Dizwell Informatics

News from Nowhere

Toshiba P870, Fedora 18 and Networks

Fedora’s recent upgrade to the 3.8.1-201 kernel may have broken VMware Workstation (though now fixed by upgrading that to the latest 9.0.2 release), but it was a good day for networking on my Toshiba P870 laptop.

I mentioned a while ago that neither the wireless nor the gigabit Ethernet adapter worked out-of-the-box on this particular laptop when I first installed Fedora 18. There were some downloads and compilations needed before either would work -and then, those bits of compilation failed to re-compile if the kernel was ever updated, so I had to fiddle with setting default Grub menu options so that only the original 3.6 kernel would ever be used.

Well, as I say, the upgrade to the 3.8.1 kernel has fixed most of that: wireless networking now works without having to recompile or install anything. The gigabit Ethernet adapter still doesn’t work by default, though -which, I think, is the first time I’ve ever heard of wireless networking functioning better on Linux than the wired variety!

It is not difficult to fix, though. Just visit this site and download the 3.8.1 compat-driver file of your choice (I decided to use the bzip2 one). Extract the download, then as root:

cd compat-drivers-3.8-1-u
./scripts/driver-select alx
make install

Finish off when prompted with a modprobe alx and your wired network will be back up and running in no time.

Happily, this means I no longer need to force my laptop to boot the old 3.6 kernel, so it’s time to un-default that particular boot option. As root,

gedit /etc/default/grub

There’ll be a line in there which reads GRUB_DEFAULT=<something>. Just change the “something” to an unquoted zero (i.e., the line should end up reading GRUB_DEFAULT=0), That will now boot whatever the latest kernel happens to be.

If you ever want to re-set a default boot option, then type (as root):

grep menuentry /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

…and copy whichever of the single-quoted menu items displayed is the one you want to be the default, and set the GRUB_DEFAULT in the /etc/default/grub file to that.