When I read articles like this one, I simply have to ask myself what in the heck Microsoft is thinking? Look, if it wants to sue Linux vendors – go for it! But for goodness’ sakes, do it or shut up already. I mean if Microsoft’s desire is to point out flaws with Linux, one only look to the excuses surrounding wireless support. Because let me tell you, even though I know how to get wireless happening with most of the newer distros out there, it remains a LONG ways off for most people, I am afraid, when using existing Windows OEM hardware. And when Shuttleworth’s ilk released that steaming pile of crap we so laughingly call an upgrade to the stable Ubuntu Edgy, apparently “it’s good enough” was the phrase of the day as once working cards are now questionable, at best. That’s right, kids! Thanks to the Feisty release, the integrity of the wiki page stating which cards are supported in Dapper and Edgy are no longer working thanks to the “let’s make it pretty” mindset that apparently does not include making sure it is not pushing out a release that causes people a lot of headaches.
What’s sad and funny at the same time is that I have been here before with Linspire. I told the folks there point blank that if they did not get a handle on the wireless issue, it would hurt them in the long run. Where are they today? Well, not impressing as many Windows converts as they could have been had they listened to me very carefully.
Hey distro vendors, want to quadruple your user base? Then listen to me – again.
- Support Atheros, Ralink, and Intel drivers exclusively. Even at the risk of needing to blacklist the “Broadcom/Marvel bunch,” just bite the bullet and do it. Pour every free R&D penny you have into making darned sure WPA is working on the previously mentioned chipsets. All three can support WPA, and in two cases, the drivers already do – yet we still see issues thanks to conflicting drivers. That and PR-friendly “deadlines…” *cough*Dell*cough.*
- Stop pushing network-manager. It may be pretty, but it only works with some wireless cards as it attempts to be a blanket solution. Use Wicd and pour some cash into it.
- Make wireless support your mission and stop treating notebook users like second class citizens. Because mark my words, I have already cleaned up the mess Feisty made with RT2500 initializing (pieced together a bash script) in Feisty; now my sights are on RT61 and, guess what? At one point I had it working fine with WPA in another distribution based on yours.
That’s why I love Linux. I can escape the stupidity of one distro, but to escape a mistake with other operating systems means either a step back to a previous version or a completely different platform altogether. With or without your help Mark, I am going to clean up your mess. And the sad part is that I am doing this on a shoestring budget and with the understanding that Ubuntu devs will continue to downgrade wireless support with each release. So thanks for the help, pal!