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Hardware drivers in Linux
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einonm



Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:19 am
Posts: 29
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And 'lsmod', looking for rt2x00 etc?

Otherwise, if you can copy files to and from the Debian PC somehow, I'd suggest trying the install of the aforementioned ralink firmware, and also running:

dmesg > ~/logfile.txt

and posting the logfile on pastebin.com so we can take a look.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

einonm wrote:
If you do not have the firmware package, you can download it from http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/all/firmware-ralink/download then move it to the Debian machine via USB stick.

Clicking on the file in the GUI file explorer should install it.


Yes. No. Unless I did something wrong.

I made it as far as transferring the downloaded package (via stick) to the linux machine where the stick was recognised and made available to browse in the GUI file browser. I copied this file

firmware-ralink_0.28+squeeze1_all.deb

to my home directory and then navigated to the copy in the GUI file browser and double left clicked on it.

That brought up another GUI window - no obvious title for the programme behind it but I assume it is the Linux unzip/extract utility.

This shows me that there appear to be three folders in the archive,

DEBIAN, lib, usr

I'm offered the choice of opening or extracting these - I was expecting the package manager(?) to step in and install the package because of the .deb extension, but that didn't happen.

If I just extract them, it creates directory tree lib/firmware and directory tree usr/share and directory DEBIAN in the directory that the .deb file was in, as I would expect any un-archiver to have done. In lib/firmware, I see quite a few RTxx(xx).bin files, but none of them are RT3060.bin.

This is what I was alluding to when I said I suspected that the firmware-ralink package might not include firmware for my card.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

einonm wrote:
And 'lsmod', looking for rt2x00 etc?

Otherwise, if you can copy files to and from the Debian PC somehow, I'd suggest trying the install of the aforementioned ralink firmware, and also running:

dmesg > ~/logfile.txt

and posting the logfile on pastebin.com so we can take a look.


I'll await your response to what I said in my last post, where I explained what happened when I downloaded the .deb file and tried to install it. Then, I'll reply to every question of yours that I haven't yet answered all in one post. Otherwise it's going to get confusing.
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einonm



Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:19 am
Posts: 29
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

If the file explorer is not installing the .deb, then you can also install it from the command line using:

sudo dpkg -i <firmware file.deb>

There isn't necessarily one binary firmware file per device. One binary may cover several related devices.

Also forget what I said about this particular device being supported for a long time - its a newer device, but the underlying driver has been supported for a long time.
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wyliecoyoteuk
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 11:41 pm
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Location: Birmingham, UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your problem is that the manufacturer has chosen not to make a Linux installer available on the CD. I was just pointing out that Linux does not have driver supply wrong, it has no choice in the matter. The manufacturer chooses to produce drivers and an installation package for Windows, but not for Linux.
This isn't Linux at fault but the manufacturer.

Most Linux Distros actually install most hardware drivers in a truly "seamless" fashion- no CDs required, no reboots.
Sometimes, however, it fails, usually because the manufacturer of a particular piece of hardware does not cooperate, or even refuses to allow distribution of their firmware and software.

This is why a wired connection to the internet is sometimes required.
Interestingly enough, the same is starting to be true of Windows, starting with Win7 many drivers are now downloaded direct from Windows update, and the driver disk may soon disappear.
(Drivers on CDs are often abysmally out of date anyway)
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:

This isn't Linux at fault but the manufacturer.

(Drivers on CDs are often abysmally out of date anyway)


It's the difference in culture which is the problem. Windows demands that hardware producers also produce, and accompany the hardware, with a driver. It therefore isn't a problem if Windows doesn't natively recognise the hardware - the manufacturer HAS to have supplied a driver (because that is the culture of Windows).

Linux apparently does try to 'know' about every item of hardware on earth, or more realistically, about every common chipset going. But, because Linux tries to do that, the hardware manufacturer doesn't feel obliged to provide a driver. Sooner or later, 'Linux will do it'.

In my case, the manufacturer has put the word 'Linux' on the box and provided a Linux folder on the CD, but the CD does not contain an automatic Linux installer as such - the user is expected to edit various entries in various files (not well explained) and then run MAKE to produce the driver, However, as I understand it, this can't be done yet because I also need the kernel source files for my specific Debian distro (not present) so that the script / utility / whatever on the CD can integrate the bits it needs into the Kernel (I can't imagine why else it would need the kernel source files).

In all my time as a Windows user, I have never encountered an installation obstacle course like this.

Sometimes, I grant you, I have an old, favourite peripheral like a printer, scanner or something and find that there is no driver for it for the Windows I've just upgraded to. It does annoy me: That's why I still run XP, which currently has the broadest range of driver support.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

einonm wrote:
Hi,

If the file explorer is not installing the .deb, then you can also install it from the command line using:

sudo dpkg -i <firmware file.deb>



Ok, that worked, or at least, it went away, looked busy, and when it had finished there were lots of 'RT...bin' files in lib\firmware.

