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Old 01-31-2008, 02:21 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Christopher Copeland wrote:

>> That said, for $449, buy yourself a USB or PCMCIA card that _will_
>> work with Ubuntu. I paid $18 for the one I put on my wife's laptop
>> after the
>> Intel wireless died (and Dell refused to honour my warranty!)
>
> I don't think being forced to have a dongle or pcmcia card hanging off
> a laptop is desirable (especially on a new purchase) in terms of both
> wireless performance and convenience.

Who's being forced? The OP suggested that he could only get laptops with
known working wireless for considerably more money. To my mind, it's well
worth it to pay less for the hardware and use a dongle, but it's his
choice.

> Hopefully one of the other laptops posted on this list will solve the
> problem. The only laptops I've bought under $500 are a couple of Asus
> Eee's.

I spent just over $500 for the HP I'm using - working wireless (Broadcom
with ndiswrapper) included. I _want_ an eee. :-)
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:27 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Christopher Copeland wrote:

>
> On 30 Jan 2008, at 09:02, Derek Broughton wrote:
>
>> I see no reason at all that any manufacturer should be forced to
>> invest in
>> creating two drivers when ndiswrapper is a good working solution.
>> If using
>> ndiswrapper crippled the hardware it would be a different matter.
>
> Then I think you need to look harder. While ndiswrapper is a
> commendable effort, I will always prefer a native driver.

Why? It's a knee-jerk reaction of people who believe everything should be
open source. Nobody _must_ open-source anything, and ndiswrapper is a
perfectly reasonable option. It's revealing that you say _I_ need to "look
harder", but you have no argument other than "you don't like it".

> Often it is
> not a question of asking (forcing?) a manufacturer to develop two
> drivers at their expense but rather to release enough information so
> the community can write the linux driver.

Then it takes time for the linux community to develop the drivers _IF_
anybody even sees the need. That's no way for a manufacturer to develop
sales: "Here's some hardware, and in six months you might actually be able
to use it..."

> I would say ndiswrapper is
> great for those situations where you have no control over hardware
> choice.. but if possible it is best to support companies that play
> well with the linux community when spending your hard earned [insert
> local currency].

And, in what way, is selling hardware that works well in Linux with
ndiswrapper _not_ playing well with the community?
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:13 PM
Default User
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

On Tue, 2008-01-29 at 20:03 -0600, Default User wrote:
> Hello!
>
> I really need a laptop that will run ubuntu, with wireless connectivity
> that works "right out of the box", with no tinkering or setup needed (no
> ndiswrapper, etc). But I cannot justify spending $729+ for a Dell
> Inspiron with Ubuntu, or even $699+ for a System76 unit. I can install
> ubuntu myself, with no problem. But I just can't fight anymore with
> ubuntu laptop wireless problems. Been there, done that (too much agony,
> I quit).
>
> So, does anyone know of a laptop that will run ubuntu, with wireless
> connectivity that works "right out of the box", for $500 USD or less?
>
> Thanks.
>
>
>
>

Since I just can't "let things go", just a few more points on this
topic.

1) It was suggested to use a pcmcia or usb wireless adapter. I have
used quite a few, with several different FOSS distros. The only things
that ever worked (ndiswrapper has never worked for me) was (for Ubuntu)
a Netgear WG511T pcmcia card, with a Toshiba M35X-S109 laptop from 2004
(now deceased); and (for OpenBSD) a Netgear MA111 usb adapter with the
same laptop. I apolgize for the run-on sentence.

So please understand my reluctance to experiment further in this regard.
"Burned once, twice shy". Burned many times . . .

2) Chris Mohler said:
"This one works - *BUT* I had to use ndiswrapper. Fortunately, that's
pretty darn easy in Gutsy - pop in the driver CD and viola!
http://www.cheapstingybargains.com/35284/dell-vostro-1000-notebook-with-154-wide-screen-xga-lcd-display-499-w-free-shipping/ "

I just wonder if we could get a few more details on exactly how that was
done. That would really be appreciated.

3) The politics of peripheral device drivers for FOSS has be discussed
exhaustively here and elsewhere in the community for some time. I did
not intend to start a "food fight" by by original post. I'm sorry, and
"Can't we all just get along?"




