Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
When it’s compared to Microsoft Windows on the subject of driver support, Linux is generally perceived as lacking, although far less so in recent years thanks to the efforts of Intel and others. But in at least one case, Linux was the solution to a bizarre and as yet unsolved driver issue.
Because my fiancée would occasionally be using it as well, I opted first for Windows XP, which would be most familiar to her. That installed seamlessly on the machine, and all the hardware – the wireless included – worked just fine, with one exception. Oddly, the Intel wireless on board refused to connect to the brand new Cisco (Linksys) access point we’d set up at our apartment. Absolutely refused. The same hardware would connect to any other network – even the pointless WEP secured one at the office – but it would not under any circumstances associate with the home network. It could see it, but simply not connect. At first I thought it was the WPA2 security, but that didn’t seem to make any difference: even completely unsecured, the network would not cough up an IP.
This not being the first time I’d experienced some wireless wonkiness from XP, I decided to abandon it in favor of its newer cousin, Windows 7. When the RTM build I applied finished installing, however, neither the sound nor the wireless worked. After Googling for a solution, I applied the Windows Vista drivers for the wifi hardware and it worked perfectly…except on the home network.