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Saturday, December 24th, 2005

The HWP54G/FC4 Saga – One Last Thing

I wrote that I had additional problems installing the Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI card after a clean Fedora Core 4 install that were not covered in my detailed description of how I got the wireless card working. I promised a write-up, and it’s time to wrap things up.

If you’re an experienced Linux user, what I found and how I fixed it is going to seem elementary, but I’ve focused on explaining this stuff to new users like me. Basically, even though I followed the first part of Mauriat Miranda’s guide to FC4 installation and package selection, I didn’t read the entire document, and therefore didn’t get down to the end where it says “Fedora no longer ships with the kernel-source RPM. You must install it separately.” So when I tried to make the driver, I got this:

[greg@localhost module]$ make
make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4/build: No such file or directory. Stop .
rt2500.ko failed to build!
make: *** [module] Error 1
[greg@localhost module]$

I was scratching my head, trying to figure out how I could have possibly installed FC4 without the capability of running the make command, but as it turns out,

If you need to install a driver (Nvidia, ndiswrapper, Cisco VPN, etc.) that requires kernel sources [emphasis mine], it may be sufficient to install just the kernel headers package (kernel-devel RPM). This can be found on CD4, the DVD or online. If you have updated your kernel (using yum or up2date), then use yum to install the package (‘yum install kernel-devel’). Make sure to match your current kernel version (read below for the ‘uname’ command).

Once again, stymied because I hadn’t read the instructions in their entirety. Actually, I didn’t solve my problem by reading this document – I’m just finding it now as I check my sources for the write-up. I solved the problem by popping in the FC4 DVD, logging in as root, and typing:

[root@localhost /]# rpm kernel-devel-2.6.11-1.1369_FC4.i686.rpm

After I installed this package, I logged back in as me, went to the /Module directory, and tried make again. Here’s my output:

[greg@localhost ~]$ cd /etc/rt2500/module
[greg@localhost module]$ make
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/kernels/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4-i686'
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_main.o
/etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_main.c: In function ‘rt2500_resume’:
/etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_main.c:844: warning: ignoring return value of ‘pci_enabl e_device’, declared with attribute warn_unused_result
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/mlme.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/connect.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/sync.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/assoc.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/auth.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/auth_rsp.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_data.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_init.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/sanity.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_wep.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/wpa.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/md5.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_tkip.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rtmp_info.o
CC [M] /etc/rt2500/module/eeprom.o
LD [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rt2500.o
Building modules, stage 2.
CC /etc/rt2500/module/rt2500.mod.o
LD [M] /etc/rt2500/module/rt2500.ko
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/kernels/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4-i686'
[greg@localhost module]$

You might notice that I changed the directory name from “Module” to “module” – I hate hitting the SHIFT key in the command line! May as well show you what happened next, when I make install-fedora:

[greg@localhost module]$ su -
[root@localhost ~]# cd /etc/rt2500/module
[root@localhost module]# make install-fedora
if ! [ -f rt2500.ko ]; then \
module; \
install 'rt2500.ko' to /lib/modules/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4/extra
install -m 755 -o 0 -g 0 -d /lib/modules/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4/extra
install -m 644 -o 0 -g 0 rt2500.ko /lib/modules/2.6.11-1.1369_FC4/extra
/sbin/depmod -a
append 'alias wlan0 rt2500' to /etc/modprobe.conf
[root@localhost module]#

And that’s it! You can go back to my detailed description for my tips on using the system-config-network utility. Note that if you’re not using Fedora, you may also need to build the configuration utility that comes with the drivers. Also, if you upgrade your kernel later on, you will have to make and make install-fedora again, so make sure you include the new kernel-devel package.

Well, I feel like I’ve described in explicit detail how I got my wireless card working in Fedora Core 4. I really need to go and finish the job in SuSE 10 as well, but tweaking my FC4 is keeping me pretty busy, and the closer I get everything to the way I want it, the less incentive I have to do it all over again in SuSE. But if I want to write a real howto, I need the experience. Still, right now there’s lots of other things to do that I found in the installation guide, so I’m off to do those!

Posted by Greg as Hardware & Drivers, Networking, OS at 03:49 PST


Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

HWP54G FC4 Linux Install Success!

How I got my Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI card working with Fedora Core 4 Linux, and links to drivers, instructions, a chipset forum and a Fedora forum, so that you can do it too. The drivers and chipset forum should help even if you are using a different version of Linux.

Ok, so I just recently announced that I would be using the above blurb as an intro to any post covering this topic, but I might not be needing it much longer, because I got it working! I’m going to try and cover in this post the important points that I learned along the way.

