PCLinuxOS 2007, USR5411 MaxG Wireless Primer

So you’ve just installed PCLinuxOS 2007 TR4 on your laptop and your wireless card is detected! Finally, a distro gets it right! However, you’re not too sure how to proceed next…do you manage the device through the PCLinuxOS Control Center? Do you start another program and work that way? Do you use KDE’s built in applet to monitor things? What’s next?

This is something that is often expressed in the forums at pclinuxos.com and something anyone associated with this fine distribution is glad to see…that is working wireless. However, as noted above, people often wonder how to control their wireless device and how to move in and out of various different environments. I’d like to share how I do wireless on my Thinkpad a22m.

I have a US Robotics 5411 MaxG PCMCIA card for my laptop. PCLinuxOS 2007 detects it out of the box but doesn’t install it by default. The reason for this is that PCLinuxOS doesn’t assume to know how you want to install it…either using the built into the kernel support for the broadcom wireless chip or ndiswrapper…which is a program that allows Windows drivers for wireless to be used in Linux. I elected to go with Ndiswrapper since I had some problems with the broadcom driver in PCLinuxOS. Ndiswrapper is installed by default in PCLinuxOS which makes this process even easier…but the process still requires some forethought and I’ll share with you what I did to make this process go smoothly and easily.

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Experiment Revisited: Fedora Core 4

During the next few weeks, I’ll be quietly revisiting all of the distros that we included in our experiment; Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandrake (now Mandriva), MEPIS, and PCLinuxOS. I decided to go ahead and install each distro (current version) and re-orient myself and discuss what Mrs.Devnet liked and what she didn’t like about each one and further discuss what I feel are some strong points and weak points for the distro. After this, we’ll discuss the important things that each and every distro should take note of…that is, what can be improved. Most reviews and quicklooks just point out problems and then do nothing…Yet Another Linux Blog will strive to do more than this. We can’t just sit on things without bringing solutions to the table or we become part of the problem. So without further nonsense, we’ll visit each distro and try to nail down what they could do to appeal to more people. I’ll be getting Mrs.Devnet’s take on it and then I will also add my own using the many average computer user’s that I know as base for my commentary.

So…today I’ll be looking at Fedora Core 4. We’ll begin by assuming I’m a new user and new to Fedora in General.

The Quick Look

First things first. Fedora offers hands down the easiest install of any distro out there. Anaconda is like a betty crocker oven…even a kid could bake with it. For some people, this doesn’t cut it because they may or may not need to feel ‘old skewl’ or ‘l33t’ by keeping things text based or even similar to an Ubuntu/Debian installer feel. For new users though, the Fedora Anaconda install is stellar. Fedora really shines in this area.

Package selection during the install is all graphical, clear and concise. Adding visuals to any presentation or process will make it more efficient and easier to understand. After the install, you are greeted to a KDE or Gnome session depending on what you choose. I chose KDE since I’m more fond of it than Gnome.

During the experiment, Mrs.Devnet experienced problems with an extremely slow booting Fedora on our test computer. I chalk this up to it being a test release. There were no problems with it during this time. In fact, Fedora has increased its boot speed considerably with FC4. It’s one of the fastest booting distros I’ve dealt with. What makes it even better is that it is fully graphical. Though most people want a text boot, I like the fact that you’re given an option.

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