but SHOWING them that they're stance is costing them money goes quite a ways....

Re:Better Business Bureau vs Texas Instruments (2, Interesting)

curator_thew (778098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487749)

The TI ACX100 802.11b+ chipset is my favourite example when non-technical people claim that reverse engineering is impossible, because the project has shown that it is indeed possible: -- for Linux -- for FreeBSD

But had I known before I made the purchase, I would have bought another manufacturers product - unfortunately I was stuck between a hard place: 802.11b itself (11mbps) too slow, 802.11b+ (22mbps & 44mbps under TI "x4" mode) just right, 802.11g (54mbps & 108mbps) perfect, but was too expensive, and it also has drive problems (ath binary driver).

If manufacturers are reading this: let me tell you that in the future, I now do my research properly, and I won't buy your product if you are not open source friendly.

Best wireless card for linux? (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486098)

What is the best, least expensive wireless USB NIC for linux?

Re:Best wireless card for linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486124)

Your mom

Re:Best wireless card for linux? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486138)

D-Link DWL-122 USB Fob. $22 at Best Buy.

Re:Best wireless card for linux? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486156)

Linksus WUSB11b

$9.00 most discount places. works best with kismet for sniffing and is gobs more sensitive than the SMC

Re:Best wireless card for linux? (5, Informative) (755784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486196)

Take a look at the LQ HCL:

Re:Best wireless card for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9487527)

WWIGTTFWP? Like acronymys huh? Why Would I Go To This Fine Web Page. Mr. 5 informtive.

Insightful questions (4, Insightful)

mratitude (782540) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486114)

LQ) what's the hostname of your most favored linux box and why is it named that?

Ok, mod this as troll bait if necessary and I know that email interviews can home in on minutae, but if this guy is a person of interest, aren't there better questions to ask? Was there no moderator screening the questions?

Re:Insightful questions (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486161)

LQ) what's the hostname of your most favored linux box and why is it named that?

Ok, mod this as troll bait if necessary and I know that email interviews can home in on minutae, but if this guy is a person of interest, aren't there better questions to ask? Was there no moderator screening the questions?

Plenty of people name them after favorite movies, food groups, songs, artists, etc. I think it's an insightful question. It could get a glimpse of what the person is interested in outside of the computer realm.

Re:Insightful questions (1)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486357)

Hmm.... favorite linux box.....
[root@linux root]# hostname -s
I guess I'm not very original.....

Re:Insightful questions (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486375)

Ok, mod this as troll bait if necessary and I know that email interviews can home in on minutae, but if this guy is a person of interest, aren't there better questions to ask? Was there no moderator screening the questions?

maybe you were just disappointed that he didn't respond with "portman" or "hot_grits"

Re:Insightful questions (1)

bbowers (596225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486492)

I sit on my butt on a computer all day long, when I get home I don't even want to look at one let alone be on it. Sometimes it's nice to hear questions and answers not pertaining to computers for a while... you know have a nice intelligent conversation, something few people do anymore :P

Get a wireless bridge and be [g,d]one! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486153)

Unless your time is not of the essence!

Now if only Linksys/Netgear/D-Link could (and I don't see why they can't) make an affordable wireless bridge+hub/gateway that costs in the same ballpark as a wireless router. (A Netgear bridge costs almost 2x as much a wireless router/gateway)

And while at it, they shoult also put out some clear specs so the CompUsa/BB salespeople know the difference between a bridge and an access point.

Expert wireless Recommendations please? (2, Interesting)

dbc001 (541033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486184)

I've been using Linux for a while now, and have been interested in moving to wireless for quite some time. I'm hesitant though because of all the problems that can come with cutting edge hardware in Linux. It would really help if a few Linux users who have tried a lot of wireless gear could make some hardware recommendations for the rest of us.

What are some no-headache brands of wireless gear for Linux? What brands should be avoided? Are some distros better for wireless than others?
(I realize that some of this may be in the linked article, but the article appears to contain a complete list that requires a lot of time and effort to sort through).

thanks in advance,

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (1) (755784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486327)

Take a look at the HCL []

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (2, Informative)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486395)

My base station is a Linksys WRT54G. It's cheap and damned good ... and it runs a Linux kernel so it's kinda hackable if that's your thing. My PCMCIA wlan card (I only do wireless from my laptop so I can't speak on PCI cards) is a Microsoft MN-520 (I think it's been discontinued). Regardless, it's a very solid card and it works well with the Linux wlan project driver. The negative experiences I've lived through/heard of are a) newer Linksys PCMCIA cards (they keep changing the chipsets) and b) Microsoft base stations, not the client cards, mainly connection stability problems.

