[TriLUG] Dell wireless

Kevin Hunter hunteke at earlham.edu
Wed Oct 15 12:41:53 EDT 2008

At 11:29am -0400 on Wed, 15 Oct 2008, Dave Moody wrote:
> Haven't noticed a huge problem on my Dell XPS M1330 after 
> going to Hardy and Firefox 3, but I still cannot get the 
> wireless card to work.  Kevin Hunter took a shot when we 
> met and chatted at RDU, no dice.

Ouch!  Way to call out my geek-pride!  ;-)

For starters, what may be more useful to folks is the specifics:  What
is the hardware piece in question?  (Look for "wireless" in the output
of lspci.)  What is your kernel?  Try these from the command line:

$ lspci | grep -i "wire"
$ uname -a

> Anyone have any experience with Dell in this regard?  

Generally speaking, the Linux-world is more concerned about individual
components than is the MS-world.  This is by evolution.  In the Windows
world, thanks to OEM and vendor support, you can talk about the general
"How do Dells/Gateways/Whatever fare?".  You will find, however, that
*nix software stacks tend to be *way* more flexible than their MS
counterparts.  This means, that as long as the kernel even sees your
piece of hardware, your machine will boot/be usable and you may even get
basic functionality out of the hardware, without a specific driver.  In
other words, it is more likely to "just work" in Linux.  (This wasn't
always the case, but evolution happened.)

(BTW, don't confuse the "just works" of hardware with "just works" of
the application world.  That's still ... coming with *nix.)

To compare, I'll wave my hands and ask "Have you ever messed with a
Windows Installation CD and a random assortment of hardware (as in, not
from an OEM or vendor box)?"  It's ... well, let's put it this way: Best
you be in a good mood, with lots of patience.  Juxtapose that with any
of today's *nix LiveCDs or distributions.


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