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Live CD allowed internet WiFi adapter without install else

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#1 cafejose


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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:04 AM

I use a usb WiFi adapter and had installed the software for it a long time ago, for WINDOWS on a laptop computer. The software naturally came with the adapter, on a compact disc.

Today I tried a Live CD of Slacko 5.3.3 (Puppy Linux), and was able to use their included wizard to establish a wireless internet connection, and visit about three websites. I did NOT install anything. I did NOT install new software for the wireless adapter today, and I only used the live CD of Slacko 5.3.3.

What I do not understand is, how would the Slacko Puppy Linux developers know which hardware (Basic Belkin USB Wireless Adapter, in my case) any user would have on their computer, since the live CD makes no use of Windows, which is the O.S. installed on the hard drive, which the live CD does NOT need to use?

(In any case, a bit of a thrill).

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#2 stiltskin


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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:03 AM

The same thing could happen on Windows if Windows was less.....er.......less dumb.

It isn't that linux developers know what hardware you're going to use. It's that linux developers build the drivers in for most hardware. They do it mostly without the help of the manufacturers. But when manufacturers use standards, the rest is made easier. Some manufacturers help, many don't.

Note that I said most hardware. Some proprietary stuff is difficult to make work. Some newer hardware may have proprietary bits that linux developers haven't figured out yet. But most hardware should work out of the box.

Also, not all distributions will have the same drivers available as default. I have a Belkin USB wireless fob, too. I forget what distribution it was now (Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Mint, Pinguy, Debian, PCLinuxOS, Sidux, Kanotix), but I couldn't get it to work until I connected to the internet wired and downloaded some more stuff. Not good if wireless is your only connection and you have that fob. The same hardware worked just fine out of the box on several others.

The point is, the distribution maker determines what goes in the distribution. Just because your hardware works on one without any more effort doesn't guarantee it will work on another so easily. But it's usually the case that it will.

#3 DarkSnake-Kobra


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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:24 PM

Every kernel release introduces new fixes and enhancements so it's likely that your driver was included in the kernel at some point. I found that my Dell XPS wouldn't work with any Linux version until around April of this year(I got it late last year) by trying the beta releases of Ubuntu and more recently Fedora. The way live cd's work is that they use the hardware without installing or leaving a single trace that it was run as it's all done from memory. An operating system doesn't need to be installed to use the network card etc as it's all done from reading the manufactures BIOS.

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