Bubble Pattern by darrenhester at Morguefile.com

Ubuntu Wi-Fi Haters

Ubuntu 11.10 is the latest version of that Linux based operating system to adorn my Dell Mini 9.  We started with 8.04 and have been through fits and twists sometimes to get drivers working, etc. but it is now as reliable and more enjoyable an operating system to work in than my Windows 7 environment.  Both are on the Dell Mini, so I can dual boot into either.  Twice now I have had to boot into Windows 7 in order to get onto wireless.  Not because Ubuntu’s wireless isn’t working, but because it could not complete the connection properly.

I first ran into this at the Toronto Public Library, where they use a local provider to enable wireless and they have a terms and conditions page.  Ubuntu will find the wireless network but this Web page requiring your acknowledgement will not be sent to an Ubuntu machine.  If I reboot and connect on Windows, no problem.  A call to the service provider confirmed that Linux wasn’t supported.

A conference I attended recently had the same issue.  In this case, Ubuntu saw the network but, when it connected, it prompted for a password.  Problem was, this was not a secured network.  This was confirmed when, rebooting into Windows 7, the connection was immediately picked up and completed.

This may be a setting I can change in Ubuntu to have it treat some networks in a particular way but I was surprised to find that there were instances that one operating system couldn’t connect to wireless.  This is especially true when both of these wireless networks were intended for broad general use.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.