Now using Fedora

I switched to Fedora because of some stupid circumstances involving my wireless card, my own ignorance, and a bit of desire for a change.

I have always wanted to switch to Fedora (actually, Fedora Core 3 was the first distro I ever installed on a computer) because of its proximity to upstream compared to Ubuntu. However, my Ubuntu set up worked flawlessy, so there was never any point to change. A few weeks ago I ordered 4gb RAM for my desktop, which at the time only had 1gb. In preparation for that, I replaced my current 32 bit Ubuntu with 64 bit Ubuntu. Interestingly, where 64bit installations always used to give me problems, everything in Ubuntu worked 100%, which was nice. Anyway, my RAM arrived and I put it into my computer. Restart. And wireless was gone.

My wireless card is a Netgear WG311v3 PCI card. It needs ndiswrapper to work because of the Marvell 8335 chip that it uses. Hours of messing around with ndiswrapper and Google searches involving some combination of “Ubuntu”, “Linux”, “ndiswrapper”, “mrv8335”, and “ram upgrade”and still no luck. At one point I was wondering if the linsux people were right and that Windows would be less hassle, even though I’ve never had a problem with my desktop till now. But then I accidentally searched only WG311v3 and RAM upgrade, and it turned out the problem wasn’t with my Linux set up, but with the windows driver itself. It turns out that Netgear sucks and refuses to make that card work with 64 bit operating systems that have more than 2GB ram, Windows Vista and 7 included. In other words, upgrading to 64 bit was a completely pointless endeavor on my part. Owned.

So I had to install a 32bit OS again, but decided that it was a good chance to use Fedora instead of Ubuntu. I did that (with some problems because Karmic Koala’s version of UNetBootin really sucks) and got a Fedora 13 system up and running. Finally I installed the PAE kernel – which I had learned about AFTER installing 64bit Ubuntu – and the PAE version of ndiswrapper and voila, I was using all 4gb on Fedora 13.

So far, Fedora is flawless. having 4gb means I can now run Compiz and use Expo and Scale, which I really like. I obviously can’t compare Fedora and Ubuntu performances because it would not be a fair test. Interface wise, they’re both Gnome, so I can’t say very much. The one problem is that Fedora has a stricter FOSS philosophy than Ubuntu, so I had to install some third party repos for the non-free stuff…. like ndiswrapper. Also the repos are just smaller, so in my particular case I had to compile the python soya3d library as there was no “yum install” option.

Overall, I’ll probably stick with this for a while. I’m not one for distro hopping.

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One Comment on “Now using Fedora”

  1. Newfie says:

    and then you ran away!


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