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#1 2006-12-21 16:12:53

desertViking
Member
From: Arizona
Registered: 2005-10-30
Posts: 170

Totally wireless install - short "how to"

I've been thinking about this for a while.   It happens that I'd like to install Arch Linux onto a new computer, including wireless packages in the Arch repositories, without having a hard-wired Ethernet connection.  My house doesn't have Ethernet everywhere, but a wireless hub, I've got.

The idea came from the Gentoo x86 quick install guide.  The new 0.8 ISOs in testing gave me a reason to try it out.

These notes are spartan.  They aren't written to explain to you how to install or upgrade your Arch Linux system.  Nor are they written to explain how to configure a wireless adapter.

It assumes you know how to use the basic wireless tools like "iwconfig", and that you know which drivers or wireless packages you need to install.  Madwifi is mentioned in my example, you may be using that, or ndiswrapper, or something else.  Ndiswrapper ought to work, too, but you'll have to add the step to install the vendor drivers to the Arch base system hard drive somehow.

The Arch wiki on installation and wireless configuration can help you with these things.

It also uses a live Knoppix CD.  I usually have one around for emergencies, this example used 5.01.  Hopefully it is not a faux pas to mention Knoppix or Gentoo here.  Apologies in advance if so.

1) Boot and install the base system from the Arch Linux installation CD.  The base is all you should need to get started.  Make note of the hard drive to which you install, in my case hda1.  You should reboot following the installation, just to make sure you've got a stable installation.

2) Now, reboot the computer again using the Knoppix CD.  Knoppix does a good job, usually, of identifying wireless adapters.  It picks up mine and I've cards from 3 vendors in 4 configurations.

3) You can either use a su terminal session or the Knoppix wireless configuration tools to configure the network adapter.  I usually use a super user command prompt.  Knoppix doesn't seem to have a root password, so you get a root prompt by just entering "su"

su
iwconfig ath0 essid MYESSID
iwconfig ath0 key ...
pump -i ath0

Knoppix uses "pump" to acquire an access point.  My Arch systems typically use "dhcpcd".  Ping www.google.com, or something, to test the network access.  Don't continue until you have a good connection.

4) Assuming you still have that super user terminal prompt open (if not, open one), mount the hard drive with the Arch base system.  In my case

mount /mnt/hda1

5) Get an active copy of the domain name servers configuration file that Knoppix has created

cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/hda1/etc/

6) Bind devices and establish root relative to the Arch Linux base installed system.  This is the magic, well not magic so much, but fun nonetheless. 

mount -o bind /dev /mnt/hda1/dev
mount -o bind /proc /mnt/hda1/proc
chroot /mnt/hda1 /bin/bash
source /etc/profile

You should now be as if you'd booted to the Arch base system, and have access to all of the Arch utilities, read: pacman.

7) The cool thing is that the wireless connection you established above should still be active.  Check it again by pinging google.  If you have a problem, you may have skipped or did something wrong in step 5.

8. You may need to edit /etc/pacman.conf to include the "extra" repository.  This is where madwifi and ndiswrapper packages are currently deposited.  Synchronize and install the package you need

pacman -Sy madwifi

Now, without the bindings, the package downloads to the base system hard drive, but will probably fail the installation.  I didn't stop to figure out why, and it's repaired shortly anyway, so don't worry.  With the bindings, you will probably have a successful download and install.

9) You're pretty much done with Knoppix at this point, so reboot the computer to the base system.

10) If step 8 failed, after rebooting, execute

pacman -S madwifi

Pacman will probably tell you that madwifi is already current, do you want to "upgrade" anyway.  Say yes.  Note that there's no need to re-synch.  In fact you couldn't anyway because more than likely you're not yet connected to the network.

I rebooted again before the madwifi module was probed and I found ath0 in my list of network modules.

From there, you should be able to configure the network connection as you normally would. 

I would welcome any feedback from adventurous sorts.  If the notes are helpful, I'll add something to the wiki.  Thanks in advance and have fun!

EDIT: added the bindings for /dev and /proc, and updated the notes a little bit.

Last edited by desertViking (2007-06-13 16:17:59)


"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."

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#2 2006-12-22 00:42:13

codemac
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From: Cliche Tech Place
Registered: 2005-05-13
Posts: 784
Website

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

no binding of /dev or /proc?  I'd think that would help things work out a bit better.

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#3 2006-12-22 01:14:18

F
Member
Registered: 2006-10-09
Posts: 322

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

Cool! I feel like trying this out now. If you don't feel like using Knoppix I guess you could also use Archie ;p

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#4 2006-12-22 03:06:14

desertViking
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From: Arizona
Registered: 2005-10-30
Posts: 170

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

F wrote:

If you don't feel like using Knoppix I guess you could also use Archie ;p

Yeah, I see no reason why that wouldn't work either. Any bootable live CD that will catch your wireless card ought to do the trick.  I just happen to have more experience with Knoppix.


"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."

