Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fedora Core 5 - Adventures in Wireless

Well, I received my new system today - P4, SATA, 1GB, 160GB, etc etc - and thought I'd try out a few distributions before copying my Debian install over from the old drive.

So, in goes the first Fedora Core 5 cd. I installed it.

Sorry, expecting more detail? Try here.

Following the install I booted into a Gnome desktop at a glorious 800x600, on account of the NVidia card not being recognized. Lovely, but I know I can get the NVidia drivers, so it's not such a big deal.

First things first though - got to get networking configured before I can download the graphics drivers. Using another machine I pop on over to the ralink website and grab the source code for the wireless lan drivers (Gigabyte GN-WP01GS with Ralink rt-61 chipset), and transfer it to the new computer via floppynet.

Oh, crap. No kernel headers. Didn't I choose "Development Environment" during the install? Sure as hell did. Oh well, that should be easily fixed. I go to Applications/"Add/Remove Software"... There is an error message: "Unable to retrieve software information".

So, apparently their package manager can only install software from online repositories - not from the CDs. Same deal with Yum on the command line, apparently. I resort to shuffling CDs, and searching for the appropriate RPM manually - A quick google suggests the package will be called something like kernel-devel, probably because kernel-headers would be too damn obvious.

No kernel headers. (!) I should probably repeat that a few times, if I were not so lazy. Instead I shall just throw in some elipses...

... and then continue in a new paragraph.

At this point I have three options:
  1. Connect the wired LAN and use that to download the kernel headers. Painful, on account of having to run blue cable through half the house, and then having kids tripping over it, cats chewing on it, wives and girlfriends demanding to be tied up with it...
  2. Download the package on another machine, and burn to CD, then hope it doesn't have any dependencies.
  3. Try Suse 10.1 and see if that handles my configuration any better. Or Ubuntu 6.06, but I haven't downloaded that yet.
None of this stuff is terribly difficult, and I'd be up that drainpipe in a flash, were it not for the fact that I'm just experimenting with FC5 before restoring my Debian system. Since I have no intention of actually keeping FC5 on the machine anyway, number three is looking pretty attractive right now. I may even propose.


keith said...

I was missing some packages I needed for my Ubuntu Dapper on a stand-alone network and I was just able to download them on another computer from the ubuntu repository, copy them to my USB key, and then load them on the Ubuntu PC that way. I just double clicked the .deb files and it looked for dependencies and installed. I have a FC5 machine that I'm messing around with but I don't know much about RPMs. I have an old laptop that I need to buy a wireless PCMCIA Card for, any suggestions? That whole wives wanting to be tied up is probably why baby #4 is coming soon so try to avoid that at all costs.

Lorraine said...

Crap, that was long!

Ben said...

The same thing would work for Fedora, if I could be bothered. But now I have some other distros to look at.

re wireless cards - I only started playing around with these recently, so my experience is limited. I purchased based on the chipset, not the brand of card - Debian includes some RAlink GPL drivers, though it turns out the one I got had the RT61 drivers, which are not in Debian, but that's another story...

So, size matters then?

Lorraine said...

I suppose one can fantasize about having both (we, your two fans know that for you it's quantitty)
But perhaps I am mixing up the blogs again!