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (4, Informative)

debian4life (701155) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486498)

I feel your pain. The problem you will run into is that even if you get a D-Link, Linksys, or Netgear, some of them may use the same chipset. I tried the D-Link first because it was cheap. It used the Prism2 chipset. But after reading every bit of documentation, and trying it as both a module and in the kernel under about 10 configuations I gave up. It seems like getting these cards to work is hit or miss for a lot of people based on all the posts I read. And believe me I read a bunch.

Then I tried a Linksys that I use on my work XP laptop. No dice there. I forget the chipset on that one, but I had the Linksys WPC11 v4 which apparently has little or no support on Linux.

So finally I decided to just bite the bullet and get a Cisco Aironet 350. If you buy these new, they are over $100. But if you go to Ebay, you can get one for around $50. All you do is compile the support in the kernel and it works like a champ. I have set it up successfully on both Debian and Gentoo.

So Cisco is the easy way to go if you can get a good deal. I would avoid the Linksys card I tried, but apparently versions prior to v4 work better. You can give the D-Link or Netgear a shot with the Prism2 chipset, but you may have to work at it a while to get it working.

Hope that helps.

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (2, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486655)

Mmm. I've got an Orinoco card in my Dell 640C Laptop and that works fine. Oddly enough, EVERYTHING on that laptop works fine. Too bad running Wine pushes the temperature up and up until the laptop performs an emergency temperature shutdown in a last desperate act of self preservation. But I digress...

The Netgear 104mbps card I have in my desktop uses the Atheros chipset, for which a free driver exists (I forget if I had to patch my kernel or not.) The 52mbps one used some other chipset which I believe is supported by a commercial driver. Cisco's got good gear and have been great about supporting open source OSes in the past, but their gear is kinda hard to find down at the local Best Buy.

Don't bother trying to use ad-hoc with any of this, by the way. Shell out the $50 for a wireless router and use it to link up your assorted wireless devices. I had had-hoc working for about 15 minutes before it crapped out, then it refused to ever work again. Since I got the router, everything works fine.

I don't trust WEP or whatever the hell the latest "security" standard is, so everything in my house does encrypted PPP tunneling over wireless, and my desktop handles routing out to the Internet.

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (2, Informative)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486769)

My DLink PrismII card works, but only after installing the WLAN-NG drivers/tools, which are NOT included in many linux distributions, even Fedora Core 2.

I now have a Cisco Aironet 350 from work, and it works with the driver built-in to the kernel.

If I had to buy another card, I'd still get a PrismII or Prism54 because of price.

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (1)

steve_l (109732) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488277)

I have a netgear PrismII based PC card: slow but
stable -worked out the box in SuSE 9.1

My work laptop has an ActionTec mini-PCI card and that was trouble indeed. It kept on locking on a session (RH.9), and now that I am running WinXP SP2 on the laptop, it wont hibernate while the card is in use.

So: open source -incomplete drivers you'd have to fix by hand. Closed source -shit drivers you cant fix. Either way -no out-the-box networking.

Re:Expert wireless Recommendations please? (4, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486534)

Well, the answer is don't get cutting-edge hardware. You can get excellent, servicable wireless 802.11b hardware from several years ago, and that is the golden era for open drivers. Something like a Cisco Aironet 352 is perfect, with excellent drivers and support from all layers of the operating system (linux, bsd, win32, macos, ...). Not surprisingly this is also the interviewee's recommended hardware.

As far as headaches, I think you'll find more headaches in the peripheral support infrastructure than in the wireless hardware and drivers. If you are going to use PCMCIA/PC Card wireless adapters I think you'll discover the Linux PCMCIA drivers have a habit of panicking. With any hardware you'll need to do a lot of manual configuration hacking before your computer will perform useful functions like automatically roaming to available SSIDs (something windows and mac os do automatically). You'll be installing packages and editing /etc files for the next month, but eventually you'll have something that works 62% of the time.

In General (3, Interesting)

SolidiusRock (729169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486259)

I find it interesting that Linux has "issues" with wireless technology (or any technology for that matter), but yet Linux has all the more interesting tools for wireless whereas other OSes seem to be lacking in them.

Re:In General (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9486352)

Part of the reason that some of the hardware specs for these cards can be hard to get is because they are too hacker prone. Some of them are simply radios with software controllers and as such you can reprogram them to broadcast on reserved police frequencies etc.

Re:In General (2, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486568)

Sorry, that's absolutely false. Even if you could reprogram the radio to use frequencies way out of the ISM band, your antenna would be massively detuned for such frequencies. People forget that these network cards still have transistors and filters at the end of the signal chain, and there's no register you can program that will change the center frequency of a bandpass filter. The meme of the evil hax0r interfering with cuddly bunny radio traffic was started by wireless hardware manufacturers groping for some excuse to not support Linux. It has no basis in physical reality.

