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Zenwalk 6.2 and Micronet SP906/8gk PCI Cards

Recently I decided to purchase a cheap PCI Wireless Card as I wanted to experiment with some homemade antennas. I had a quick look around Maplin (Electronics Store here in the UK) and decided to purchase a Micronet SP906/8gk unit. It was an impulse purchase and I had no idea if it was even supported by Linux.

I had put aside a workstation for the purpose of using Zenwalk 6.2 and this wireless card. After installing the card I proceeded to install Zenwalk 6.2 in the usual manner. Installation went without fault until I rebooted the machine. I found Zenwalk would lockup during startup seemingly just after loading the keyboard driver!!

I removed the PCI Card and (what a suprise) Zenwalk booted fine. I placed the card back into the machine and then tried to boot Ubuntu 9.04 from CD, same problem ubuntu lockedup before getting to the Gnome desktop.

Well I could not be bothered with another trip under my desk (There are way to many cables and it hasn’t seen a vacuum cleaner for ages) so here is how I managed to fix this issue….with the card installed:

1. Booted up with my Zenwalk 6.2 cd, when I got to the install menu I chose “EXIT” to quit the installer and give me a terminal.

2. First I needed somewhere to mount my root “/” partition, so I entered the following commands to create a mount point.
# mkdir -p /mnt/linux

3. Next I needed to mount the root partition of my hardisk installation in my newly created mount point, you will need to replace /dev/yyzz with the root partition of you harddisk installation, e.g. /dev/sda1
# mount -w /dev/yyzz /mnt/linux

4. Now I needed to “chroot” into this partition:

# chroot /mnt/linux /bin/bash

5. Now I needed to blacklist the kernel driver modules that where causing the problems when “incorrectly” applied to the Micronet Wireless Card.

# vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

I then added these lines to blacklist.conf:

blacklist rtl8180

blacklist rtl8187

Save blacklist.conf and restart.

6. You should now be able to boot Zenwalk as normal…next we need to download and install the correct Kernel Module Drivers for this card, but before you do this you will need to use xnetpkg or netpkg or your chosen package manager to get and install the kernel source package. This is important as the driver package needs this in order to make!

7. Went over to the Realtek site and downloaded the correct Linux Kernel Driver, you can find the page here.

I downloaded the package “rt73-k2wrlz-3.0.3.tar”

I then (as root) untarred the tar ball and from a terminal window cd’d to ../rt73-k2wrlz-3.0.3

I then performed..

# make

# make install

This completed without errors, I bought the interface up with:

# ifconfig wlan0 up

and then connected to my wireless network here using WICD.

I hope this information is useful to someone. If it is, or if you get stuck just leave me a message and I will try to help.

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