First off, my Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI network interface card uses the Ralink RT2500 chipset. (All the links in my opening blurb are for the RT2500.) The chipset, not the manufacturer or model of your card, is the important factor in finding and installing the right drivers for your NIC with Linux. I’ve seen reports that this model card may use the Prism54 or TI acx111 chipsets. If you don’t know your card’s chipset, try the following:

If it turns out you have the Prism54 chipset, go to the Prism54 Project for Linux drivers. For the acx111, I found an excellent howto at House of Craig, and drivers are at the ACX100 SourceForge Project.

On to my experience with the RT2500. Right away I should say that the rt2x00 drivers are NOT compatible with the smp kernel. Now, I’m a Linux noob, so I found the Unofficial Fedora FAQ a great place to get help on the basics. I also made a significant mistake when I installed Fedora Core 4 – I didn’t include the Kernel Sources and the Development Tools packages. I couldn’t even make the driver. There’s a forum string that covers this topic at the rt2x00 project, but take my word for it – it’s easier to reinstall Fedora than to try loading the missing rpm’s and building the symbolic links required. I found a good guide to FC4 installation and package selection by Mauriat Miranda that I’m going to use to start over myself (more later.)

All right. We’ve made sure we have all the packages installed with Fedora that we need, and we’ve downloaded and uncompressed the rt2500 driver. Go to the /Module directory and open up Readme with a text editor. If you’re working in command line, then “gedit readme“. Ignore everything and go down to the end where it says “INFORMATION FOR FEDORA CORE 3 USERS (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!)”. It says FC3, but it works with FC4 as well. With Fedora, we’re not going to build the configuration utility (so you don’t need qt or qmake) and we’re most definitely not going to put in the configuration file RT2500STA.dat – doing so can mess everything up. There. I just saved you a bunch of time and headaches, so feel free to buy me a beer. As for other distros, you’re going to have to follow the readme. If you need qt, let me save you some time hunting around the Trolltech site and give you the link to the qt open source edition download, because they do their best to hide it.

To summarize my linked sources, in a terminal window:

I left out all the fancy $ and # prompt stuff that confused me before. If you get an error during the make or make install-fedora, well I’m sorry, but it’s off to the forums with you. I’ve already given instructions on how to avoid all the stuff that tripped me up, and avoiding is way better than troubleshooting.

Now we use the system-config-network utility, which you find by going to Desktop > System Settings > Network, or typing “system-config-network” as root. If your make and make install-fedora worked, you should see an entry for wlan0 that includes “Ralink rt2500” in the description on the Hardware tab. Double-click on the wlan0 line to open up the properties for that device.

Fedora system-config-network utility

Here is where you enter in all the details for connecting to your wireless network. You need to know your ESSID, the channel you use, whether you use DHCP or your ip address and your access point and dns server ip’s if you don’t; your WEP key if you use it (I do) and your WPA info (which I don’t know anything about because not all of my NICs are WPA capable yet- but I’m working on it.) If you don’t know this basic information about your wireless network, you need to learn all about it, because chances are you’re not taking the steps you need to secure your wireless network from interlopers and eavesdroppers. If you know what I’m talking about, just don’t have the details, then use Windows or your router configuration to get the information. And be sure – here’s what tripped me up until this morning – to put “0x” in front of your WEP key to identify the string as hexadecimal.

That last one had me really stumped. I was not only using the Fedora system-config-network tool, I went to the commandline and used iwconfig to manually enter the parameters and ifconfig to try to get the device “up” (both of which require you to be logged on as root to use.) I did notice than whenever I tried to activate the device using the GUI tool, iwconfig reported that the WEP key had been changed, and that the changed key was always the same, and it didn’t have any letters in it, but I didn’t put two and two together. I also noticed that iwconfig reported my access point’s MAC address correctly and a signal strength, so I figured I was talking to my WAP (I keep a cheat sheet next to my computer of all my network MACs, ip addresses and other goodies.) After I got it all straight, I activated the wlan0 device, opened Firefox, typed in the ip of my access point, and presto! I was in the configuration menu, and I was online!

At this point, I have to give a shout out to Mark Wallace (serialmonkey) and Ivo van Doorn (IvD) of the rt2x00 SourceForge project and to bitrain at for their most useful information, especially Mark, with whom I corresponded, and who gave me encouragement.

If you found this information useful, please add a comment to this post; and if you know something else – information or a good link that I can add, contact me. I’ll make up a more complete howto later.

P.S. I think I made such a mess of my FC4 installation that I’m going to reinstall it and start over. The thing that is pushing me to this is that I tried updating over the internet and it froze during the rpm install. At least it will give me an oppurtunity to follow my own advice, and possibly spot any errors!

Posted by Greg as Hardware & Drivers, Networking, OS at 05:47 PST


Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Giving Help with Linux

How I got my Hawking HWP54G PCI wireless card working with Linux, and links to drivers, instructions and forums so that you can do it too.

If you came here through a search engine link, you should try my updated post for more details and tons of links.

(This, I guess, is going to be my standard intro whenever I discuss this topic.)