Re:In General (0)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486649)

Links please.

Re:In General (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486770)

Even if you could reprogram the radio to use frequencies way out of the ISM band, your antenna would be massively detuned for such frequencies.

Fine. But I can still tell the card to broadcast at a much, much higher power level than is allowed by the FCC (or whatever regulatory body is appropriate). The FCC has, point blank, told the hardware manufacturers that they cannot release the specs in such a case.

And even a low power broadcast in some bands could be disruptive, even if the antenna isn't optimized for that band.

The hardware was designed to be cheap and flexible. That doesn't coincide well with allowing anyone to do anything they want with it, at least not in a structured society (and if you'd like anarchy, I refer you to Niven's Cloak of Anarchy short).

And yes, I say this having chafed under it... trying to find a well supported 802.11b pcmcia card for Linux is a major PITA. Yeah, I found one, but only after much searching and a good bit of luck -- I honestly didn't expect CompUSA to carry both v3 and v4 Linksys cards. Oh, sure, if I had time I could've had my pick off the net, but I needed a card that night.

Re:In General (4, Interesting)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487224)

Look, I know the manufacturers claim the FCC is lording over them, and I know Alan Cox has said the manufacturers have said this, and I fully believe that the manufacturers told Alan that story. But there's no getting around the physics of the situation. Every one of these 802.11b and 802.11a wireless networking cards that I've pried the case from includes a hardware bandpass filter. This is true even for the manufacturers who refused (at first) to repease drivers or specs.

I don't care if you can program the Frob Industries Mk. III wireless radio to broadcast on the KA satellite bands. It's going to be driving a 2.4GHz bandpass filter and a seriously detuned antenna, meaning its emissions will amount to jack shit.

Now, having said all that, there was a chipset, the Atheros "madwifi" chipset, which allowed its power level (in-band) to be increased in excess of the level allowed by any regulator agency on this planet, and also allowed its center frequence to be set out of the ISM band. Naughty. The combination of power level and frequence control allows you to radiate serious power near the ISM band. In my view this is a defective piece of hardware which the FCC should simply have banned. Radios without hardware filters and slew rate control should not be approved.

But, this situation does not apply to all the other manufacturers for which this FCC story is generally pitched (which is to say, any manufacturer who doesn't support Linux). Note this was initially an argument for why Intel couldn't support Linux with their Centrino radio, but lo and behold eventually they did support it. Did Congress pass a law? Was an official bribed? Did they rev the hardware? No, none of these things. The real answer is the story was fiction to begin with. Don't spread it and don't allow manufacturers to hide behind it.

Anyone Remember Diamond (2, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487846)

All this talk about closed hardware and non-vendor support reminds me of Diamond Video cards from 1997. Diamond was a video card company based on S3 chips and wouldn't give details on the hardware; therefore, to setup a Linux machine you had to guess at the settings or use someone else's trial and error data. Now does anyone today know whom Diamond manufacturing is? Very people know unless you happened to own one of those cards that were good on windows machine.

Thus to the point, I wonder if there is a Mathematical Function that can be plotted about a company's success, not quite directly related to Linux support but some hardware layer support, owing to its success?

Solution to zealotry (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486311)

Once everyone finally accepts that the only true operating system is AmigaOS we can all move on and forget our petty differences;-)

Now, where was I on this A1200...

Vendor Zealotry or Ignorance? (4, Funny)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486345)

About a year and a half ago, I bought me one of those linksys wireless cards for an older (400MHz PC) running RH7.3 or something like that. For the fun of it, I decided I'd ask the salesfolk at Best Buy whether it was compatible with Linux. The answer I got was that it would be difficult to find drivers for it, and that to save me the grief, he recommended I get a LAN-Bridge instead.

I ignored the advice and bought the card anyway. (Of course I had done some research beforehand...enough to know it possibly worked, anyway) I got it running with the wlan-ng drivers.

Later on when I had more money, I decided to get me a laptop. Again, did my homework to see what would and wouldn't work. Again, a trip to best buy encountered a tech/sales guy -- whom I asked the question "will it run Linux?" After spouting off a few acronyms of certifications he has, he proceeds to tell me that Bill Gates has bought Linux and that we won't even be talking about it a year from now (he's got about 2 months left of that year...better act fast!) Then if I wanted to run a linux server on a laptop (no I don't want to run a server...just a desktop -- 'um, same thing') -- that it would be really slow. The only hope I have of running it comfortably would be on an Alienware system.

