Hardware drivers in Linux

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Postby Ram » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:30 am

nelz wrote:
SiriusHardware wrote:Although Mint looks like a very nice version of Linux, I really would prefer to try to get Debian working because that is the most similar to the Linux I have running on my Raspberry Pi. (On the Pi, I have 'Raspbian', which is a slightly Pi-optimised Debian rebuild (or so I understand).


You could try Lubuntu. It is based on Debian, but will use a newer kernel, and it uses the same LXDE desktop as Raspbian.


Now there's a sensible solution, why didn't I think of it....

lubuntu LXDE 13.10 running on AMD Phenom II*4; ASUS Crosshair III Formula MB; 4 GB Ram.....
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Postby el chapulín » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:15 am

Lubuntu is based on Ubuntu, not directly off Debian.

It's easy enough to install Debian and then apt-get any window manager or DE from the command line. It's up to you, but personally I think you should stick with Debian and get the newer kernel installed - also that way you will learn more about Debian's package management system, and how GNU/Linux systems go together in general. But as I said - up to you.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:54 am

el chapulín wrote:
I think you should stick with Debian and get the newer kernel installed - also that way you will learn more about Debian's package management system...


That's the way I am headed at the moment, with a slightly newer? Install disc on the way (may arrive today) and an alternative wireless card based on a different chipset again also due this week - hopefully one or the other will solve my problem. From the information / links mentioned earlier in this long thread, it seems my Kernel only needs to be a little bit newer for the firmware for the original wireless card to be present - possibly.

I did try Ubuntu 12.10 from the LXF discs as well, actually, but, although the 'live' version works, the installer for the 'installed' version simply fails a long way into the install without saying why - it just gets stuck in an endless pause. One possibility is that the machine (1.6 Duron, 512MB of RAM) simply does not meet the minimum spec for resource-heavy versions of Linux - although Mint was happy to install on it.

I'm doing this because I thought it would be best to get to know Linux on a full featured PC version of Debian, because the Raspberry Pi's version is likely to be slightly quirkier due to hardware, (ARM version, etc) limitations. Once I get past this wireless interface brick wall I'll be able to focus more on learning about Linux.
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Postby nelz » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:04 pm

el chapulín wrote:Lubuntu is based on Ubuntu, not directly off Debian.


I know. It's Ubuntu with a different DE, which makes it as Debian-based as Ubuntu itself, or Raspbian for that matter. The OP wants something similar to Raspbian - Lubuntu gives him the same GUI and any Debian-based distro (1st or 2nd generation) gives him the same command line tools.

el chapulín wrote:It's easy enough to install Debian and then apt-get any window manager or DE from the command line.


Not if you don't have Internet access. He needs a distro where the wireless works after installing only from the disc.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby el chapulín » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:20 pm

nelz wrote:Not if you don't have Internet access. He needs a distro where the wireless works after installing only from the disc.

With GNU/Linux, sometimes hardware is unsupported out of the box, in such cases there are workarounds, there is no need to change distro because of a kernel. I've already posted the instructions as to how to obtain a kernel from backports by downloading the packages and installing them and the OP has shown some willing to try it. He has already installed Linux Mint (which is another 'buntu derivative), but expressed a desire to give Debian another go - hence why I have continued to make suggestions based on that.
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Postby el chapulín » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:34 pm

SiriusHardware wrote:That's the way I am headed at the moment, with a slightly newer? Install disc on the way (may arrive today) and an alternative wireless card based on a different chipset again also due this week - hopefully one or the other will solve my problem. From the information / links mentioned earlier in this long thread, it seems my Kernel only needs to be a little bit newer for the firmware for the original wireless card to be present - possibly.

A newer disc would not make any difference, unless it's the testing distribution (wheezy) which I doubt. What version was the disc you had?

You need a 2.6.38 kernel for that wireless chipset, but there would be no reason to go for that (especially considering that a) you'd need to build it yourself and b) it's EOL as far as I know - making the whole exercise particularly futile). I would suggest 3.2 from backports as being adequate and will save you from having to roll your own.

The other wireless card may have been an unnecessary step, but it doesn't hurt to have a few. I have a PCI NIC based on the realtek rtl8185 chipset which only gives a decent performance with ndiswrapper...

