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Re: Configuring a Compaq Armada for wireless

Hey Eric,

For the records...can you verify it doesn't work with a recent kernel 2.6.18 ?
Which has, <quote>


Enable PCI and Cardbus support for the following chipset based cards:                                                   

ISL3880 - Prism GT            802.11 b/g                                                                                
ISL3877 - Prism Indigo        802.11 a                                                                                  
ISL3890 - Prism Duette        802.11 a/b/g                                                                              

For a complete list of supported cards visit <http://prism54.org>.                                                      
Here is the latest confirmed list of supported cards:                                                                   
3com OfficeConnect 11g Cardbus Card aka 3CRWE154G72 (version 1)                                                   |
If you enable this you will need a firmware file as well.                                                               
You will need to copy this to /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/isl3890.                                                        
You can get this non-GPL'd firmware file from the Prism54 project page:                                                 
You will also need the /etc/hotplug/firmware.agent script from                                                          
a current hotplug package.


I'd give the kernel 2.6.18 prism module a try, before madwifi or ndiswrapper.
Search tuxmobil for hints.

> > Of course I can't download any upgrades directly to the computer  
> > until the wireless card is working so I guess I need to download CD  
> > images. 


> > Not sure if I need the whole set or just one or two to get me  
> > going.

I fear you need to learn some debian tools for most options.

Upgrading the existing system...

If you get the first 3 ISO images and read them into apt sources.list
(with "apt-cdrom add") and then launch aptitude or synaptics, and flag 
'upgrade' on all installed packages, you will see any dependencies that 
are still is missing, for example, aptitude will probablylist them as being 
held back, upon second 'g' (go). If it's not too much, you can try to 
download them from packages.debian.org seperately. 
(Does it work to just put them into /var/cache/apt/archives ? 
Dunno, please tell if you try ;)

Using apt-zip on a nother networked box would work too - 
perhaps that's your first choice.

You can always create a local repository, and add that path to 
/etc/sources.list (with "file://").

If it looks like all dependencies are resolved, then leave the UI and 
do apt-get dist-upgrade from commandline. I hope it works :)

It's a good idea to look through the installed packages first, and remove
anything (purge) that you don't really need, or that you know will be
obsolete after upgrade, to ease the upgrade and minimize the deps.
For example, do you really need xorg and desktop upgrade in the
first place, where all these packages will be replaced anyway.
Then consider to remove them (purge) (do backup of userdata),
and get used to aptitude and midnight commander who work on 
textconsole too.

But in any case, establish a network connection as soon as possible, 
before updating all the rest, even before installing a new kernel.

- Booting a knoppix on your laptop may be able to run the 3Com card, 
and you can download stuff and store on local harddisk (repository).

- Straightforward would be a plain ethernet crossover CAT5 cable.
If there's only access points around, no router cable plug, try to 
plug the cable to someone else wireless Laptop, or to a ADSL 
box (or router) at someones' home.
Then, transfer iso images or apt-zips or install a package server, like 
apt-cacher, on a networked linux host. Booting a knoppix on a pure 
win machine may help or even be required.

- Geeks do port forwarding.

> > Can anyone point me in the right direction to help me get this thing  
> > going, even if it just means referring me to an article somewhere?

After all,

> That is probably easier than trying to compile and install a backported
> kernel without network access

ACK. Consider the debian 'testing' installer CD's

I'd try it in this order:
1. Start with apt-zip and try booting a knoppix on your laptop.
2. If that can't deploy the 3Com card, try to borrow another card, or 
3. get a Cat5 cable and plug into another box. 
4. With no network possible, i'd go reinstall via CD.

hth, mi.

ps. You can extract a list of installed packages on any debian box with
"dpkg --get-selections > pkglist" (creating the file pkglist), and have such a list
read into dpkg database (on another box), marked for installation, by 
"dpkg --set-selections".

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