On the lighter side, yesterday I was contacted directly by someone who was trying to get his Hawking HWP54G PCI wireless card working with Linux, in this case Slackware 10.1. It’s the first time anyone other than a friend has asked me for advice about Linux, and I feel like I’ve now been inducted into the Linux community at large. It’s especially interesting that this user contacted me from Italia. With David’s permission, I have posted the entire email exchange.

I’m assuming David found me through a search engine. Like I’ve said before, search engine hits involving some permutation of “linux” “hawking” “hwp54g” and distro names are the biggest source of traffic to my website. (Well, except for a couple of weeks earlier this month, when my post on made my Cancer Survivor post the number one entry point outside of feeds and bot crawls.) I checked my logs and in the last two days I got two redirects from using the terms “driver fedora ralink” and eleven from that included “hwp54g”. So I ran the search myself and saw that I was ranked number 9 out of 9,260 hits, and on I’m 16th out of 11,900 for “hwp54g” and 6 out of 554 for “hwp54g linux”. Pretty cool! It’s amazing how much higher I appear in the Google search results since my site went from a RageRank of 2 to a 3, something I didn’t discover until a friend looked for my blog and told me that I was the number one result for “greg perry san diego”, out of 1,790,000! That was November 1st, and I hadn’t bothered to check my PageRank for three months. I’ve been meaning to crow about this since then, which shows how busy I’ve been.

Posted by Greg as Hardware & Drivers, My Website, Networking, OS at 21:15 PST

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Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

So Much to Say…

Guess I have to wrap up the last story first…

I came home from an evening out with Web Mayfield (more later) and the baby was asleep, so I had a little time on my hands. I decided to tackle the computer problems (especially since my wife had called me about six times at work today trying to get to her email.) The old computer, designated Chelsea’s, was not running Windows – it rebooted every time you tried to select a user, and the new one I built was not detecting my wireless access point. On Saturday it had detected all the local access points except mine – providing the temptation to hitch a ride on one of the unsecured ones. What was really infuriating was that when I elected to let Windows manage my network connections instead of the native Hawking (Ralink 2500) utility, I could see my access point in the Hawking util (which now had connect functions disabled), but couldn’t see it in the Windows wireless network scans. Then on Sunday it couldn’t detect any.

It troubled me to have to deal with two major failures at once, and distracted my thinking, but it was what it was. I had tried Windows System Restore on Chelsea’s, tried booting in safe mode, tried booting a CD-mounted Linux [SuSE 9.1 – my Knoppixes (Knoppices?) were at work] and it became clear that I had a major malfunction in one of Window’s core files. I must have run chkdsk half a dozen times, but no joy. At least I could access the hard drive for file salvage, though. What really had me consternated was the new computer. I had tried replacing the antenna and moving the extended one around a lot, but the only difference I noted was when I picked up fewer access points. Except that now I wasn’t getting any.

Which brings me to now. I pulled out the WinXP CD-ROM and tried booting to it on Chelsea’s computer, but that just gave me the same System Restore Console that had proved worthless before. I booted to various safe modes. Finally, I scheduled a chkdsk with “automatically fix file system errors” and “scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” in Safe Mode and rebooted. This ran another chkdsk with a little more feedback than in DOS mode, and it sure was taking a long time.

So I booted up the laptop that had given Raquel so much trouble earlier today and found a lot of disconnects while trying to check all the router settings remotely. What the hell! It had worked fine this weekend!

So I went upstairs to the roommate’s room and booted his computer with the hard wire connection, only to find the laptop had the router admin screen reserved. I had considered rebooting the router, and now was the time to do it. Actually, I rebooted it a couple of times because I was trying to remember the router/VoIP boot sequence ( I had to reboot the VoIP box with the router – I use Vonage, by the way, and am very happy with it.) I considered turning off the WEP, as that has helped me reconnect to the access point in the past, but that was only when I had been cruising my neighbors’ networks and had had trouble reconnecting to my own WEP-enabled one – and I had never lost sight of my own access point. It just didn’t feel right, so I left it alone.

The upstairs phone worked, so I had somehow managed to reestablish the VoIP connection, and I went downstairs. I logged off all the users and rebooted the new computer. By now I was feeling the pressure from Raquel of having spent a lot of time on computers with no results to show for it – she seems to think I can just wave my hand and fix anything – and was getting tense. In a cascade of wonder, however, everything came together. The rebooted new computer connected to the Internet! Chelsea’s computer was done with the chkdsk, rebooted, and it seemed to be stable now – I could log on! I couldn’t detect my WAP, but who cares right now! (Actually, it’s an ominous sign.)

So now I have a connection restored and am able to recount the experience tonight, instead of wasting most of my morning at work tomorrow trying to record it. I still don’t know for sure what I did, but I have a new repertoire to try next time something like this happens. Time to wrap up this post and start a new one.

Posted by Greg as Networking, OS at 00:33 PST

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