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Old 01-31-2008, 04:30 PM
"Chris Mohler"
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

On Jan 31, 2008 11:13 AM, Default User <xyzzyx@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>
> On Tue, 2008-01-29 at 20:03 -0600, Default User wrote:
> > Hello!
> >
> > I really need a laptop that will run ubuntu, with wireless connectivity
> > that works "right out of the box", with no tinkering or setup needed (no
> > ndiswrapper, etc). But I cannot justify spending $729+ for a Dell
> > Inspiron with Ubuntu, or even $699+ for a System76 unit. I can install
> > ubuntu myself, with no problem. But I just can't fight anymore with
> > ubuntu laptop wireless problems. Been there, done that (too much agony,
> > I quit).
> >
> > So, does anyone know of a laptop that will run ubuntu, with wireless
> > connectivity that works "right out of the box", for $500 USD or less?
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> Since I just can't "let things go", just a few more points on this
> topic.
>
> 1) It was suggested to use a pcmcia or usb wireless adapter. I have
> used quite a few, with several different FOSS distros. The only things
> that ever worked (ndiswrapper has never worked for me) was (for Ubuntu)
> a Netgear WG511T pcmcia card, with a Toshiba M35X-S109 laptop from 2004
> (now deceased); and (for OpenBSD) a Netgear MA111 usb adapter with the
> same laptop. I apolgize for the run-on sentence.
>
> So please understand my reluctance to experiment further in this regard.
> "Burned once, twice shy". Burned many times . . .
>
> 2) Chris Mohler said:
> "This one works - *BUT* I had to use ndiswrapper. Fortunately, that's
> pretty darn easy in Gutsy - pop in the driver CD and viola!
> http://www.cheapstingybargains.com/35284/dell-vostro-1000-notebook-with-154-wide-screen-xga-lcd-display-499-w-free-shipping/ "
>
> I just wonder if we could get a few more details on exactly how that was
> done. That would really be appreciated.

I'll double-check when I get home (the wife's laptop), but IIRC I
installed the ndiswrapper GUI in synaptic, opened the dialog, selected
the driver from the Dell install disc, and I was off to the races. It
was painless...

Alternatively:
Buy yourself one of these: (~$40)
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=179211

Plug it in.

Done. I keep one of these with my laptop anyway - the signal is
stronger than the built-in wireless.

Chris

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Old 01-31-2008, 04:35 PM
Christopher Copeland
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Derek Broughton wrote:
> Christopher Copeland wrote:
>
>
>> Then I think you need to look harder. While ndiswrapper is a
>> commendable effort, I will always prefer a native driver.
>>
>
> Why? It's a knee-jerk reaction of people who believe everything should be
> open source. Nobody _must_ open-source anything, and ndiswrapper is a
> perfectly reasonable option. It's revealing that you say _I_ need to "look
> harder", but you have no argument other than "you don't like it".
>
>
No knees are being jerked here.. firstly I thought that "you need to
look harder" would come across more tongue in cheek. Maybe I should have
decorated it with a smiley..

