What is the Deal with WiFi and Linux?

JokuSpoit Fail

Two and a half years ago when Apple made their infamous switch to Intel processors I called bullshit and got myself a cheap generic laptop to join the growing user base of Ubuntu Linux.

Everything worked as advertised, except for the built-in WiFi card. After jumping through many hoops I found a cheap plug-in WiFi adapter on eBay, but the whole experience left me feeling, well… something like this.

Cut to present day, and I’m the proud new owner (if a bit behind the curve) of a new Eee PC.

Just like a Mac, this Asus is a thing of beauty. It fits (barely) into my awesome Japanese man-bag and is a much better technological fit for me than Nokia’s Internet Tablet.

And everything works as advertised, except for one thing: The built-in WiFi.

See, I’ve got this awesome app on my Nokia called JoikuSpot, which basically turns my phone into a WiFi hotspot. It a great way to plow through at least some of my 6GB/month mobile data plan, and works amazingly well with both Mac and Windows computers.

But not, for some reason, with Linux — or at least this otherwise excellent implementation of it.

A kind soul has posted a helpful if kludgy solution which didn’t work at all for me. After almost an entire day of Googling, tweaking and frustration I’ve left a last-ditch call for help on the EeeUser forums. From there I’ll hopefully get some direction on how to proceed, but the whole experience has left me feeling… well, you know.

Despite the folks at Asus coming up with possibly the most user-friendly Linux UI yet, it doesn’t take much to pull back the curtain and find yourself face to face with a screen-full of indecipherable command-line gibberish as in the screen grab above.

What’s your verdict? Am I a total n00b who should just STFU and start learning terminal prompts, or is Linux still not ready for prime time?

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About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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10 Responses to What is the Deal with WiFi and Linux?

  1. Super Jamie says:

    The problem is not Linux, the problem is manufacturers either not writing drivers, or writing buggy substandard drives. Get an Intel wireless card, it will work perfectly.

  2. anthony says:

    I got my wife the asus eee 10000 and the wifi works fine. You may just have a defective component?

  3. AC says:

    If it were only that simple… I can connect to my home network with no issues; it’s the specific ad-hoc or computer-to-computer connection that my Eee PC can’t handle, whereas Mac and Windows machines connect fine.

  4. Joe says:

    I run a full version of Ubuntu 8.10 on my Eeepc, with wifi. I run the array.org custom kernel which works perfectly. In answer to your question, Linux is not and never will be, aimed at the “prime time”. It is a community lead project, not a profit driven product, and thus can not be seen as competing with any of the commercial OSes available. One of the best things about Linux is that there is a learning curve to using it, which keeps out the idiotic windows users who think that everything should “just work” despite it being completely free.

  5. AC says:

    Silly old me, I thought the best thing about Linux was the community, improving the software and helping fellow users out.

    So much for that. πŸ™„

  6. devolute says:

    It’s a completely fair comment, but I guess you have to offset cleaning virus’ and spyware crap off your machine with initial wireless setup difficulties.

    I didn’t have those difficulties with my girlfriends Eee, btw… I just installed EasyPeasy http://www.ubuntu-eee.com/

  7. AC says:

    It’s a completely fair comment

    Which one, his or mine? πŸ˜‰

    This Array.org kernel seems worth investigating, but what’s with the partial toggling of wireless…?

    Is the default Xandros so bad that folks are immediately turning to something else? I rather like it…

  8. Ed says:

    If you’re on LinkedIn, there is a very large group devoted to Ubuntu users and others for Linux. Here is a link: http://tinyurl.com/c3ahdt

  9. AC says:

    Thanks but honestly, I was kinda hoping for a fix I could implement with this default version of Linux without having to install a whole new OS.

    I think what’s most frustrating me is that with so many distros and variations the Linux community seems very fragmented, and searching for a fix to a particular issue can lead to a lot of dead ends, even with lots of very helpful online communities and fellow users.

    As a Mac-tard I’m accustomed to being told outright that something is or isn’t possible — either because the user base is larger or because the OS is so locked up. And yes, I know… That’s not necessarily a good thing!

  10. AC says:

    For some good news I’ll direct you to this post on Twitter. 😎

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