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Getting netgear MA101 adapter

Hi, I'm trying to get my usb Netgear MA101 adapter to work on my Debian Sarge with 2.6.8 kernel. It's been very frustrating because any time I want to do something useful, I have to boot into XP... (burning cdrom, internet, etc), then back into linux.

1.  lsusb shows the adapter is plugged in
2.  iwconfig and all its various options does not show the adapter
lsmod does not show anything about an atmel-whatever driver being loaded
     driver does not seem to be on sarge cd-1 or cd-2
downloaded the driver from http://atmelwlandriver.sourceforge.net/downloads.html
         Copied file to USB flash keychain to load in linux.
               FAT is not supported in kernel, so can't mount keychain
                     Burned CD with patch and drivers
doesn't compile due to some /usr/src/module (I think) not being available. I think it means I need the kernel source. Good time to fix FAT not being supported. Also, atmel driver instructions say something about a patch and/or recompiling usb.c. Ok so I need the sources.
                 apt-get install kernel-source
doesn't work. Found kernel source 2.6.9 on debian site.
                       Burn to CD.
                       make menuconfig
                           needs ncurses-dev
can't find it. Apparently it's named lib5ncurses5-what-the-frick-devel.deb apt-get install what-the-frick (from the sarge CD) of course doesn't work download off the debian site, burn to CD
                                        install curses5-dev or whatever
'make menuconfig' works, compiled new kernel with "reasonable" settings (including FAT and wireless drivers)
                              GMX2000 driver has booboo, compile stops.
redo kernel config and disable GMX2000 driver
                                    kernel compiles
                       Copied vmlinux to /boot/vmlinux-2.6.9-1-586
Added entry in grub menu, a copy of the "recovery" line put there during install. This includes 'single' in the entry Dosen't boot -- something about error 13. I figure it's the kernel setup Copy original config file from original install from /boot directory, and make sure wireless drivers are enabled and GMX is disabled.
                              Compiles again
Doesn't boot, error 13 I figure it's the 'single' entry. Boots further along, but it looks like I need a good initrd. copy old initrd since I didn't see one magically made for me, and (gosh!) the initrd.txt file in the /usr/src/kernel/documentation directory really doesn't say jack about how to get an initrd file working if you really need one. Lots of general high-minded stuff, but no step-by-step. Boots further along, then says something aboun insmod, modules this, that, etc.

I apologize for not having all the errors exactly written out. I'm writing this email in XP and there was far too much to document....

SO... am I on the right track? Do I need to fix all these stupid BS problems or is there a better way to get my stupid wireless ethernet adapter working? I have not found any useful documentation online. Any and all non-elitist "RTFM" help is very much welcome.


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