I never said everything needs to be open-source, but given the choice
I'll prefer a driver that is. Same when it comes to choice of OS. Watch
out now because here comes my argument.. I've used ndiswrapper and
native drivers on a dozen or more wireless chipsets (always testing both
on supported cards) and in my experience have found the native drivers
more stable and offer better performance. This includes long distance
point to point connections, running high throughput always on
connections etc. Then consider the chipset features unavailable to
ndiswrapper users.. try putting a card into master or monitor mode. What
about link quality? Admittedly that is a result of the NDIS5 drivers and
not of the ndiswrapper project but I'd rather have hardware fully
supported than work "just enough" or not at all. So for my money: native
> ndiswrapper > nothing.
>> Often it is
>> not a question of asking (forcing?) a manufacturer to develop two
>> drivers at their expense but rather to release enough information so
>> the community can write the linux driver.
>>
>
> Then it takes time for the linux community to develop the drivers _IF_
> anybody even sees the need. That's no way for a manufacturer to develop
> sales: "Here's some hardware, and in six months you might actually be able
> to use it..."
>
>
I'm patient. I'm happy to use ndiswrapper while I wait and help test the
native driver. I think most manufacturers plan to develop sales by
selling to the windows crowd, no? This thread was about choice, choosing
a laptop that works with wireless.. *my* choice would be to use hardware
from manufacturers that release code or specs and have native drivers
available. Then I can always use ndiswrapper as a backup.
>> I would say ndiswrapper is
>> great for those situations where you have no control over hardware
>> choice.. but if possible it is best to support companies that play
>> well with the linux community when spending your hard earned [insert
>> local currency].
>>
>
> And, in what way, is selling hardware that works well in Linux with
> ndiswrapper _not_ playing well with the community?
>
Surely you can see how releasing a product with only windows drivers is
*less* supportive than releasing hardware specs or a native linux
driver? The point is to reward companies that are more proactive with
their support. If you wish to continue this discussion, it would be best
to do so off-list.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:39 PM
Christopher Copeland
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Derek Broughton wrote:
> Christopher Copeland wrote:
>
>
>> I don't think being forced to have a dongle or pcmcia card hanging off
>> a laptop is desirable (especially on a new purchase) in terms of both
>> wireless performance and convenience.
>>
>
> Who's being forced? The OP suggested that he could only get laptops with
> known working wireless for considerably more money. To my mind, it's well
> worth it to pay less for the hardware and use a dongle, but it's his
> choice.
>
The OP! If that boxed up toshiba's wireless doesn't work AT ALL, then by
keeping it he would be forced, right? Note I didn't look into whether or
not the card in the laptop is actually going to work in ubuntu.. I
trusted the OP's research. Obviously coming to the list was an attempt
to find a laptop outside the pool of what he could find on his own. The
Dell open box might have been the solution.. my point was I'd rather
have built-in wireless and pay for that privilege, than use a usb/pcmcia
card. Then I suggested usb cards to look at in case *his choice* wasn't
the same as mine..

>> Hopefully one of the other laptops posted on this list will solve the
>> problem. The only laptops I've bought under $500 are a couple of Asus
>> Eee's.
>>
>
> I spent just over $500 for the HP I'm using - working wireless (Broadcom
> with ndiswrapper) included. I _want_ an eee. :-)
>
They are lots of fun, I can't keep hold of them though.. when I
travel with one my client usually ends up buying it off me. I only use
mine as travel machine but with an external display, keyboard and mouse
I could see it working as a primary computer for some.
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:20 PM
NoOp
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

On 01/30/2008 08:02 PM, Default User wrote:

> Okay ... so it looks like the answer is no. Well, thanks to all who
> took the time to reply and give advice.
>
> So the laptop goes back. BTW, just for laughs, I tried once more to get
> a Netgear MA111 usb wireless adapter to work on a Ubuntu 7.10 desktop
> computer. No luck with either ndiswrapper or the prism driver, although
> the ethernet connection works fine, as always.
>
> Now I am reminded of why almost every one still bends over for
> Microsoft. At least their lives are not defined by the limits of how
> far their ethernet cable will stretch.
>

Well now I'm really confused. The spec that you pointed to shows:

• Integrated Wi-Fi® compliant wireless:10
o Realtek® 802.11b/g wireless-LAN

I pointed you to Realtek's website where the appear to have linux
drivers for nearly everything they produce. Here's the page for the
RTL818 wireless chipset:

<http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=24&PFid=1&Level=6 &Conn=5&ProdID=36&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false&Downl oads=true>

On that page you will find linux drivers for the RTL818 chipset. There
are drivers for all but the RTL8187B - which seems to be the one
indicated in the Utah thread. However, you still can use ndiswrapper and
the windows driver for the RTL818B on that page. It may take some
tweaking, but you should be able to get it to work. See:

http://briancantin.blogspot.com/2007/11/hacking-rtl8187b-on-linux.html






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Old 01-31-2008, 05:23 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Chris Mohler wrote:

> I'll double-check when I get home (the wife's laptop), but IIRC I
> installed the ndiswrapper GUI in synaptic,

The package is ndisgtk (I think it's in Ubuntu by default, but can be added
to Kubuntu, too). In the menu it's shown as "Windows Wireless Drivers"

> opened the dialog, selected
> the driver from the Dell install disc, and I was off to the races. It
> was painless...

