Minimalist Linux Distro - Networking

Once I got Damn Small Linux installed to my laptop I needed to get the network working.  I decided to use the DWL-650 wireless adapter that I was using for another laptop since it was readily available and it was listed as one of the adapters that worked with DSL “out of the box”.  So, I plugged it in and guess what?  It didn’t work.  Oh Joy!

So I start digging and found out all kinds of things about Linux and PCMCIA that I didn’t know before.  The first thing I learned was that there is a utility (cardctl) that can be used to show you what PCMCIA cards are plugged in.  DSL also has a GUI version of this utility.  So I did a cardctl status and it showed me that there was indeed a card in slot 0.  Then I did a cardctl info 0 and it failed to report all of the manufacturer and card type information like it was supposed to.  What the heck??? No wonder it doesn’t work.  Much more digging and I find out that the DWL-650 requires a 32-bit PCMCIA slot and my laptop is so old it only has 16-bit.  Nuts!!!

Since the DWL-650 doesn’t work it is on to plan B.  The laptop came with a 10MB wired ethernet card.  The thing is an antique.  I figured that there is no way this thing will work, but what the heck.  So I plugged it and presto, all of a sudden I have a network.  A few minutes with the network configuration utility in the DSL control panel to set the IP address and what have you and I am up and running on my local network and my internet connection.

Once I got a working network card the whole network setup took no more than 10 minutes from start to finish.  Sweet!

I still want a wireless network card for this thing so I ordered an old Netgear MA401 from E-Bay.  Looks like another pos will be necessary once the card shows up and I figure out how to make it work.  Stay tuned.

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