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this is driving me crazy. I can't settle down and actually start using linux until I can get a few important things to work, and after a few weeks of fighting with it, I've made no progress.
my goal is to separate my computer use. I have to use this desktop for school and work, so I want to use Linux on the laptop for all my personal stuff. just the basics, you know, but some of the hardware doesn't want to make the switch.
the machine is an Averatec 3280, AMD sempron, internal wireless which I believe is rt2500, based on everything I've read on here and around the net.
the big problems that I have yet to fix are the wireless and the sound. I have Mandrake 10.1 installed on the harddrive, and I can't get the audio or wireless to work. I've spent hour after hour reading about the wireless, downloading various drivers and attempting to install them. I've read a few tutorials, even bought another book to see if it would help me understand the instructions better, but no luck.
I've tried live cds for Ubuntu, Suse, Knoppix, and PCLinuxOS. Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS are the only ones that recognize the wireless card, but neither one goes beyond that. Even when the wireless card is recognized and supposedly working, I cannot connect. Ubuntu seemed to be the only one that gave me working sound.
I've only been trying to get into the Linux world for the past month, so I don't mind reformatting the machine and installing another distro. I just want to find one that works, because I cannot afford to waste any more time on this. I've even considered buying an ibook, as I've read good things about running Debian on an ibook with an airport card installed. I'd rather not buy a new machine, but I'm tempted because I know the airport card is much stronger than the one in this Averatec. but I'm still afraid I'll go down that road and run into the same issues I'm dealing with now.
so... I'm open to any suggestions. I've done so much reading and searching about this, and I'm about to give up. maybe I'm just not ready to make the switch, no matter how much I want to.
It sounds like you've done your homework on this. Did you use linux google when you searched for a driver - I've had the best luck with L/G.
Also have you checked the h/w compatibility list to see if you wireless unit is even listed. Perhaps no one has written a driver yet[?].
Have you tried the latest Fedora release, it may have more wireless capability?
I haven't had any luck finding the 3280 listed specifically anywhere, but it looks like the hardware is similar, if not identical, to others in the 3200 series. ralink does offer a driver, but I can't get it to install following the instructions in their readme file.
it seems like it expects me to have the source for my version of the kernel, but I cannot find it on the machine. one tutorial said that there was a package I could download with mandrake which would install the necessary source files, but I found no such package listed in my version.
I have not tried Fedora yet, so I'll give it a shot and see if it works better.
I wasn't aware of linux google before, so I'll try using that as well. thanks for the tips.
If there isn't a native driver for your wireless card then you could try using ndiswrapper which allows you to use the windows driver files. From my experience it can a bit of a pain to setup but usually works.
I would agree with niztec: if you have the windows drivers for your wireless card, then ndiswrapper may help.
At the end different Linuxes are supposed to support the same hardware, but as I write, this is "at the end" (of possible a lot of tweaking). If you are willing to try different distros, there is another with very good hardward support that is missing in your list: SuSE.
I've tried Suse with no luck. I downloaded the FC 4 live cd to test it and it freezes during the boot process. I searched for other distros that supposedly included support for this wireless card and came up with SimplyMEPIS, but it only booted to a terminal. I didn't try Slackware, having read that it is not good for beginners.
now I'm back trying to get the driver to compile. I searched for the source for my version of the kernel and found it. I extracted it to /usr/src and then went back to the RT2500 driver instructions. here are the instructions for the 2.6.x kernel:
a. run 'cd STA/Module'
'cp ./2.6.x/Makefile .'
'cp ./2.6.x/load .'
b. $make -C /path/to/source SUBDIRS=$PWD modules
Where /path/to/source is the path to the source directory for the (configured and built) target kernel.
c. run '/sbin/insmod rt2500.ko' (as root)
'/sbin/ifconfig ra0 inet YOUR_IP up'
I get down to part b and still can't get past that. since I had installed the kernel source this time and knew where it was located, I hoped to have some luck. instead, when I enter the command I get:
bash: -C: command not found
I tried the command without the $ in front of make and it at least did something, but then I got:
make: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-18.104.22.168'
Makefile:415: .config: No such file or directory
/usr/src/linux-22.214.171.124/scripts/gcc-version.sh: line 1: gcc: command not found
/usr/src/linux-126.96.36.199/scripts/gcc-version.sh: line 1: gcc: command not found
CC [M] /usr/src/RT2500-Linux-STA-188.8.131.52/Module/rtmp_main.o
/bin/sh: line 1: gcc: command not found
make: *** [/usr/src/RT2500-Linux-STA-184.108.40.206/Module/rtmp_main.o] Error 127
make: *** [_module_/usr/src/RT2500-Linux-STA-220.127.116.11/Module] Error 2
make: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-18.104.22.168'
it seems to have some problems, but I can't understand those errors, so I don't know what to do. I looked at using ndiswrapper instead, but I couldn't understand it any better. (also, I read that ndiswrapper will not work if the wireless card is turned off when the machine boots up, which is a pain because it is always turned off be default.)
It looks as if you didn't do a full install of whatever distro you finally settled on. These error are telling you the c compiler (gcc) isn't installed on your system. You need to go back and install all of the development packages to get this going.
I read that ndiswrapper will not work if the wireless card is turned off when the machine boots up
Don't worry about this just yet largely because I don't think it is correct. No, ndiswrapper won't work if the card is off, but that is because the card is off, not because of anything in ndiswrapper. If you turn the card on after boot, ndiswrapper will probably pick it up.
I tried the command without the $ in front
If you look at your console prompt, you'll see that the $ is the last character of the prompt (it is # if you are root). When you see that in instructions, you don't actually type the $ or #, just everything afterwards.
ok, that makes sense. thanks! I'll try reinstalling the distro from scratch and pay more attention this time around. I really do have to say thanks to everyone again. I'd probably have given up by now if it weren't for the people on this forum.
seems like ubuntu found your sound and wireless, what happened that you scrapped them? when you say they 'didnt go beyond that', what did you mean?
you might have given up too soon on ubuntu
heh, I was just thinking the same thing. I wondered if perhaps ubuntu just couldn't finish the job because I was only running of the live cd. I'm trying the full install of ubuntu now, so we'll see if that works.
update: finished installing ubuntu, but the result with the wireless is the same as the live cd. I input all the info for my network and it claims that ra0 is active, but I can't connect to the internet.
then I figured I'd at least work on getting KDE running since ubuntu defaults with gnome. I followed the instructions on their site and selected the appropriate packages, but it won't actually install any of them. looking at gnome makes me feel like I'm at school stuck on a mac, so that's gotta go asap.