Click on "install new driver" and it asks where the .inf file is...
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:32 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Christopher Copeland wrote:

>
>
> Derek Broughton wrote:
>> Christopher Copeland wrote:
>>
>>
>>> I don't think being forced to have a dongle or pcmcia card hanging off
>>> a laptop is desirable (especially on a new purchase) in terms of both
>>> wireless performance and convenience.
>>>
>>
>> Who's being forced? The OP suggested that he could only get laptops with
>> known working wireless for considerably more money. To my mind, it's
>> well worth it to pay less for the hardware and use a dongle, but it's his
>> choice.
>>
> The OP! If that boxed up toshiba's wireless doesn't work AT ALL, then by
> keeping it he would be forced, right? Note I didn't look into whether or
> not the card in the laptop is actually going to work in ubuntu..

He's not forced, though. He has options - he's explicitly not opened the
box so that he won't be forced.

However, the amount of research one can do with wireless hardware is
somewhat limited, as the "specs" the manufacturer give are rarely
sufficient to know what actual driver is needed - as in this case where
they just said "realtek". There must be more than one kind of realtek
wireless driver - there are three or four wired realtek drivers that I know
of.

> The Dell open box might have been the solution..

imo, that's even _less_ likely to work out of the box. Some of the Dell's
come with options for four different wireless NICs, two of which are dicey
even under ndis. otoh, my HP came with a NIC that announces itself
as "Dell TruMobile"!! and works with ndiswrapper. You really need to be
able to see the chipset in use before you can tell if it should work.

> my point was I'd rather
> have built-in wireless and pay for that privilege, than use a usb/pcmcia
> card. Then I suggested usb cards to look at in case *his choice* wasn't
> the same as mine..

That's reasonable - if the cost difference is negligible, but he could buy
and throw out a few NICs before making up the difference in the costs he
quoted.

>> I spent just over $500 for the HP I'm using - working wireless (Broadcom
>> with ndiswrapper) included. I _want_ an eee. :-)
>>
> They are lots of fun, I can't keep hold of them though.. when I
> travel with one my client usually ends up buying it off me.

LOL. I was wondering why you had bought a "few". I met with a client who
was using a tiny Mac a few weeks before I first saw an eee, and was a
little jealous but the Mac was way out of my price range.

> I only use mine as travel machine

Sure, but what a travel machine it makes!

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Old 01-31-2008, 06:58 PM
Derek Broughton
 
Default cheap ubuntu laptop with wireless that works right "out of the box".

Christopher Copeland wrote:

> I never said everything needs to be open-source, but given the choice
> I'll prefer a driver that is.

Sooner or later when you're dealing with NICs you get down to a level of
closed source - it might be firmware and it might be an NDIS driver, but it
really makes no difference in the long run.

> Same when it comes to choice of OS. Watch
> out now because here comes my argument..

:-)

> I've used ndiswrapper and
> native drivers on a dozen or more wireless chipsets (always testing both
> on supported cards) and in my experience have found the native drivers
> more stable and offer better performance.

I confess to have only used 3 different wireless chipsets (I keep meaning to
try out the D-Link that my wife used to use on her now-deceased Windows
machine). One (intel) worked fine with a native driver. Two (a TI
acx1100 - I think - and this one, a BCM94311MCG) worked only intermittently
with native drivers, but flawlessly with ndiswrapper.

> This includes long distance point to point connections,

1000ft to the router connected to my satellite uplink...

> running high throughput always on
> connections etc. Then consider the chipset features unavailable to
> ndiswrapper users.. try putting a card into master or monitor mode.

I accept there are times it may _not_ be sufficient to use ndiswrapper, but
not for most people.

> What about link quality?

Not noticeably degraded - certainly better than with the native drivers.

> *my* choice would be to use hardware
> from manufacturers that release code or specs and have native drivers
> available. Then I can always use ndiswrapper as a backup.

That was my choice with my last laptop - I specifically ordered a Dell with
an intel card. Then Dell refused to honour the warranty I paid for, and I
bought a cheap NIC that worked with ndiswrapper. Next laptop, I just
decided it wasn't worth the aggravation, and bought cheap, planning to use
the internal wireless if it worked, or the cheap NIC if it didn't.

>> And, in what way, is selling hardware that works well in Linux with
>> ndiswrapper _not_ playing well with the community?
>>
> Surely you can see how releasing a product with only windows drivers is
> *less* supportive than releasing hardware specs or a native linux
> driver?

They're not. They're releasing hardware that works with a known software
interface. I will accept only that if they haven't actually tested it with
ndiswrapper and provided installation instructions for Linux systems using
ndiswrapper that they really couldn't care less about Linux, but imo if
they've done that much they're playing nice.
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