[Editor's note: Linux users are currently migrating from kernel series 2.2 to 2.4. Linux 2.4 includes vastly improved USB support. Most distributions and users have not yet made the switch, but will during the next several months. The steps below were written for kernel 2.2.8. See the links in the References section below (especially the Linux-USB Guide), for the latest information on getting USB to work with Linux.
Also, the 2.4 kernel includes PCMCIA support, so try that first. Those drivers don't work for everyone; if you're one of the unlucky few, get the pcmcia-cs package.
The problem with my laptop was the fact it was using pcmcia devices. I found out later that I had to download pcmcia-cs and install it after I installed the new kernel 2.2.18.
Getting USB to work on my laptop meant I had to do several things,
## change to the src directory for the linux kernel ## for xconfig, I selected the usb options and VESA VGA graphics console ## under console drivers for my laptop make xconfig make clean make dep make bzImage make install make modules make modules_installHere are the steps I used to install pcmcia-cs.
tar -zxvf pcmcia-cs-3.1.23.tar.gz ### Make sure you specify the root directory for the new kernel ### mine was /usr/src/linux-2.2.18/linux ### I didn't change the other default options. make config make all ### This puts the modules under /lib/modules/2.2.18 make install
### Configuration for GNUJobs.com test laptop vga=791 boot=/dev/hda map=/boot/map install=/boot/boot.b prompt timeout=50 default=linux image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.2.12-32 label=linux initrd=/boot/initrd-2.2.12-32.img read-only append="hdc=ide-scsi" # ramdisk_size=40000 root=/dev/hda5New lilo.conf configuration.
### Configuration for GNUJobs.com test laptop ### New kernel installed. Remember to install console drivers ### into new kernels otherwise vga=791 doesn't work. vga=791 #vga=ask boot=/dev/hda map=/boot/map install=/boot/boot.b prompt timeout=50 default=linux_new image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.2.18 label=linux_new read-only append="hdc=ide-scsi" ### /dev/hda5 is root for GNUJobs.com laptop root=/dev/hda5 image=/boot/vmlinuz-2.2.12-32 label=linux initrd=/boot/initrd-2.2.12-32.img read-only append="hdc=ide-scsi" ### /dev/hda5 is root for GNUJobs.com laptop root=/dev/hda5
### This command mounts the filesystem for usb to /proc/bus/usb. mount -t usbdevfs none /proc/bus/usb ### Load a generic usb module -- choose one of these three depending on your ### motherboard or USB card. I have been able to use ### uhci or usb-uhci on all my motherboards so far. If you aren't sure ### which module to use, see "Basic USB Configuration" in the Linux-USB Guide ### at http://www.linux-usb.org/USB-guide/c122.html#AEN124 insmod /lib/modules/2.2.18/usb/uhci.o # insmod /lib/modules/2.2.18/usb/usb-uhci.o # insmod /lib/modules/2.2.18/usb/usb-ohci.o ### Load the module for modems, like Ricochet insmod /lib/modules/2.2.18/usb/acm.o
mkdir /dev/usb mknod /dev/usb/ttyACM0 c 166 0
Again, I changed my modem from using /dev/ttyS0 to /dev/usb/ttyACM0. Now my Ricochet modem is working, and it seems like it is going faster than the serial modem, like it should be, but it could be my imagination. Note that these two commands are permanent: you only need to run them once. Also, this is /dev/usb, not /proc/bus/usb (explained in the Linux-USB Guide). Kernel files magically appear and disappear in /proc/bus/usb as devices are plugged in and unplugged, but that's not what this file is. USB Ricochet modems require a /dev entry; some other USB devices don't. The usbdevfs manages /proc/bus/usb, not /dev/usb.
I bought another laptop for one of my employees at GNUJobs.com from Emperor Linux, and it was properly configured, and I grilled the salesperson to make sure I got everything working without any problems. I am much happier with the laptop I got from Emperor Linux.
Another goofy thing I did was I forgot to install the iso9660 format into the kernel (or as a module). Now I can't read cdroms. I will have to compile the kernel one more time and specify to include the iso9660 filesystem format as a module.
Overall, I am impressed with the fact that is was pretty painless to install the new kernel. Installing one kernel didn't blow away earlier kernels, which made it so I could test out the new kernel without getting rid of the old one. This is helpful if I want to revert back to the old kernel. For example, before I installed pcmcia-cs for the new kernel, my laptop's ethernet card didn't work, and hence, it was helpful that I could boot to the old kernel where the ethernet card would still work. Had this happened in a lame operating system which just forces upgrades and wouldn't let you choose how to control your system, I might have been screwed.
Even though the installation was fairly easy for me, it might be easier for other people to just use rpms and to rely on their favorite Linux distribution to help them out. This is the easiest installation of the kernel and pcmcia drivers for a laptop that I have ever experienced. It is nice to see the installation getting easier and easier. After years of having to fight with the kernel for one reason or another, it is nice to see all these technologies come together.
I don't see how the evil empire will be able to resist its downfall considering the fact that GNU/Linux (and OpenBSD and FreeBSD) are technologically superior and are providing user friendliness with GNOME and KDE. The evil empire has never cared about technology, but marketing and user-friendliness. Some of the evil commercial UNIX vendors only cared about technology and did not care about making their environment pleasant to use or user-friendly. Since GNU/Linux is merging technology with user-friendliness, which is the way people want it, we get the best of both worlds, instead of having evil empires dictate to us what they think is best (or how to control us so that they can milk us).
2000-July-12 For USB help other than the readme files that are located in linux/Documentation/usb/*, see the following: Linux-USB project: http://www.linux-usb.org mirrors at http://www.suse.cz/development/linux-usb/ and http://usb.in.tum.de/linux-usb/ Linux USB Guide: http://www.linux-usb.org/USB-guide/book1.html READ THIS! (or other Linux-USB mirrors) Linux-USB device overview (working devices and drivers): http://www.qbik.ch/usb/devices/ The Linux-USB mailing lists are: firstname.lastname@example.org for general user help email@example.com for developer discussions