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Hello, I have been introduced to unix through training on military systems. The guru's at work suggested that I install Linux on my sons laptop to end the cycle of downloading virus's and having to rebuild the system every few weeks.
We are working with an IBM thinkpad 600x 192MB & 12GB. We started out with suse, but the usb, sound, and wireless wouldn't work. We switched to fedora and got he usb and sound functions, but still no wireless. After some research I discovered that the wlan cards we had were not compatible, and found that the wpc11 ver 3 from linksys supposedly had good support.
I have read conflicting information about the chipset, prism or orinco. I took it to the guru who was helping me and he said I needed to find a version that would support the prism chipset, or install the support and recompile the kernal.
I come from a windows world and found much of what he was saying to be in a foreign language.
Most(but possibly not all) of the problems you are facing will be cured by switching to a current version. Support for FC3 was dropped several years ago. The current version of Fedora is F10. Fedora is also a development distro (bleeding edge) which is fine, but Fedora only supports any one release for only about 13 months. After that there will be no updates of any kind. For longer term support you might want to look at Centos5.2, it has a five year life cycle. Centos is RHEL(Red Hat Enterprise Linux) without the logos. Unlike RHEL it is free to download/update.
For most of the top tier distros you are at the very bottom for the ram requirement. IF the computer can handle more ram your choices will increase dramatically(ram is very cheap right now). If 192MB is the limit of the machine you will probably have an easier time with one of the minimalist distros(dsl, etc). I am not saying that you cannot run the more common distros with that little ram, only that it would be easier/better with more ram. If you can get up to at least 512mb you will be much happier.
I have finished with configuring my wireless connection in Fedora 10 just a few minutes ago and I got to say that it wasn't easy,but now it works,after two long hours of a hard work.I can say that in 99% it's a driver issue what is causing the problem,but even if you find a driver for your hardware you could spend hours,days or weeks trying to install it.Anyway,maybe on http://rpmfusion.org you could find something useful to you but that would be only if you upgrade to a newer version of Fedora.
Chipset and card or adapter are different things and your friend made a good point about that,because it's the chipset that you must know what is it,so that you can find appropriate driver.
Also there are some packages that need to be installed before you try to install the driver,like kernel-devel(kernel-headers-in some distros) etc.
And it's a good idea to reboot after you're done.
How old is your hardware? Usually after hardware has been out for a couple of years it is included in the current kernel. I would think that virtually anything on a Thinkpad 600x (PIII class?) would be supported in a recent kernel. Of course as soon as I say that, some piece of obscure hardware is bound to pop up in my life.
which is one of the well known and maybe most used adapters,but Fedora 10 doesn't come with madwifi driver preinstalled,so my connection didn't work and I was surprised how many people had and still have all kind of problems to make their wireless connection work in Linux in general while I was searching the net.Your point is good,if hardware is older it's better supported,but what I've find out is that installing the driver and configuring some wireless parameters can be a real problem and it's because every Linux distro is different,the drivers are in beta stages or they have many bugs,so the configuration can be really complex and requiers a lot of knowlege.
That does not surprise me one bit, it is actually about what I expected. I would bet that support for that adapter will be in the F12 kernel(out in a little under a year) if not in the F11(out in under 6 months). Part of the reason that your points are (mostly) correct is that chipset manufactures still will not provide the information (to the devs) needed to write a driver. So basically the devs are writing drivers for equipment that they have virtually no information on. In that light it is actually pretty amazing that we generally see drivers within about two years of a chipset becoming mainstream. As far as every Linux distro being different that is both Linux's great weakness and greatest strength. This is basically how things get developed in Linux. Lots of people come up with lots of different solutions to the same problem. Then all those solutions that do not work the greatest or easiest (for whatever reason) get weeded out. Basically the strong survive. This winds up being a VERY good thing for the users (in the end, not while it is happening) in that we wind up (usually) with the best solutions.