try an ethernet to wireless bridge!!
Everyone who's struggling with wireless networking on linux ought to consider just getting a cheap ethernet-to-wireless bridge like the
www DOT dlink DOT com
D-Link DWL-810+. You connect your computer to it through good-ol' ethernet, use your web browser to tell it config. info like your WEP key, and it gives you an immediate 802.11b connection to your wireless access point. Costs about $60, took me 5 minutes from opening the box to get up and running. It's working great for me. Set it up and forget about it. To me this feels like the right solution: use a universal standard (ethernet) to make a vast array of complex technical issues (wireless card drivers, kernel modules etc.) vanish. These wireless bridges were originally conceived for things like playstations / Xbox, but are perfect for linux, evading the entire drivers quagmire.
This box is about 3" x 4" and 1" high. It has its own power supply to plug in, so probably not a good solution for laptops that are on the move. But for a desktop it's the easiest way imaginable to get instant wireless joy!
Hope this helps some people!