Desire list of free source wireless dongles


#1

As I am 69, and on Social Security, as I wait until I win the Lottery to buy a Librem laptop, I thought I would test Pure Linux. My current most used laptop is an Alienware 15 R2 (2016) which apparently Pure does not have a driver for its native wireless adapter, ()Killer Wireless n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network adapter.) I see that Pure does not even allow for the installation of a driver for a non-freeware Wireless driver.

I would guess I could more easily acquire a Wireless Dongle to plug into the USB which has free software to install on Pure. Any Suggestions?

I notice that other versions of Linux OS’s claim to have protection against the Intel processors security flaws. As Pure is intended to work on a Librem which is not supposed to have that problem: Does Pure OS have the same protection against Intel Security issues? Or do the designers of Pure OS feel these protections do not work? OR Can we as users modify Pure OS with those security flaw protections?

What am I missing in my understanding of this issue? Other options?


#2

Hi Purple,

Thanks for your thoughtful post. You’re right the PureOS won’t install non-free drivers, we try and only provide Free Software to our users so that everything they run can be audited. Sometimes you can find a driver for your hardware already packaged in Debian and that should work with PureOS.

I use a use a DLink DUB-1312 dongle and have had no issues with it with PureOS. It likely has proprietary firmware onboard FWIW.

PureOS is available as an image download at https://pureos.net without the various changes to the firmware and boot process that we do in Pureboot. Because we do things like add Coreboot as a BIOS and disable Intel’s ME and allow you to disable or use the TPM, we need direct control of the hardware. You may be able to do these things as well on your laptop.


#3

Thanks for a quick answer.

Uh, I do not have at home internet. Too poor. I use wireless at various places. So I need a Wireless Dongle.

Perhaps I have miss-understood what others post about their versions of Linux Distros, the claim to have implemented a fix for Meltdown and Spectre. I would think your post indicates that I would need to dig those fixes out of Debian to add to the Pure OS I have downloaded. Yes Pure OS boots fine on this hardware, (15 inch Core I7) just no wireless.

I am not sure it would be wise to attempt to use the same Core Boot and other things you use, because of this particular hardware. I have several problems with that. Alienware has added all kinds of extra Firmware to control its light system. I have a warranty, which is voided if I am not using Windows 10. I do boot several different distros of Linux from USB drives, or even an external DVD drive. As I can not afford a replacement to this, I am leery of doing anything that might brick it.


#4

I have been using PureOS on Dell XPS since long time, it has the exact same wireless chip, you can download firmware freely available on Linux kernel git or here

You need two files board-2.bin and firmware-6.bin (rename firmware-6.bin from latest file for exp firmware-6.bin_WLAN.RM.4.4.1-00132-QCARMSWP-1) and upload these under /lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/. if the path doesn’t exists, you need to create each folder.


#5

Sorry, I misunderstood. You clearly said “wireless dongle” but I missed that.


#6

The fixes for Meltdown and Spectre are in the Linux kernel https://lwn.net/Articles/738975/

If you want to check if you’re protected on your machine you can issue this command;

sudo dmesg | grep iso

You should see;

[ 4.605032] Kernel/User page tables isolation: enabled


#7

Here’s a list of hardware that respects your freedom (RYF) that should work, there are WI-FI USB adapters as well
https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/respects-your-freedom


#8

jeremiah: thanks for your replies, you have helped in several ways.
befree: I have looked at the site you mentioned, and bookmarked it in my browser. I notice that they sell a thinkpad for use as a secure platform. I know of others who have recommended this older thinkpad for use as a secure platform, and say it is a solid piece of hardware, that does not easily break. At less than two hundred on amazon (without software) it might be an interesting project.
sgomare: I will try to install the files. I think firmware-4.bin is what is on site.
When I first tried Pure OS, it did not show a Wireless Adapter. I had looked at a group of free source software that would install, and did not see anything that looked correct. I used Mint Linux and it shows an Atheros Wireless is the more accurate name. I think I have seen before it wants an ath9 or something driver. ath10 sounds more recent. I had thought that to try the Debian repository.

What I am working up to asking is: How does the Pure OS know if a piece of software is “proprietary”? and therefore will not install? Or does it simply not use a repository that allows proprietary?

For a temporary test of using the OS, I am a bit more tolerant of security concerns. However, I think that Pure OS people are correct in not allowing Proprietary software, as it has security concerns.

Now thinking on to getting the winning lottery numbers to buy the Librem in my future musing.


