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Well, If you've got a compiler, then you can try and get these working. I have, a number of times, but have never had a 2.5 or 3.0 card to verify whether it will work with those newer models. Also, when I have gotten these to work, I've noticed that the broadcast range is considerably smaller than the same card running on different drivers.
Nothing big, but it couldn't make it through 2 interior walls and accross a floor.
The last I check the linux-wlan drivers were still built to work only with pcmcia-cs and not in-kernel pcmcia, which is what Mandrake 8.2 uses. If I've got all of that right, then in order to compile the lnux-wlan drivers you will have to re-compile the stock mandrake kernel with NO pcmcia support, and then compile pcmcia-cs against that kernel, and then compile the linux-wlan modules. I've done this once before. There is an incredible amount of room for error.
There is a third project, that I know works with in-kernel pcmcia, that I don't know whether will work with prism2.5. I have gotten these drivers to work once, on a RedHat 7.2 laptop (much like mandrake), but oddly enough only in HostAP mode, which made the laptop perform the job of the router! I didn't bother to try ibss (infrastructure) mode as my LAN was running on ad-hoc (which I didn't get to work anyway). It will apparently do ibss. You can find those drivers here..
Honestly, if you want to go one step further back and grab the Lucent/Orinoco series card, they're the best I've played with (Redhat 7.2 on a Thinkpad with an Orinoco Silver is how I'm typing this now). With all of the chipsets Intersil is pumping out, their firmware is still goop and there's no such thing as an "upgrade" until they move off of 802.11b and get going with a or g, which both have better transfer rates: 24Mb, and 54Mb, although I can't remember which is which. Anything until then is more of a marketecture plea for cash than anything like an upgrade.
I took a lot more interest in this thread becuase I've helped people with basically every time of wireless card out there: prism2, xircom, cabletrons, lucent/orinocos, and a couple of the USB flavors of each, so I did all the research you have and I'm pretty certain that it of course can be made to work, but its going to a take a lot of time to do so... way more than its worth. I know this is going to suck for a lot of people as the three driver series that cover prism2x gear out there are either a) really built for orinoco, plus the driver maintainer in Australia just lost his job, b) linux-wlan, a bunch of jerks that can't keep their documentation up to date, although I have to give them a lot of credit for the USB version, or c) the prism driver hobbiest girl in France that isn't hacking on it as much as the others. It looks as if there might be quite a lag before there is a whole lot of Linux support for these new cards.
Ok i came across this thred http://groups.yahoo.com/group/linux-.../message/11812
and edited the hermes.conf as stated. Now the card is seen and i have 'module orinico' loaded followed by another
beep and 'starting eth1' during boot !
the orinoco stuff is seen with lsmod
and dmesg now shows all kinds of eth1 stuff
it looks like it should be working but the link light is now just blinking and no connection.
Not trusting Yahoo groups too much I went and pasted that info into an extra file. I wouldn't have thought that a cheat like that would have worked, but evidently the difference between the card versions was even more marketecture than engineering than I had originally thought. Rockin' no grey spots in wireless gear now.
You can edit /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts and change the default settings (the big one at the end). Or, the way I always do it and cheat; there is a file called /etc/rc.d/rc.local, that is the last file that gets run by init on startup. You can put in all of the iwconfig lines there if you want, including the call to dhcpcd. If the card isn't in the laptop however, it'll make a few meaningless errors spit out on startup... or if the card is in and for some reason it is to far from the bay station, or the bay station is confused... its going to sit like a dead duck for a full minute until dhcpcd times out.