"So why don't you want to run XP?" "It's got a large system requirement, it has serious security issues, and overall I can't say I like it." "Have you looked into using XP Pro?" "Um, I already don't want to pay for the OS, you're recommending I pay MORE instead?" "Well, XP Pro isn't going to cost you that much more..." "Thank you for your time. I think I'm going to go home and rethink my strategy."

Went home thinking "jackass" and proceeded to get a Dell...which I'm using to write this on a machine running Mandrake 10CE...with all the functionality I need.

Zealotry or ignorance? I'm not sure. To this day I smile whenever I go into a Best Buy -- thinking I should pick up a piece of hardware and ask whether it works with Linux just for the stories they may give me.

Re:Vendor Zealotry or Ignorance? (1)

steve_l (109732) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488316)

go in there. take your laptop and test it.

I did that not so long back with an AV-receiver; I wanted to make sure it would handle the outputs of the laptop right. They were bemused but happy to help -and didnt try and sell me winXP.

Wireless extensions are cool! (1)

freeduke (786783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486355)

Thanks to wireless extensions, you can play around with your wifi cards, getting stats from the proc filesystem, changing your WIFI card's mode (or even increase its power level) with common IOCTLs.

I think that this helped a lot in the development of 802.11 networks: it offered a good opporunity for researchers to work together with standards and common cards, and fastened applications that shoved some weaknesses of the 802.11 industry's first implementations: WIFI sniffing, WEP weaknesses... So that industry could improve its weaknesses.

What we all *really* want to know: (5, Interesting)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486366)

I read the article. I've browsed the FAQ and HOWTO and other assorted documentation many times in the past.

The one question most people want to know is what manufacturer/models are compatible, where to buy them, and what drivers to use. When you go to your retail store of choice they often will not list what chipsets they use in their wireless cards. Knowing which chipsets are compatible isn't that helpful if you can't match it definitively with a product.

I ended up going the safe route and ordering some aeronets because I didn't want to play roulette, and I couldn't find a new orinocco-based card for sale anywhere quickly.

Has someone out there discovered this business opportunity and created a web store specifically geared to linux-friendly hardware? Buy their card,download some linked drivers, and you're good to go. That would be easy. Last time I looked the regular linux suppliers let me down.

Re:What we all *really* want to know: (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488119)

The one question most people want to know is what manufacturer/models are compatible, where to buy them, and what drivers to use.

Tell me about it.

I just got a lightly used LinuxCertified 2210 laptop. Nice little laptop, no wifi card though (it's an option, but not one the original buyer purchased), so I needed to figure out what WiFi card to use. We had a WPC11 v4 card laying around, but on searching for info on it and Linux/Fedora the drivers are... poor (and probably wouldn't work w/ FC2 anyway) and require absurd things like hardcoding the SSID and WEP encryption key in the source.

So I decide to purchase a new one. Fine... which one, and what local store will happily overcharge me for it so that I can have it tonight?

The answer to that question is difficult. It seems that most newer cards (e.g. - the ones you can actually find in stores) do not have support because they use unsupported or semi-supported chipsets. I was fortunate enough to discover that CompUSA carries not only the WPC11 v4 (see above), but the WPC11 v3 (which is very nicely supported).

Of course, there are still problems. Fedora's Kudzu hardware analyzer keeps thinking that the wireless card no longer exists, wants to remove it, and then immediately realizes that it does exist and wants to add it back in. I've beaten it into submission, but not before it added the WiFi card in twice. But that's ok, because it helps fix the next problem -- that it appears to be difficult to setup multiple profiles for different SSIDs/WEP keys so you can roam between different networks. Because of the above screwup I've configured one network interface for my home network and another interface for my work network. Dunno what I'll do if I actually go roaming with the laptop, but hopefully I'll have it figured out by then. And, even so, I'm going to have to setup various scripts to enable one profile or the other. It'd be nice if the drivers would do this automagically -- detect what SSID they're talking to (already done) and lookup the appropriate key (if any) and network settings (dhcp or static, dns info, etc). I believe that most Windows drivers already do this. And maybe it's do-able in Linux too... but it's certainly inobvious if so. I'll admit that I have a lot more to learn and figure out, but it's stuff like this that keeps people sticking to other platforms.

Re:What we all *really* want to know: (1)

jweage (472545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488260)

The Seattle Wireless [] wiki lists lots of adapters and generally tells you what OS's they work with.

Search for adapter in the TitleIndex [] .

"Pascal strings"? (1)

nukeqler (790157) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486424)

Obviously, people are going to complain because the API doesn't match the internals of their module. [...] But that other driver use a "Domain", which is a Pascal string. So, designing an API is making all driver maintainers equally unhappy.
Kernighan wept.

