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rjray (1649)

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Journal of rjray (1649)

Wednesday May 22, 2002
05:51 AM

But at least I'm not joining the peace corps...

[ #5145 ]

There was a time when I could configure and roll my own kernel in my sleep. My first laptop always needed a custom kernel in order to properly use APM. In those 2.0.X days, the PCMCIA system was separate from the kernel, and could be built/upgraded completely independantly.

Alas, no more. I have been trying and trying to get a wireless set-up working here in my apartment so that I could get away from the at-hand distractions (TV, books, cats) while still being able to access my home network (I keep a lot of docs archived on my desktop, served via Apache). After two wireless cards and countless failures at editing /etc/pcmcia/options, I gave up trying to get this to work with the stock kernel from Red Hat Linux 7.3 (hell, when I started this mess, I hadn't upgraded yet-- the upgrade was one of the attempts to get the laptop to recognize a wireless card). I've tried building a custom kernel more so that I could also build the latest pcmcia-cs release (3.1.33, as opposed to the 3.1.27 that ships). I figured with kernel and pcmcia-cs source trees that exactly matched my running kernel, I could either get the card to work outright, or I could at least reliably build the linux-wlan package. In the end, I wound up with a kernel that was emitting warnings during boot, didn't load sound support, and I won't even own up to how many tries it took me to get all the filesys stuff right.

Problem is, PCMCIA is now more-or-less integrated into the 2.4.X kernel line. Only not quite completely, it seems. As such, pcmcia-cs gets ooky when you try to build it. Other problems arise. And in the end, I still don't have a working wireless set-up. It finally occurred to me to boot the laptop to Windows and at least verify that the card and the WAP were working. The WAP shows up on my network, but even when the status monitor under Windows shows that the card is getting a signal from the WAP, there was no DHCP traffic across the router. Efforts to get the WAP to use DHCP to get it's network info don't work, so I set it to static network info. But the card never seems to get DHCP packets to the router to get an ACK back.

So for now, I give up. It's taken several days to accomplish this much because I am still putting priority on the book. But I've done all I can without totally immersing myself in Google searches and endless config-build-reboot cycles. No more.

(For those who might be wondering, my WAP is a D-Link DWL-900AP. The first card, which I exchanged, was a D-Link DWL-650. The current card is a SMC 2632W V.2, which apparently has the latest firmware as I tried to update the firmware using their Windows-based updater and it declined to update the card. Both cards consistently come up in /var/log/messages as "unrecognized" when inserted into a PCMCIA slot. All pages I've looked up on either card imply that they work just fine for the people involved, without editing any system files. But not for me, it would seem.)


[The English language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. -- George Orwell

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