Get wireless networking working in Fedora 9

Q I'm a complete newbie to Linux, and have recently installed Fedora 9. I've been looking forward to getting started, but now find myself getting a bit stuck. I can't figure out how to get my wireless network running. I gather that only a handful of adaptors will work, chipsets vary, and even when you find one that supports Linux, driver installation seems to be quite an involved procedure using code. (My adaptor's a Netgear WG111v2 USB stick, but I'd like to use a PCI card.)

I'm terrified by the amount of code, and the languages that seem to be required to use Linux effectively. I just can't understand what's written most of the time, and I'm far from computer illiterate. How do you get a wireless network adaptor to work with Fedora 9? Second, and I guess most importantly, can you suggest any resources/books that could lower me into the Linux pond gently? I want to escape Windows, but find myself almost creeping back to the familiar environs of XP because Linux, with its heavy jargon, myriad variants and bizarre-looking code looks so inaccessible. I'm raring to get stuck in, and would love to learn as much as I can, but don't quite know where to begin; any suggestions would be gratefully received.

A Wireless chipsets can be a problem, and the situation is worsened by manufacturers changing the chipset in a product without changing the model name or number. Almost all wireless chipsets are supported in one way or another nowadays, although the effort required varies from one to the next. As you plan to buy a new PCI card anyway, I would suggest you buy it from Linux Emporium (www.linuxemporium.co.uk), which provide hardware that is known to work with Linux and can will give support for most distros. It also provides Linux drivers for those distros that don't have support built in (usually older distros, as wireless support in Linux has improved a lot recently).

You don't need to know any programming languages to use Linux, but a willingness to type commands in a shell from time to time does help. The various distros have gone a long way towards providing system tools that avoid the need for the command line, but sometimes it's quicker and easier, and not as scary as it first seems. Linux's jargon is not so much heavy as unfamiliar - try explaining Windows to someone who has never used it before. There are plenty of resources for Linux users old and new. Man pages are documents for the various commands, which you access by typing man commandname in a shell or, if you use the KDE desktop, press Alt+F2 and type man:commandname to open an HTML version of the man page in the web browser.

There are various online resources you can use such as Rute (http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz), which provides a useful introduction to working with Linux, and the Linux Documentation Project (http://tldp.org), which contains a collections of HOWTO guides, FAQs, man pages and some longer guides, such as 'Introduction to Linux - A Hands-on Guide'. If you prefer a proper book, there are plenty of introductory works for the various distros, with Fedora options including Beginning Fedora from Apress and Fedora Unleashed, co-written by our esteemed editor (both of these are available from Amazon - other book retailers are available). It's also worth revisiting previous issues as your knowledge increases. Articles that went right over your head a few months earlier will give you useful information after just a few months of learning.

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