IPSec (2, Interesting)

augustz (18082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486463)

He mentions (rightly I think) that it would be nice to have worked out ipsec better rather than drive it's basic functionality down to the link layer of all the different things that would need security.

Why hasn't IPSec taken off more (or some other similar setup)? I don't know enough to know what the tough bits might be.

WLAN limited? (3, Interesting)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486535)

With 802.11, you'd better check the map before traveling to see if it's worth bringing your laptop.
I wouldn't say that anymore, a couple weeks ago I went to South Dakota to see family and decided to scan for WLANs through town...In less then a mile on one residental street I found a dozen APs, 4 of which had WEP enabled.

If you don't have problems 'stealing' other peoples bandwidth, there is an open AP on almost every residental street corner.

I can get to 4 open networks from my house in Aurora!
People are buying WAP enabled routers for their DSL/Cable modems and I'd say about 70% (if not more) run with the defaults, maybe changing the admin password...maybe.

The problem is people are not educated on wireless security, and why bother? They refuse to believe that someone is going to hijack their network and release a virus, break into another network or some other criminal's like AIDS, it won't happen to ME.

Re:WLAN limited? (2, Interesting)

dozer (30790) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487219)

If you drive down my street, you'll find a number of open access points, including mine. Please come on by and use them. That's what they're there for.

You know, you can get your own cable modem for $25/mo and hack into all the systems you possibly can from the comfort of your own couch. Anonyminity is easy enough. If you really do want to hide behind a wireless AP, you're going to drive to the local universtiy and get many mbit/sec. I highly doubt you're going to park outside my house and use my tiny stream.

But if you do, I'll be watching you. I look forward to learning new tricks. Come on by!

compaq multiport w200 hell. (1)

skynare (777361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486564)

I still can't get it work on linux...

OS Zealotry (4, Insightful)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9486684)

OS zealotry is doing a disservice to our community, because if you force somebody into something against his will, you run the risk of creating negative experiences.

The problem is not so much that it *forces* anybody to use a system like Linux (because it's pretty much impossible for an opinion to be that powerful in the face of economic and political reality), but that it serves to blind people to the potential pitfalls that await, thus leading them to make a wrong decision for their situation. NO system is perfect (even Linux and *gasp*! Mac OS X). ALL have pitfalls depending on what you're using your computer for. In many cases, Windows *is* the best choice, although improvements in KDE and Gnome are making Windows a less obvious choice. And of course, arguing in favour of a system (or a methodology like open-source) is perfectly acceptable, as long as both sides are rational and can concede that the other side has positive attributes as well. Thus, both sides learn from the other and take what they've learned to improve themselves. Thus, honest evaluation leads to progress and growth, which is one of the fundamental tenets of capitalism, the free market, and all that... Of course, the ability to meet halfway is now called "appeasement" and is labeled as a "liberal" trait, which is apparently synonymous with "evil" or "corrupt". Zealotry exists in politics of all types, and is a great temptation, since it's so easy to believe that the world is black and white, good vs. evil, and that there is nothing to learn from the other side and that their arguments are all irrational and unfounded. Zealotry is a glass ceiling on self-improvement.

Zealotry in any form is inherently dishonest because zealots consciously or unconsciously hide the faults of their beloved systems while simultaneously proclaiming their greatness. This does lead to bad experiences (and I'm talking from experience!).

The UPSIDE of being a Linux zealot as opposed to a Windows or Mac zealot is that because the system is very open, any roadblocks you may encounter are likely soon to be fixed, or are fixable if you know a programmer who accepts payment in beer and pizza (which is all of them). I've hit roadblocks in Mac OS X that have no solution, and none seems to be coming... and [zealotry on] Windows itself *IS* a roadblock! [zeatotry off]

FAILZORS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9487159)

already aware, *BSD of progrees. people's faces at what they think is

Spo8g3 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9487736)

about 3ylaws

linux wifi (1)

simontek2 (523795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9487891)

Southern Linux, a company here in Savannah, GA supplied the Trade center for the G8 Summit with Linux wifi routers. pics available at

Ohh, the woes of wifi linux (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 10 years ago | (#9488031)

My complaints [] from the Intel driver PoV...

I also had some concernsregarding wifi [] really just the comment about the 4 wifi adapters I have trouble with... on every laptop I try them on...

1. MA401
2. MA111
3. IW2100
4. MA401(newer revision... don't remember ottomh)

Default kernel PCMCIA, Host-ap, wireless ng, pcmcia-cs... and now I'm just pissed... so I don't bother. Apple here I come.
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