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Free Wireless

February 27, 2009

I made an upgrade on my netbook today.  Can you spot the difference?

netbook before

netbook after

If you guessed that it’s now 100% open-source compatible, you are correct!

Even though I ordered the Linux package, Dell cheaped out with a Broadcom wireless card that doesn’t have very good Linux support.  Broadcom does have drivers available, but you have to download and compile the wrapper yourself.  Downloading a new driver and all of the kernel-devel packages is a little harder when your network is not connected…

So to replace the Broadcom, I ordered an Intel 3945ABG card, because it is well supported in Linux.  The kernel has the right drivers already included, so Fedora works right out of the box, even booting off of a live cd.  And not only are the drivers open-source, but they even work better.  My connection time shrunk from 20-30 seconds down to about 5 seconds.  I can live with that!

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