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I have just installed Debian Etch from a DVD, but this problem was apparant with Ubuntu 7.04 also.
I have a Toshiba L30-10Y Laptop, not without its problems with Linux. However, when trying to connect to my network using a Senao NL-2511 PCMCIA card, the laptop seems to crash.
When the laptop is booted, Debian tries to connect. The network manager shows first one, then two green dots in the top right of the screen, before stopping and saying I am disconnected. My network is listed in the menu, along with signal strength. If I try to connect to the network again, it will start the animation and keep going forever. However, no new programs will start. I can't open any new programs through the GUI. I can't even ctrl+alt+F1 into a terminal. The touch pad keeps working, however.
I have tried to use the card in Kismet, but it seems to stop responding after about a minute of use.
The onboard atheros chipset works with Ubuntu (not with Debian, proprietary drivers), but I need to have an external antenna for this laptop.
The card being used is a Senao NL-2511 with a Prism 2.5 chipset, which works fine with a Windows XP install on the same laptop.