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Old 03-12-2016, 09:40 PM   #1
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Question Compiling a custom version of the hostap wireless driver? How??

I'm not a total Linux noob but I've not done much messing with compiling from source or customizing the Linux kernel, so please hold my hand a little here.

I have an IBM Thinkpad T30 with an Intersil Prism wireless PCI card. Online research shows that the firmware on the card can be flashed and updated to make the card WPA compliant. I have managed to successfully download the firmware files to be flashed to the wireless card.

This page offers a step by step walkthrough on how to do this under Linux. (I am working with Antix in this case.)

About half way down the page there's this procedure:

Download hostap package from CVS or a release that is dated after Aug 3, 2003. Release 0.1.0 or later have this feature as well.
Enable PRISM2_DOWNLOAD_SUPPORT and PRISM2_NON_VOLATILE_DOWNLOAD in driver/modules/hostap_config.h. You simply just uncomment those two define's.
Compile the driver and install them to the kernel using your favorite method.
cd utils and make prism2_srec program.
Download the firmware files that you want to upgrade to.
NOTE THAT YOU HAVE TO RUN prism2_srec AS ROOT. Do a test run with
prism2_srec -v wlan0 <primary firmware> <station firmware>
Note if you only need to flash station firmware, simply omit the "primary firmware" argument. However, NEVER NEVER flash primary firmware alone!!!
Check for any imcompatiable warnings in the previous test run. If things look OK, keep your finger crossed and run
prism2_srec -v -f wlan0 <primary firmware> <station firmware>
or simply if you only update station firmware
prism2_srec -v -f wlan0 <station firmware>
So, I have figured out that I cannot simply use hostap-utils from the Debian repositories via Synaptic, but in order to access and edit hostap_config.h, I need to download and extract the source files, edit that text file and then compile the driver. But I don't know how to do that and I don't know where to get the latest source for the hostap driver (i.e., a version compatible with my kernel).

I'd be very grateful to anybody who can walk me through this. Thank you!
Old 03-14-2016, 08:17 AM   #2
Registered: Jan 2012
Location: South Africa
Posts: 500

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Hi there,

Those instructions seem very old ;-)

First things first: Which Linux distro are you running - Debian? Which kernel version?

The file you're wanting to edit is in hostap-driver. According to, "Host AP driver was added into the main kernel tree in Linux v2.6.14. The version in the kernel tree should be used instead of this external hostap-driver package".

If you're using an older kernel, you can download the source from


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