A Brief Fling with Foresight Linux

This probably fits in the “it just works” category of things, but I am back to using Ubuntu on my laptop after a brief fling with Foresight Linux 0.9.3. To this point, I have never been able to effectively manage the network settings on my laptop in moving it between work (where it has a static IP address on the wired network interface) and home (where it has a dynamic IP address and uses the built-in wireless interface). As a Gnome fan, I had seen several postings on the Gnome news site over the past couple of years announcing new releases of Foresight, and I was curious to give it a shot since it had all the latest Gnome goodness built in. So right before Christmas, when 0.9.3 was announced I thought I would give it a shot.

The initial installation went very smoothly and it seemed promising in terms of its support for the hardware on my laptop. It certainly seemed to recognize that both network interfaces were present when I ran through the initial installation (which I performed while connected to the network at work). Unfortunately, as soon as I pulled it off the network and brought it home to fire it up and connect it to my WAN, it had no indication that the wireless card was even present in the box. Wierd. Dropped the Linux partition and reinstalled at home — still no indication that it even had a wireless card inside. More wierd.

Back to work the next Monday, hung it on the network, dropped the Linux partition, and reinstalled. Both network interfaces seem to be present. This time, I went ahead and configured the wireless interface, pulled it off the network and rebooted. Wireless interface was still there — that seemed promising. Took it home, booted, and I could actually get it to see my WAN at home and connect to it. After much Googling and forum-searching, I managed to figure out what I would need to do to get the routing table entries tweaked to switch between the two interfaces so that I could actually see the outside world.

Home free, I thought! New distro, with the latest and greatest Gnome to play with. The next day when I went to boot the laptop — still here at home — what do I find but that it has lost all track of the fact that it even has a wireless card! Nothing I could do even seemed to make it aware of the card.

At that point, I decided that it there was something flaky under the hood in Foresight that just couldn’t keep track of the card. I decided that I was headed back to Ubuntu, which for me has always come the closest to “just working” of any of the distributions I have tried on all of my various boxes. Dropped the Linux partition, installed Ubuntu (this time at home), and let it configure the wireless card as part of the installation process.

It just works — and works well. So for the time being, I am running Linux wirelessly (that can’t really be a word, I know) on the laptop at home, and Windows wired at work.

Foresight still seems like it has quite a bit going for it, and my intent is to keep an eye on it. For now, however, I am back to having just Ubuntu installed on my various boxes. I still have that sort of vague wanderlust feeling at times, thinking that maybe there is a better distro out there for me than Ubuntu (the same feeling that makes me take a hard look at Evolution every time they update it, but I have always ended up back on Thunderbird), but I haven’t found it yet.