Another one I have has a broadcom chipset and they are a bigger pain, but it does work.

SiriusHardware wrote:One possibility is that the machine (1.6 Duron, 512MB of RAM) simply does not meet the minimum spec for resource-heavy versions of Linux - although Mint was happy to install on it.

It is quite low spec and 'buntu and mint have a reputation for being bloated - so another reason to prefer Debian, which can be installed very minimally.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:31 pm

el chapulín wrote:A newer disc would not make any difference, unless it's the testing distribution (wheezy) which I doubt. What version was the disc you had?


Thanks for your continuing help in the previous messages. I see that I may yet be able to impose a V3 Kernel on whatever version of Debian I install.

The version I currently have (from the LXF coverdisc) is 2.6.32. Or, sorry, were you asking if I was running Squeeze or Wheezy? Squeeze. Incidentally, I believe the Raspberry Pi's recommended 'Raspbian' distro is an ARM-compiled version of Wheezy (not Squeeze). But Squeeze is what I have for the PC, so that's what I am using on the PC.

I'll try again for the Kernel V3, but I may wait for the new Debian disc (still yet to arrive) and install that first because, unlike the LXF disc, it's a single distro on a DVD disc and may well have been padded out with a lot of extra software, etc. If so, it will make better sense to install that version and attempt to progress from there.

I'll report back when I have some results to report - (or more likely, need more help) - it may take me a few days, but I'll be back.
Last edited by SiriusHardware on Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:48 pm

el chapulín wrote:The other wireless card may have been an unnecessary step, but it doesn't hurt to have a few. I have a PCI NIC based on the realtek rtl8185 chipset which only gives a decent performance with ndiswrapper...


At the moment, 'ndiswrapper' is just a strange new word to me - from the context I've seen it used in it seems to be some way of using/converting a Windows driver to something which Linux can use? Does it create a 'little pocket' of Windows for the driver to run in?

Or am I totally wide of the mark?
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Postby SiriusHardware » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:59 pm

el chapulín wrote:It's a simple dependency issue - because you're installing offline with dpkg there is no dependency resolution.


Understood. I transferred the Debian-Base package and the initramfs-tools package to the Linux machine via a stick, installed those first and then tried to install the kernel upgrade package again. It worked, thank you.

When I do this, the result is now this:

Code: Select all
uname -a
Linux Debian 3.2.2-0.bpo.3-686-pae...(etcetera)


After a reboot and upon returning to the desktop, I was pretty thrilled to see a 'Wireless Networks are available' box loom up in the corner of the screen.

I went into that, saw my network, chose it, entered my passphrase when prompted and hit 'connect'... the box closed and the wireless status indicator icon (on the right hand side of the desktop upper toolbar) churned away for about 20 seconds.

Then, the wireless configuration box opened up again with a 'please enter the key for this network' prompt. The passphrase I had originally entered was still there in the box, transformed into big dots to make it unreadable.

I entered it three more times - no luck - still behaving as though I have entered the wrong password. I know I do have the right password.

After letting it fail one last time I went into a root terminal and
edited etc/interfaces to place this at the end:
Code: Select all
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa.conf


I then created and saved /etc/wpa.conf with this content:

Code: Select all
network={
<TAB> ssid="my_network_name"
<TAB> key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
<TAB> psk="my_network_key"
}


(In the above, I have obviously replaced my SSID and passphrase with generic substitutes for the purpose of this post: And <TAB> indicates that I indented the lines which begin that way).

then, back in terminal, I entered

ifup wlan0

Result:

Code: Select all
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.1.1-Pl
Copyright 2004-2010 Internet Systems Consortium
All rights reserved
For info, please visit https://www.isc.org/software/dhcp

Listening on LPF/wlan0/2f:02:18:d3:53
Sending on LPF/wlan0/2f:02:18:d3:53
Sending on Socket/Fallback



(Followed by multiple lines like this)

Code: Select all
DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval x


Finally followed by:

Code: Select all
No DHCP offers received.


Just to cover the questions you may ask:

-The network SSID is not hidden

-MAC filtering is off on the router

-The passphrase is correct - this Windows PC is using it right now to convey this post to you.

-The encryption / security in use is WPA2-PSK

-The wireless card does work (with the same encryption and passphrase) in a Windows XP machine.