I shutdown / restarted the machine, but after restart there was still no change that I could see in the output from the various commands you asked me to try earlier.

I'll grab all the info I can find again and post it as you have suggested, but I won't be able to do that now until tomorrow (Thursday) evening - have to go to bed.

Thanks for all your help so far.
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nelz
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:52 pm
Posts: 8457
Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SiriusHardware wrote:
Linux apparently does try to 'know' about every item of hardware on earth, or more realistically, about every common chipset going. But, because Linux tries to do that, the hardware manufacturer doesn't feel obliged to provide a driver. Sooner or later, 'Linux will do it'.


Linux tries to do that by working with the manufacturers, so it is still incumbent on them to provide driver information, but not necessarily the complete code. When manufacturers fail to help, drivers are often reverse-engineered, but that does not change the fact that the manufacturers have refused to do anything to help develop a Linux driver.

It's less about culture than market share, you simply cannot release hardware that doesn't work for 90% of your target market. Those manufacturers that refuse to help with Linux often cite a perceived lack of demand - usually because Linux users know their products are unsupported and buy elsewhere.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nelz wrote:


Those manufacturers that refuse to help with Linux often cite a perceived lack of demand - usually because Linux users know their products are unsupported and buy elsewhere.


All noted. Among manufacturers, then, who currently has a good reputation for Linux support (I'm thinking of wi-fi adaptors particularly, but generally as well?)
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nelz
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intel are the best for wireless support. Broadcom used to be awful but now have decent drivers in the kernel. Ralink chips seem to be OK but I've never used them. Edimax stuff has always just worked for me.
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Ram
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:44 pm
Posts: 1669
Location: Guisborough

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nelz wrote:
Edimax stuff has always just worked for me.


Which brings it back to my point, use a wired connection, it will more than likely update the wireless driver.

It should be possible to share the Windows internet connection if the machine has an onboard NIC. You may need the loan of a hub or router without those a Cross Ethernet cable to connect your 2 PCs together.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ram wrote:
nelz wrote:
Edimax stuff has always just worked for me.


Which brings it back to my point, use a wired connection, it will more than likely update the wireless driver.

It should be possible to share the Windows internet connection if the machine has an onboard NIC. You may need the loan of a hub or router without those a Cross Ethernet cable to connect your 2 PCs together.


Believe it or not, my windows PC does NOT have an ethernet port. It's an Abit KT7A motherboard, circa 2001, and in those days motherboards didn't routinely come with network interfaces. Since I've never had wired access to a router, there was never any need for me to acquire an ethernet port for the machine.

But - if you go back far enough through this thread you'll find that I did actually physically take the Linux machine (which does have an NIC as that's a slightly newer motherboard) to a different location to connect it to a wired internet connection once, as I had to do that to get Debian to finish installing (otherwise, the installation failed at the point of trying to install GRUB or any of the other bootloaders).

Unfortunately, it's a bit of a drive to get there and I don't really like to bother the owner of that connection more than I reasonably should.

I had the Edimax card in the machine from the start because I had hoped that the Debian installer would pick it up as it went along. Having a wired connection on that occasion made no difference.

I'm beginning to think that an ethernet-to-wifi bridge box like the Netgear WNCE2001 could be an essential buy if I'm going to continue to try to get on with Linux, as it seems I will always initially need something which the machine -thinks- is a wired connection to the internet, until such time as I can manage to get wifi up and running on it.

By the way, I think the issue with this card is not one of a driver (yet), but of firmware. I don't think there is any firmware support for this particular device, namely the Ralink 3060. Before anyone replies to that, let me get on and harvest all the necessary information from the system first: I'll post it later this evening.
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - If you remember, I sucessfully downloaded the firmware-ralink package to a USB stick via the windows machine, transferred it to the Linux PC and got it to install, seemingly, by using dpkg. After doing that, there are some RT...bin files in the firmware directory that were not there before. However, I can not see that this has made any difference.

Here's the output now from:

lspci

lsmod

ifconfig

ip link show

dmesg

http://pastebin.com/y5JgK68f

Can you make any sense of it?
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nelz
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 12:52 pm
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Location: Warrington, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instructions for using this card with Debian are at http://wiki.debian.org/rt2800pci
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SiriusHardware



Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:41 pm
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nelz wrote:
Instructions for using this card with Debian are at http://wiki.debian.org/rt2800pci


Thanks for finding that, but upon reading the small print I noticed that the article you pointed me to was for 'Wheezy'.

I believe I'm running 'Squeeze' (sorry if I have not mentioned that before) so I followed the link on that page for Squeeze users, RT2860STA.

While the 'Wheezy' page you pointed me to does specifically mention the RT3060, the information on the Squeeze users' page conspicuously misses out my device.


Last edited by SiriusHardware on Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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