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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 07-02-2013, 09:03 AM   #1
the86d
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Best wireless chipset for almost every distro? Slax OOTB?


I would like to buy a few mPCI nics for some older notebooks so I can run about any distro with blanket support for a wireless card/chipset. My lady's mom is getting one of these, so I thought I'd drop in something I might have a backup for so I want to buy a few in case of a nic failure, and future use too.

Is there a card/chipset that is supported OOTB (drivers built in to the kernel?) across the board, as I mainly wish to run lean distros like Slax 6.*, and 7.* for one-trick-ponies and these will most likely be donated to family members as such.

I do not want her to have to screw with ndiswrapper if there is ever an issue, and I didn't like it either.

Please advise.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 09:09 AM   #2
Timothy Miller
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Anything Intel based is going to work with the vast majority, and the drivers have been in the kernel forever, they just require firmware.

That said, you WILL find some laptops that have certain Intel chipsets blacklisted, and I know HP & Lenovo especially reads the microcode on the chip and if it detects microcode for a model other than it's own (HP for HP, Lenovo for Lenovo) it'll not always allow it to work even though that model actually is supported. MOST of the time I haven't had issues with Linux still working, only windows, but I've only owned a very few of these type of models.

You may also run into the problem of slot size, since many laptops have only a half-height card, but if you get a half-height card you'll need adapters also in case you run into a laptop that has a full height mpci slot so it doesn't fall out of the connectors.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 07-02-2013 at 09:11 AM.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
the86d
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I was kind of thinking of a blanket chipset that needs not firmware pulls, just PnP OOTB, with ZERO extra steps...

Anything else come to mind? RTL, ATH, etc?

I am coming from moderate Slackware server use at home to the Desktop *buntu world, and would like to keep a K.I.S.S. principal from this day forth.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 09:32 PM   #4
Timothy Miller
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Atheros has SOME models that are fully open source, some that aren't, and some that aren't even supported by the mainline kernel without installing additional (open source) modules. My main knock against them is that I've found their drivers aren't of very high quality in the linux world. Drastic improvements in the last 4+ years, but still unimpressed overall.

If you make sure to get the CORRECT Realtek chipset, it's 100% open source. But not all their chipsets are supported, and I'm not sure which ones aren't. I've never used Realtek chips to have any opinion on the quality of their drivers.

Off topic, why in the **** would you want to go from Slackware to *buntu? That's like trading in your Lamborghini for a Pinto...
 
Old 07-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #5
the86d
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
Atheros has SOME models that are fully open source, some that aren't, and some that aren't even supported by the mainline kernel without installing additional (open source) modules. My main knock against them is that I've found their drivers aren't of very high quality in the linux world. Drastic improvements in the last 4+ years, but still unimpressed overall.

If you make sure to get the CORRECT Realtek chipset, it's 100% open source. But not all their chipsets are supported, and I'm not sure which ones aren't. I've never used Realtek chips to have any opinion on the quality of their drivers.

Off topic, why in the **** would you want to go from Slackware to *buntu? That's like trading in your Lamborghini for a Pinto...
I never really used Slack for anything but server-type one-trick ponies sftp, SaMBa, etc, (except when my desktop was down 2 times) and only minimally. I just want something with a quick-install-dekstop. I'll probably still use Slackware for a server at home. I really just don't know how to setup the whole zoneminder deal for network security cameras I just purchased, it looks pretty complicated, and never had a need for a sql database or most LAMP(?) stuff until recently. Newer Windows on the Desktop is really just pissing me off.

Last edited by the86d; 07-03-2013 at 12:22 PM.
 
Old 07-13-2013, 03:19 AM   #6
kingbeowulf
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When I have a choice: Atheros. Drivers are in the kernel: http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/Atheros

For me, every other wifi chipset can go pound sand!
 
  


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