Monday, 27 April 2009

plasma-widget-network-manager NO

Had a right ball ache tonight with my mums computer. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 a while back and she is happily using it despite being a Windows user. This was great. If mum could get on with it (albeit with occasional support calls) then anyone could.
The problem was I had the unsupported updates enabled so I could get a more stable version of KDE 4 since 4.1 was pretty rough. I was also annoyed that I couldn't get knetworkmanager to run automatically like it did on my laptop running kde3. Small annoyance but anyway I upgraded to the latest KDE 4 stuff through the unsupported repo and then when 9.04 (jaunty jackelope) came out, I thought this was my chance to solidify the remaining dodgy interface issues and leave my mum with something that will just be cool. Problem was, after upgrading to 9.04, the wireless stopped working. It is one of those things that is unforgivable for software which is supposed to be release ready that something that worked fine stops working. Of course, because it is the wireless (isn't it always) you can't download any updates or search forums for answers - grrr.
My first guess was to backup all mums files to an external hard disk and then do a clean install rather than the possibly dodgy upgrade. This of course took a while but to no avail, didn't work in exactly the same way, the wireless card driver was fine, lshw showed the card with a kernel driver and iwconfig showed a single wireless interface so no double-driver issue. The clue was the fact that I could see the networks in the list but when I clicked onto them, I would get a connect dialog, fill in all the details but then nothing!
Went to the forums and found out that sometimes network-manager required the password in hex instead of ascii so used the conversion code but to no avail. Also then read it doesn't support wpa properly and double-checked but my router was using wep. In the end, I ground my teeth and decided to uninstall plasma-widget-network-manager and go back to knetworkmanager which had worked before. Next mistake, ran the uninstall and install in the same session and of course as soon as the plasma stuff had uninstalled, I couldn't connect to the net to install knetworkmanager, for some reason I couldn't get it off the CD.
Reinstall AGAIN, another 30 minutes.
This time, I installed knetworkmanager and simply right-clicked the plasma network icon and told it to go whence it had came. I rebooted just to make sure it didn't come back up and it didn't (although knetworkmanager still doesn't always come up).
This left me fuming, this is the reason why people go with Windows. It is inferior, bloated, slow, expensive and insecure but for some reason (the details of which are irrelevant to most people) it just seems to work. The fact that the release has regressed is a big pity and I hope some people's backsides are being kicked for it!!
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