I had a quick look at the web server statistics for www.ipswichgreenparty.org.uk for the first time in, erm, a very long time! Apparently the site attracts a disproportionate amount of Linux users; 28.8% compared to the UK average of 1%. Almost 60% of users run Firefox, and there are 4 times as many Android users than iPhone users (although the site probably looks awful on a mobile).
You lovely, lovely, Microsoft and Apple avoiding, open source principled people! As a Linux laptop owning, rooted Android smart-phone wielding Firefox user I salute you!
Saturday morning. Turn the laptop on. ‘Update manager need your attention’. Oooh, 150Mb of updates including a new kernel, how exciting! Okay. Download, install, reboot. Hmmm, wireless networking no longer working.
After several hours of fiddling around I discover that in the Linux kernel 2.6.32 contains an updated ‘ath5k’ driver module to make my Atheros AR2413 wireless card work. The problem is that it no longer works with wireless security (wep/wpa), dropping lots of packets and with huge latency. With an open network, the ath5k driver works fine, but what good is that?!
The remedy? Using the ‘Madwifi ath_pci’ driver which involves checking out source code from subversion and compiling a new driver. See Troy’s blog for the commands.
Thanks Linux, it’s been … insightful.
That gap between Christmas and New Year offers you a slow, hazy opportunity to do some things that you couldn’t really be bothered to do during the year.
For me, it was to take the plunge into only running Linux. Like everyone, I started computing with Windows, but I always dabbled with a dual boot Linux OS. Hell I even tried OS/2. Over the last ten years, my experience has grown steadily, so I thought it was time to delete the now entirely unused Windows XP partition.
Booting back into Windows to retrieve some old files reminded me of why I left. As it slowly loaded up, about ten pop-ups of different sizes and colours arrived. They reminded me that I should check to see if there was a new version of my printer drivers or adverts from RealPlayer about the new Mis-Teeq album or that my computer may be at risk, something about anti-virus and firewall. Several programs had expired their trial period and were directing me to a website to buy the latest software. It’s all about fear of people trying to hurt you and selling you stuff. Bad times.
I downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu for my fresh install ‘Maverick Meerkat’ and after several attempts, I could not get it to run properly. I then decided to revert to the previous long-term support version ‘Lucid Lynx’. This installed first time, but there was a problem with the wireless network driver. In stereotypical Linux fashion, I had to download the source code for the drivers, compile them and then load them into the kernel. By the way, this is a million times easier to do than it sounds!
Now I have a sparkly new system with no pop-ups, no sales pitch, no anti-virus and firewall nonsense, no need to ever defragment my disk. Just a super quick, simple to use machine that will update itself for free for the next two years. Good times.