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#5 2006-12-22 15:24:34

Romashka
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2005-12-07
Posts: 1,054

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

Shouldn't this work with 0.8 Alpha ISOs too (except for closed drivers that are not included)?


to live is to die

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#6 2007-01-19 22:27:52

desertViking
Member
From: Arizona
Registered: 2005-10-30
Posts: 170

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

I don't see any reason why not, but I haven't tried it. I may have an opportunity with 0.8a3 this weekend and let you know if I run into anything.


"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."

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#7 2007-01-22 05:54:01

jwbirdsong
Member
From: Western KS USA
Registered: 2006-11-25
Posts: 173

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

desertViking wrote:

I don't see any reason why not, but I haven't tried it. <snip </snip>.

I have; worked without a hitch.  Got to be the fastest method of getting wireless to a wireless ONLY machine I've run across so far..Thanks


PLEASE read and try to FIX/FILE BUGS instead of assuming other have/will.

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#8 2007-01-22 06:39:10

iphitus
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

wireless_tools are on the 0.8 iso, wpa_supplicant should be too, and hopefully some new netscripts.  Some drivers will be included as well.

For those that aren't, ill distribute myself an package that contains drivers which aren't on the ISO, which you can copy to a usb flash device and use with the 0.8 iso.

James

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#9 2007-01-22 07:32:58

Mr Green
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From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,751

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

It also uses a live Knoppix CD. I usually have one around for emergencies, this example used 5.01. Hopefully it is not a faux pas to mention Knoppix or Gentoo here. Apologies in advance if so.

You can mention knoppix as its got me out of trouble more times than I can think of ;-) the 'G' distro well no lol

Might be a good idea to put your how-to in wiki

MrG


Mr Green

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#10 2007-03-15 12:41:30

subatomic
Member
From: Berlin
Registered: 2005-06-26
Posts: 180

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

thanks for this one. I used a xubuntu cd and everything went well.

one thing I've never understood in arch is why madwifi or any other card drivers are not included in the base install in the first place (but wpa supplicant is). maybe in 0.8?

Last edited by subatomic (2007-03-15 14:07:53)

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#11 2007-03-16 12:43:51

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

subatomic wrote:

thanks for this one. I used a xubuntu cd and everything went well.

one thing I've never understood in arch is why madwifi or any other card drivers are not included in the base install in the first place

licensing issues, concerns, stability, amount of change in the linux wireless scene.

(but wpa supplicant is). maybe in 0.8?

not all drivers are seperate, there are many that exist within the kernel, so wpa_supplicant is very useful for those who have cards that use those drivers.

James

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#12 2007-04-04 15:49:36

big_gie
Member
Registered: 2005-01-19
Posts: 637

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

Yesterday I installed Arch from the 0.8 cd.

I was really disappointed by the fact the Arch still doesn't include some fundamental tools for wireless installation. I have a Dell TrueMobile 1300 (Broadcom 4306).

The bcm43xx module is included with the kernel but not the firmware. This is ok because of license, but the tool to extract the firmware, that is bcm43xx-fwcutter is not included! So I had my driver but no way to extract the firmware. So bcm43xx was useless for me. Anyway, it seems to unstable to use.

I normally use ndiswrapper because it is the most stable in my case. But unfortunately ndiswrapper (module and utilities) are not included on the CD. I had the windows driver ready to be wrapped, but as before, I couldn't do anything with it!

The installation process is improved with 0.8, but for wireless installation, it is still a REAL pain in the a**.

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#13 2007-04-04 21:51:02

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

big_gie wrote:

Yesterday I installed Arch from the 0.8 cd.

I was really disappointed by the fact the Arch still doesn't include some fundamental tools for wireless installation. I have a Dell TrueMobile 1300 (Broadcom 4306).

The bcm43xx module is included with the kernel but not the firmware. This is ok because of license, but the tool to extract the firmware, that is bcm43xx-fwcutter is not included! So I had my driver but no way to extract the firmware. So bcm43xx was useless for me. Anyway, it seems to unstable to use.

I normally use ndiswrapper because it is the most stable in my case. But unfortunately ndiswrapper (module and utilities) are not included on the CD. I had the windows driver ready to be wrapped, but as before, I couldn't do anything with it!

The installation process is improved with 0.8, but for wireless installation, it is still a REAL pain in the a**.

there's an addon for wireless included in the 0.8 final release CD.... it *should* have had the above, never the less, i'm nagging again on the bug tracker, because this is a bug I also think is important.

http://bugs.archlinux.org/task/1224

James

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#14 2007-06-13 14:20:48

desertViking
Member
From: Arizona
Registered: 2005-10-30
Posts: 170

Re: Totally wireless install - short "how to"

codemac wrote:

no binding of /dev or /proc?  I'd think that would help things work out a bit better.

I added the bindings as you suggested, and indeed it seems to work better
Leave the bindings off (if I've somehow fat fingered the instructions) and things will work with the noted failure.  Include them, and you should not see any pacman failures when you install the necessary wireless tools.
Thx for the suggestion!

iphitus wrote:

there's an addon for wireless included in the 0.8 final release CD.... it *should* have had the above, never the less, i'm nagging again on the bug tracker, because this is a bug I also think is important.

+1 on the bug tracking nag wink
Edit:
Turned into wiki:
http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ins … _Interface

Last edited by desertViking (2007-10-23 17:29:46)


"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."

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