Well, it seems I have been thouroughly defeated by both Ubuntu and openSUSE (64bit versions). I pretty much spent all day Friday trying to get an openSUSE install connected via a Belkin WiFi USB dongle – which, incidentally worked instantly with the 10.1 32 bit. This failed to the extent the XServer died and I had to do a complete re-install. It appears openSUSE is not as tolerant for “hot swapping” USB devices as you would hope 🙂
On Saturday I cracked and tried an Ubuntu 6.10 install. I dislike Ubuntu because I feel the hand holding is over the top and personally find it next to impossible to get anything done on it. In the past, however, Unbuntu has been better than SuSE at finding devices and getting them working.
Not this time.
Ubuntu, in the case, was even worse than SuSE because of how difficult it is to get administrative commands working. After four hours, although I hadn’t destroyed the install, I gave up and reinstalled openSUSE.
Today, I have spent another five hours trying to get the WiFi dongle working – all to no avail. SUSE claims it is trying to connect to the router, but there is no activity shown on the dongle (it has an LED which blinks when it is working), so I suspect SUSE is lying. I spent two hours trying various methods of building the drivers – namely:
as suggested at LinuxQuestions.org. I tried the versions that come with the RT73 file. I tried the method shown by GIDForums and even followed the steps at http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/RT73_Wireless. All were good and seemed to make sense…. but none worked. At all. Each time I ran “make” it failed with millions and millions of errors.
In the past, when I have tried to configure WiFi cards in SUSE I have been presented with a screen like this one (on the left – hopefully), but for some reason this is all changed in the 10.2 (at least the 64 bit version). This change is not helping matters. The old layout, while it could be confusing, at least allowed you edit the bits which needed editing. The new version is some what different.
Now, the screens I get look like this:
Now they appear “better” but they are pretty much useless when it comes to trying to “problem solve” the WiFi issues.
So far, nothing I have tried in three days has worked. When I look at the modules loaded, I have rt2500usb and rt73usb running in openSUSE. I tried to kill either of them with
modprobe -r name
But this did nothing either – openSUSE claimed modprobe didn’t exist (although it would show me the man page for it).
Eventually (i.e. now), I have given up for a while. Most of the solutions I can find require me to be connected to the internet to enable a fix – seems to defeat the purpose but…. Next weekend I plan to go to PCWorld and buy a Cat5 cable long enough to reach from the router to the linux box, hopefully this will allow an internet connection and enable the fixes. Until then, I am staying Windozed. Sadly.
Now, I love linux. I really do. However, until it is possible for people to use it out of the box with common store bought components it really is going to remain a niche product. This is a shame because for basically free you can get a fully functioned PC which runs a powerfull, easy to use and capable office package, web servers, graphics manipulators and much more. To run a similar system using the MS products everyone is so used to would cost thousands. With the advent of crap vista, and the change to “look and feel” you would think this is an excellent time for people to migrate to Linux. Sadly, at least in the case of SuSE and Ubuntu, Linux is not ready for this task. Can you imagine going to a shop and buying a television which required three days of recompiling before it would show a picture?
[tags]Linux, SUSE, Ubuntu, Wifi, Wireless, LAN, Networking, Technology, Computers, Society, Rants, YAST, openSUSE, Belkin[/tags]