Device driver incompatibility – the painful part of Linux

June 15, 2007 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

Recently, my main laptop died and had to be send back for repair for the second time. I decided to get a backup laptop so I can continue to work on stuff while the main laptop was being repair. The Linux Tech Show and the Linux on the Desktop folks recommended the cheap laptop Acer Aspire 3680. The host indicated that he tried multiple distro on it and they all work.

Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly. Sound didn’t seemed to work. The wireless did not work at all. The problem is that not every Acer Aspire 3680 have the same components. Many have different versions of the Atheros chip. Some versions are compatible with Linux, some are not. I tried to download the lastest MadWifi and then tried to use NDISWRAPPER. Nothing worked. The chipset in my laptop, Athero 5006EG is not compatible with MadWifi or NDISWrapper. To make things worse, there may be different versions of Athero 5006EG, since some people managed to get theirs to work.

In addition to the wireless, the SD Card reader did not work because the TI drivers are broken. The sound was actually working after all. It turns out that the sound defaults to mute, so it gave the appearance that it was not working.

This is what drives me nuts about Linux at times. Of course, this problem affects Windows, too. The difference is that Windows are often preloaded, so you generally do not encounter this sort of problem.

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Entry filed under: linux.

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