I spend at least 30 minutes checking various options with Google and the Linux forums, etc. before posting a question.
It occured to me after a few days of bumping into brick walls everywhere I turned that perhaps there is a 'list' of 'accepted' opensource 'wireless nics'.
Yes, there is. Unfortunately it has not been updated in over three years.
This is the site: http://www.linux-wlan.org/
This is the Linux wlan project...
Hardware Compatibility - UPDATED February 1, 2004
This is why I have posted.
Maybe, everything unfolds on the 'path' as it is supposed to.
This wireless thing with the opensource community is the way life is in general.
"Nothing that is worthwhile in this life comes easy."