Pluscom WU-ZD1211B USB wireless stick not working in Linux

Q I'm trying to install OpenSUSE 10.2 on an iMac for my granddaughter. The install went well until I tried to add a Pluscom WU-ZD1211B USB wireless stick, neither the drivers that came with the stick nor from the net seem to install. When running make as root, I get lots of warnings: make [6] Error1, make [5] Error 2, leaving dir etc. In YaST hardware the stick is shown as USB2.0 Wireless/drivers: active/ modules: yes/ modprobe: zd1211rw? I've copied the firmware as the readme, and setup ssid etc in YaST advises. There are no zd1211rw drivers or ndiswrapper on SUSE 10.2 sources or spike, so I can't install with YaST! As a newbie still fighting the command line I hope you can help this is driving me mad!

A I can confirm that the zd1211 drivers work with a PPC kernel, I used them with my iBook before there were drivers for the internal wireless card. However, you do not need to install any drivers for a zd1211-based adaptor, they are included with the standard SUSE 10.2 kernel. The following two commands, run as root, should confirm the presence of the zd1211rw module.

modprobe -l | grep zd1211
modinfo zd1211rw

You can also see the files in YaST. Go into the Software Management section, find the kernel- default package and click on the Files tab. Scroll down to see the relevant modules in drivers/net/wireless. Did modprobe run with no errors? If not, you may need to ensure the firmware is installed in the correct place. Most drivers expect to find the firmware files directly in /lib/firmware, but this one expects them to be in /lib/firmware/zd1211. You can get the latest firmware from http://sourceforge.net/projects/zd1211. If the module is loading, and the network device shows up in the output from

ifconfig -a

then your problem is most likely with the wireless settings. The first thing to do is turn off encryption. Normally, you shouldn't run an unencrypted wireless connection, but encryption only gets in the way when settings things up, and until you get things working you have no connection to protect anyway. When using YaST to set up your network, try with and without Network Manager. Some setups work with Network Manager whereas others are better off with the standard configuration method. Incidentally, should you run into similar problems when compiling from source in future, the error numbers are not useful on their own, it is the accompanying text that shows the reason for the error.

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