Eager to test the ‘insecurities’ of 802.11 WEP encryption, I went looking for tools which would allow me to do this ‘WEP cracking’. I came across two possible distributions, namely Whax and Auditor. I decided to try Auditor Live CD, which allowed me to boot into Linux straight from CD without touching anything else.
And that is how I came to try Linux, in Auditor/Knoppix (And yes, I did manage to EASILY crack my WEP using Kismet, aireplay and aircrack). A nice KDE interface, tons of built in packages and applications, and – It was not windows!
The idea of changing to Linux had been toying around in my mind for some already, and so after my first Linux experience I decided to give it a go. So I resized my NTFS partition, and got Mandrake 10.1 installed. There were some (mouse) compatibility issues, so Mandrake had to go.
After some thinking, I decided to try out Fedora Core 4 instead. After getting my new 80GB hard disk and partitioning it, I installed a dual-boot WinXP (because I still use my PocketPC) and Fedora Core 4 using the GRUB boot loader.
Guess what? My wireless card (IPW2100) wasn’t supported, no sound was coming from my speakers, no WPA-PSK support, and some other minor issues.
Basically, I reinstalled Fedora numerous times, managed to get my IPW2100 driver working (ipw2100.sf.net), managed to get my sound working (I tried installing a later version of ALSA but then found out that it was a simple solution – tick the button for “External Amplifier”), but as far as WPA goes, no success so far.
When installing packages, tons of dependencies were needed, so I had to hunt for those, and sometimes those dependencies needed their own dependencies, sometimes the versions would not match and therefore would not install. After a headache, most of the packages that I’ll be using have been installed. Good thing there’s “yum update” though.
I also managed to have read-write support for my NTFS partitions, using Microsoft’s NTFS API.
I’ve spent more than 50 hours trying to get the essentials for Linux working, and still WPA support is not there. The nice thing about Linux is that it comes with lots of packages (at least for Fedora) such as OpenOffice, Web Browsers, Graphing Calculators, Alarms, Games, Email readers, Programming utilities, Star gazing, Periodic table, etc etc. Much more than when you install Windows.
I don’t blame linux for all these incompatibilities… The hardware manufacturers don’t always write drivers for linux (mostly only for WinXP), and they don’t release technical data to those who are willing to do the driver writing.
Linux is amazing, has loads of potential, LOADS of stuff which I have yet to discover (as a Linux-newbie). Just needs some (meaning quite a lot) of patience and enough computer knowledge. Too bad that’s the way things go with most open source. It’s not their fault, just that people can’t make money from it, so why write for it?
My /dev/hands need an upgrade.