If you've been patient enough to read through all this you will know that when I installed Linux Mint 13 temporarily, I got to the same stage - wireless card recognised, but unable to negotiate an encrypted connection to the network. It's as though WPA / WPA2 is broken in the driver for this card.

Any thoughts on how to go forward with this now? I seem to have progress, of a sort. Maybe one final push will sort it out.
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Postby nelz » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:02 pm

The next step is to disable all encryption on the computer and router and see whether it connects successfully. that's the only way to know whether it is the encryption layer that is failing.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby SiriusHardware » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:12 pm

nelz wrote:The next step is to disable all encryption on the computer and router and see whether it connects successfully. that's the only way to know whether it is the encryption layer that is failing.


OK - I'm busy with one or two things over the coming evenings but will try to find the time to do that.

If it works that way I'll try WEP and WPA(1) as well, but I would ultimately prefer to retain my current level of encryption.

I'll be back when I have more.

EDIT

I went back to using wireless-tools and instead of connecting to my own WPA2 network I connected to an unsecured BT Openzone point nearby - I have a password for Openzone so got past the front end and out onto the wider web - in fact I'm posting this from the Linux machine using Ephiphany browser - IceWeasel seems to stick / lock up a lot, but this one is OK.

Anyway - it seems I can get onto unsecured networks OK - will try WEP, WPA1 when I get a chance.
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Postby el chapulín » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:53 am

SiriusHardware wrote:'ndiswrapper'

It's a wrapper to allow the used of the NDIS (windows) driver.

I'm not clear as to which wireless adaptor you're using? The new one you mentioned or the same ralink adaptor?

If you're still using the ralink, this is a long shot, but verify that the firmware is being loaded:

Code: Select all
$ dmesg | grep -i firmware


Anyway it's odd that network manager won't accept your passphrase whereas wpasupplicant does seem to but then fails to obtain a dhcp lease.

I've had issues with networkmanager and especially wicd hashing passphrases in the past. On such occasions it can be an idea use wpa_passphrase to hash the key and enter the hash into your wireless client instead (I'm not entirely sure if networkmanager supports this but wicd does).
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Postby SiriusHardware » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:40 am

el chapulín wrote:
SiriusHardware wrote:'ndiswrapper'

It's a wrapper to allow the used of the NDIS (windows) driver.

I'm not clear as to which wireless adaptor you're using? The new one you mentioned or the same ralink adaptor?

If you're still using the ralink, this is a long shot, but verify that the firmware is being loaded:

Code: Select all
$ dmesg | grep -i firmware


Anyway it's odd that network manager won't accept your passphrase whereas wpasupplicant does seem to but then fails to obtain a dhcp lease.

I've had issues with networkmanager and especially wicd hashing passphrases in the past. On such occasions it can be an idea use wpa_passphrase to hash the key and enter the hash into your wireless client instead (I'm not entirely sure if networkmanager supports this but wicd does).


Sorry for being unclear:
-The same Ralink card (new one is not here yet)
-Network manager does accept the passphrase, but after trying to use it and presumably finding that it can not negotiate a connection with it, comes back up again to prompt me to correct it.

I'm away from the machine at the moment but will try dmesg later when I'm back home.

I don't know how to utilise wpa-passphrase to 'hash'(?) the key - Nor am I familiar with wicd, these terms are entirely new to me at the moment.
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Postby el chapulín » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:19 am

It works as follows
Code: Select all
$ wpa_passphrase myessid mypassphrase

(substitute your essid and passphrase)

Code: Select all
network={
        ssid="myessid"
        #psk="mypassphrase"
        psk=2a264c5e1a4313cfd4d2d262882cb4587d02235411bd234987a12bf0b150821a
}

All you need from that is the hash, i.e. "2a264c5e1a4313cfd4d2d262882cb4587d02235411bd234987a12bf0b150821a"

I'm not sure if networkmanager accepts it however, I know wicd does (wicd is another type of "network manager").

Anyway, check the firmware is being loaded first before trying anything else, as WPA2 should be supported and working.
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Postby greg.d » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:20 pm

Is your router set to WPA/WPA2 mixed mode? If so try setting it to WPA2 only. We had an issue with our wireless whereby older android phones would not connect to it if it was set to mixed mode, it may be something similar...

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