#9

@purple

http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html

http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/loyal-computers.html

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html

http://www.gnu.org/software/free-software-for-education.html

https://www.fsf.org/faif/

maybe some will help but all offer something for your time


#10

The Respects Your Freedom program is a very good way to get good hardware that works with Free Software.


#11

I have now re-purposed a 17 inch Alienware (manufactured in 2016) to run Linux distros. I have installed ‘Pure Prometheus’ on it. Yes I am aware there is a later version of Pure, however it insists it will do something to the BIOS, (perhaps it is just the Intel processors Spectre, Meltdown changes.) Since an Alienware laptop has some weird stuff in its BIOS/EFI system to run, amongst others things, a bunch of lighting, I was afraid it might clash and brick the laptop. I felt it was easier to at first just get an earlier version of Pure up and going, update it, and then play a bit to decide if it might be worth the risk of bricking the laptop by installing whatever it wants.

Then I found some new problems. When I try to install Pure Prometheus, it stops and asks me to feed it from USB;
athk10k/pre-cal-pci-0000:3d:00:00.0.bin
ath10k/cal-pci-0000:3d: 00.0.bin
ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/firmware-5.bin
ath10kQCA6174/hw3.0/firmware-4.bin
ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/firmware-3.bin
ath10k/QCA6174/hw3.0/firmware-2.bin

I did get the first two sgomare mentioned in his post onto the USB key, install pretended it did not have what it wanted. I should say, I had some interesting experiences. One is about ‘sym links.’ Since I used personal computers in the 1990’s, I can appreciate the pure genius of space saving by extensive use of ‘sym links.’ Today I am perplexed by just doing simple copies and never doing a ‘sym link,’ I am not helped by terms like ‘soft sym link’ and 'hard sym link." “Sym Links” are a waste of my time. I have trouble looking things up at home where I do not have internet, and don’t have forever at places I do have internet.

I tried to install the two files you mentioned in ‘lib/firmware’ and of course found that I do not have permission. I pulled out what books I have and I see cmod, chown, mkdir with options. Whatever happened to a straight copy with root privileges?

In my limited browsing time, git hub seems to have more notes about upgrades than download links.

I wanted to use a Debian repository to just get the driver files that Pure said it wanted on install, perhaps earlier than the ones easily obtained now. Still the arrangement of getting into the Debian repository with Windows (McDs blocks one from getting into Linux download files, as a service to their customers. I use a VPN to get around that with Windows. VPN’s do not so easily install in some versions of Linux.) Anyway, I have discovered that the Debian repository is not easily searched through with Windows 10/with VPN.

Any suggestions to find the drivers (listed above) ‘Prometheus’ asks for? or how to do a copy to lib with 'root privilege’s to try the two I did find, and sgomare recommended.

And to make things more difficult, the Touchpad software does not allow me to turn of “Tap to Click.” Nearly all distros come equipped with “Tap to Click” - more likely to start some process or program I do not want. In fact, I am astounded that "Tap to Click’ always comes enabled, when I don’t appreciate what it adds to using my computer at all.

I have arrived at a place where it seems more useful to ask for advice when I could (and probably should) do a lot of research in how to proceed. Any advice?

I decide to try and install Debian to Alienware 17. Then I found the firmware drivers for Athk10 and so on. I might find an answer after all.


#12

I can get the wireless to working with Prometheus, (using the Debian athk10, which I downloaded with Windows, and then put on USB stick. Extracted using a version of Puppy Linux,’ FatDog 800a") although the power- on boot-start complains about wireless not being present. I can browse with the Pure browser. I had problems doing any kind of update. Software and update would not start. Software does not show anything but what is already present. I think it unreasonable to expect the experts to tell me what I am doing wrong with an older version of OS and updates.

I gave my OS a name of beach house. When I tried to ‘sudo apt update’ , it asks for password I give it the four letter password I put on it. The reply I get is Sudoer beach does not exist. I suspect I should have created a longer name password, but why that should be a problem. I dunno. So I turned around and tried to install the latest version of Pure OS, the one with 8 in its name is supposed Hephaestus. I don’t think it likes my hardware. After much frustration I tried to install Mint 19.2, which only would install with the safe option, I think it clashes with my video card. However, Mint 19.2 has some other strangeness - does not seem to work well.

I guess I had better get back to winning the lottery and buy the correct hardware to run Pure. I am going to try another distro for awhile. Perhaps first being Mint 19.1 Cinnamon, as I know it seems to work on the Alienware, I will find some way to mess that up to. So long for awhile.