Yet another laptop…

I remember that just before Naomi was born, Irina and I said to each other “we’d better buy that hardware now, after the kid is born we won’t be able to afford new computers anymore”, so we bought a Psion series 3 for her and a Compaq Aero notebook for me. Little did we know….

So, when Irina’s Toshiba laptop broke down a couple of weeks ago, she could make do with the C20 vintage Gateway Solo laptop that used to be my work computer, until that one broke too. Enter a spanking new Lenovo Thinkpad R61e… Irina decided to run OpenSUSE 11 on it, although we had a recent Kubuntu as a fallback option.

Pretty much everyone seems to work out of the box: sound, suspend/resume, graphics, mouse, usb… But not the wifi. When I ordered the laptop, the specs said it contained an Intel wifi chip, but it’s got an Atheros AR5212 a/b/g wifi adapter and I cannot manage to get it to work. OpenSUSE loads the athk5_pic driver by default, but for some reason that doesn’t work (dmesg says “probe faild with error -5”). I’ve tried getting it to run with madwifi, but failed, and I’ve tried ndiswrapper, and failed, too. It doesn’t work under Kubuntu 8.04 either…

It does work under Kubuntu 7.10 — and I suspect that OpenSUSE 10.3 also works. It isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this kind of regressions when upgrading: Naomi’s very old Dell 5150 laptop has always worked perfectly. But an upgrade to Kubuntu 7.10 killed her sound.