Linux Wireless Driver for Gateway 6750

I have consistently had problems getting the wireless driver for my Gateway M-6750 notebook working in Linux. This is because the hardware is a designed for Windows. There are no native Linux drivers for it. However, there is a nice little program called ndiswrapper. This is a program that I had known about previous to getting this computer, but had never had to use it. All my other computers had wireless cards with Linux drivers.

This is not a new problem for me. I have had this problem since I bought the computer in early 2008. But, I go through the process of having to find instructions every time I install a new OS on my computer. Therefore, I am writing down the steps here for my own benefit in the future (assuming I can remember to look at my own blog when I need to do this again).

I got this set of steps from a thread on the Ubuntu Forums. This assumes you already have the Windows driver extracted into a folder and that you are running these commands from that folder. I remember (3.5 years ago) finding the driver and extracting it, but I don’t remember any of the process that I went through to do it. If you are reading this and need help, then you will have to look elsewhere.

lspci -nn
sudo ndiswrapper -i NetMW14x.inf
sudo ndiswrapper -a 11ab:2a08 netmw14x
sudo ndiswrapper -l
sudo ndiswrapper -m
sudo depmod -a
sudo modprobe ndiswrapper

These steps do the following.

lspci -nn gives you the name of your network adapter. In my case it says (along with a pile of other output): 02:00.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Device [11ab:2a08] (rev 03). The important thing to note is the Device [11ab:2a08]. If you have a different computer than the Gateway 6750 then your output would be different. You will need to use the device id (known as the devid in ndiswrapper) for your own hardware.

The next line installs the .inf file for my driver. If you have the same computer, it will be the same thing, but you need to find the .inf file for your hardware.

The following line associates the driver with the particular hardware. This is where using the wrong devid is (apparently) potentially harmful. At least, I gather it is harmful based on the warnings I read.

The -l option gives you a list of drivers you have installed. This should only be the one you just now installed. The -m saves your configuration.

I do not know understand the depmod command, but it has something to do with preparing things for the next command—modprobe.

The final command inserts the driver module you created into your system so that it can actually be used.

For me, that was it. I was then able to look into the network manager icon in my system tray and everything worked as expected. Hopefully it works well for you. If not, I am not sure I can be much help. You can dig through the forum post where I got this information and see if you can find help for your specific issue.

That got the driver working, then I needed to modify the /etc/modules file and add the line ndiswrapper to the end of the file. That will insert the module at every boot up.

When the computer goes to sleep the ndiswrapper module breaks. It needs to be reloaded. I fixed this by creating a file called /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/0000wireless. This file contains the following:

# reload ndiswrapper to get wireless to recover properly
case "$1" in
rmmod ndiswrapper
modprobe ndiswrapper

The file needs to be made executable with a sudo chmod a+x usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/0000wireless command. It will awaken out of sleep like normal after that.

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