Ubuntu Dapper on a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo 7400 laptop

My friend recently asked me to reinstall his Amilo 7400 laptop as it was covered in spyware. So I thought I would take the opportunity to convert him to Linux by installing Ubuntu. At the time, Breezy Badger was the latest release, and after hours of fiddling trying to get his centrino wireless interface to work, I decided that the process of connecting to wireless networks was just too complicated on Linux for a novice user, and so I gave up.

A couple of months passed and when Dapper Drake was released, I heard that there was now a graphical network manager for gnome that could handle wpa encrypted wireless networks, so I thought I would give it another shot.

All I can say is, what an improvement! I still had to do a bit of fiddling to get the software switch for the wireless card to come on automatically, but I’m now confident that he will be able to use the gnome network manager to connect to wireless networks easily.

Here’s the steps I took to get it all working: First, to get the software wireless radio switch to come on, you need to load a kernel module:

 modprobe fsam7400 radio=1

Once this is loaded, you can test it works by running a wireless network scan

 iwlist scan

To get the kernel module loading on start up you need to add it to /etc/modules

 vim /etc/modules
 fsam7400 radio=1

You then need to install the gnome-network-manager package.

 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome

And that’s basically it! I then proceeded to add other useful applications (thunberbird, realplayer, amsn etc..) using Automatix which installs everything for you.

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