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30 July 2010 @ 04:21 pm
And you wonder why Linux on desktop has gone nowhere...  
Trying to get an old IBM T42 laptop I have setup, so that our exchange student can have her own computer in her room. I don't have an XP license, so I thought that Ubuntu's Netbook edition would work.

It mostly installs okay, despite an error in the middle that said "The installer has encountered an unrecoverable error." -- which it recovered from. However, nothing I can do seems to get the PCMCIA network adapter working. It simply refuses to turn on.

So now, of course, I'm stuck in the typical Linux hell of trying to make hardware work through the command line. It turns out it was complaining about not being able to find the firmware for it. Eventually, after much Googling, I found out the issue.

Apparently, at some point in the past, someone realized they couldn't find the license document for this driver. So, they simply moved it into a different package... one that isn't installed by default. And now, when you insert the card, it simply fails - it doesn't prompt you to install the "linux-firmware-nonfree" package. That would be too easy!

Now, let's say you were an upgraded Joe User, and thought to search in their package tool for this card? No luck. You want to know why? This is the description for the package:

This currently contains firmware for DVB cards.

Argh! Stabbity!
Tomax Blade aka The Bladetomaxblade on August 1st, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
that might explain my inability to grasp linux when I was in the "alternate OS queue"!

I did FINE with NetWare, VM Ware, etc ... only RedHat gave me issues, & I could never figure out exactly WHY. I am a keyboard person who is perfectly happen in a command line type environment! I just COULD. NOT. GET. REDHAT!


I feel your pain!!!
underwhelm: Geekspeakunderwhelm on August 4th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
The trick to Linux is realizing its key undisclosed dependency—a user that can use google to find where someone else has already run into whatever hangup it is this time.

Once someone finally writes a kernel module that googles webforums so it can troubleshoot itself, Linux will be ready for prime time.