Christmas hols part 10

You can always tell when I’ve recovered from the rigors of work on my holidays in Cornwall as I start getting the energy to tinker with computers again.

Today I spent time finding out that the new QuickCams are better supported by a different driver because Logitech are using cheaper (and poorer quality) chips in thier devices. Still, it does mean that I got the webcam working under Linux and the webcam’s microphone working for only Skype under Linux but no other application. (Though as Skype for Linux doesn’t support video the rest of the camera isn’t much use for that application.)

After this partial success I turned to finding a suitable source for an updated (and not crackable) version of the Broadcom WiFi driver for Windows XP for my Acer laptop. Broadcom do not release the reference drivers for their devices, even to Microsoft, and rely upon the OEMs to release them. Some manufacturers, such as Dell and HP/Compaq, are prudent and update drivers for their old systems. Acer, amongst many others, don’t, which puts their customers at risk of security vulnerabilities. This is a horrible way to treat your customers.

There is a similar problem with ATI not supplying generic, reference drivers which will install on laptops and relying upon the OEMs to update them, who, of course, fail to, leaving the customers not being able to run certain software. (Unless they use a special hack with the non-laptop version of the drivers as the problem is merely with the installer refusing to install on anything but hardware blessed by ATI.)

Anyway, after finding an article describing how to use the driver from a Linksys PCMCIA card I got it upgraded under Windows. I then tried the same driver under Linux with ndiswrapper with no success. So I searched for a better source and Googled for the HP/Compaq driver and finally found it. Still, ndiswrapper won’t load it so Linux is stuck with the old (and broken) driver for the time being. However, seeing as the HP/Compaq driver *IS* the reference Broadcom one I uninstalled the hacked up Linksys one and installed the proper Broadcom one.

This evening I watched “Mrs Henderson Presents…” which passed the time.

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