Linux rocks!

I own two laptops. One is connected to a widescreen TV via the VGA-out connection on the back, and the other is my personal machine that I do all of my work on. Both have wireless cards. I use wireless for the TV laptop because I’m too lazy to pull cable, and I use wireless for my personal laptop because, well, it’s better than being tethered to an Ethernet cable at my desk.

Both cards, however, have Broadcom chipsets. For those of you cringing at the sound of “broadcom,” I feel your pain. Up until recently, the bcm43xx-series of chipsets were impossible to use under Linux. Then the fabulous bcm43xx drivers were released, and now Fedora incorporates the b43 driver into their standard kernel (All of my machines run Fedora, too).

The end result? Linux just works. I know that many have seen the “Mac vs. PC” adverts on TV, but they just have nothing on Linux. I went out and bought a Linksys WPC54G notebook card today, so I wouldn’t have to pull the card out of my TV laptop whenever I felt like going wireless. I pulled the card out of the box, unwrapped the anti-static cover, and plugged it into my laptop. Ten seconds later, I received GNOME’s wonderful “You are now connected to wireless network..” message. Ah, the sweet sound of something working properly.

On Gentoo, though, I think it was more fun to use Linux. I was like an adventurer going into the jungle, not sure of what obstacles lay ahead. I had to compile my own kernels, build software from source, and (gasp) select my packages’ features. It was sweet control-freak bliss.

On Fedora, I think that my Linux experience is closer to the “Macs just work” theory. I do some simple shell commands to extract the firmware from the Broadcom drivers, and then I can use any Broadcom-based wireless card. Simple.

Linux just works.

~alex

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