So my friend is throwing out an old IBM Celeron powered Laptop. I intercepted it before it became trash. Not much to talk about, a couple usb ports, really small harddrive, small everything, battery dead, etc.

It did have a PCMCIA network card. First I loaded Damn Small Linux, and it all worked fine. I connected to the internet, did a little research on Newegg, and ordered a linux compatible Edimax PCMCIA wireless card for $19 bucks. DSL however, wouldn’t recognize the card. I found myself in NDISWrapper hell. I did have linux drivers, but they wouldn’t compile, and this is documented in multiple discussion forums.

I decided to try loading several distros, to see if any of them would recognize the card. I loaded PCLINUX, which looked great, but no see card. I tried SLITAZ, same result. I tried Ubuntu, etc etc. No luck. Then I tried Freespire. Finally, success. Freespire took about 30 minutes to install, and it was painless. It immediately recognized the PCMCIA Card. I setup wireless networking, with WEP (WPA is still flaky in this distro) and then installed the network printer. I now have the laptop downstairs in the “man cave” for access to the internet, etc. If I wasn’t so cheap, I’d buy a battery of Ebay for $50 bucks. Or I may hack it myself. It’s a Nickel Metal hydride battery, pretty easy to replace. Maybe Someday…