Monday, August 29, 2016

Ubuntu and blacklisting... GRR!!!

Greetings from Occupied Territory!!!

It's been awhile since I last posted, so I decided to rant about this.  I purchased this laptop that I've been using, back in 2012.  It's an HP, so it's served me well!  It originally came installed with Windoze 8, version 1, and let me tell you... I DIDN'T LIKE IT FROM THE START!!!  IF I WANTED A TABLET O/S, I'D RUN A STRAIGHT ANDROID TABLET, OR AN APPLE IOS!!! 

Anyway, after tweaking the O/S. I got it to work to my liking, even including a Start Button!  My one critical mistake:  auto updating!!!  If there's one thing that I've learned, is that you NEVER auto update anything!!!  Why, you ask?  Simple... would you let your 5 yr old child venture out into the roughest part of town, after midnight?  Of course, you wouldn't!!!  So, why would you allow your computer to do the same thing?!?!  I somehow, was the receiver of some crap update, that corrupted my Exploder installation.  Without Exploder, Windoze is screwed!!!  This was how Micro$oft was able to beat the Justice Department, and their attempt to slap a Sherman Anti-Trust Suit onto them!
They integrated their crap browser, with code stolen from Mozilla, into their O/S!  Without Exploder, Windoze is screwed!

Anyway, after figuring out what the problem was, I downloaded a copy of Ubuntu 12x, and installed that.  I haven't looked back!  Now, don't get me wrong, Ubuntu has its own set of problems.
Problems like, not always being able to find the drivers for your hardware device.  This isn't a problem that can't be overcame... One way I've learned to overcome this, is to get a copy of the Windoze drivers, and decompiling them, then recompiling them with GCC, and installing them, using apt.  Just because I can do this, doesn't necessarily mean that the average Windoze user, or worse, the
average Mac user, can do this!  Not to worry, though... the Ubuntu community is rather large, and if you do a Google Search, you can always find an Ubuntu group... just post a question into one of the forums, and await your response.  Chances are, there will be several answers to your question!  How's that for service?!?!  You, sure as hell, won't get this from either M$ or Apple!!!

Now, onto the fun part... my internal wifi device, stopped working, and I could't figure out why.  So, I plugged my laptop into the wired Ethernet, and attempted to find out.  After searching, I couldn't find the answer.  So, I ended up purchasing a TP-Link TL-WN727N WiFi usb dongle.  Problem solved, or so I thought... After one of Ubuntu's many security updates, my WiFi dongle stopped working, and I couldn't figure out why.  So again, I did my research.  This time, I found out the problem... apparently, my dongle's chipset, had been blacklisted by Canonical.  Why?  I have no idea why... But, according to various user groups, I've found out what had happened.  Canonical, like Mico$oft, doesn't want you to use legacy hardware, so in an attempt to force users to use updated hardware, and be like the Micro$ofties, they blacklist drivers.  

You're probably wondering how you find this out, right?  Well, you start by opening up a terminal screen, then entering the ls command.  There's different versions to this command, like lspci, or lsusb... these commands let you know what devices are installed.  This is where you're going to have to know something about computers, and if you don't, well RTFM!!!  That's what Usenet is for!
After finding out what type of device you have, you either do an lspci, or lsusb, to locate your device. If you're not seeing it, chances are, it was blacklisted.  How do you find out where this blacklist is?
Start by opening up a terminal, then typing in at the command line: /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist... It may seem like a lot of work, but that's how Linux is; Linux separates the true users, from the casual users! This is where you find out if your driver has been blacklisted.

Well, I found out that my driver was there, and no matter what I would do, I couldn't unblacklist my driver! I sure as hell, didn't want to go out and buy a new dongle, so what did I do? I went ahead, and downloaded 16.04 LTS, and formatted my drive. I lost a lot of data because of this, but it was the only way I could unblacklist my driver! With the new, clean O/S installed, I set out to rebuild my computer. So far, my WiFi dongle driver hasn't been blacklisted (that's because I've been picky as to what I'll install from Canonical!!! I swear, if those jerks blacklist this driver, I'm done with Ubuntu!!!). If it gets blacklisted, I'm running Debian from this point onward! Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, so the transition will be easy.

So, what have we learned? If you're a Mac user, you've learned that you can't handle a complex O/S like Linux, so you choose to stay with an O/S that has training wheels. If you're a Windoze user, chances are, you'll curl up into a fetal ball, and call someone from tech support to help you to understand this... but, the understanding won't be forthcoming! That's okay, because there're plenty of Windoze resources out there for you to use. But, for the truly adventurous, you'll try a live CD. If you like it, you'll go a step further, and get a separate drive, and install it onto the drive, saving the Windoze drive. I did that, but I'm probably going to format that drive one of these days; I just haven't gotten around to it. Anyway, my rant is over... If you want to find out more about blacklisting, follow this link, and read it for yourself! This, and more, can be found! Just keep an open mind!