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