A fresh install of Ubuntu 7.04 or 7.10 will yield quite a few drivers built in. I’m actually impressed that most of the devices on my laptop work right out of the box (so to speak). Not complaining about Windows too much, but I’m constantly drawn towards Linux because of the support given via hundreds of thousands of individual peoples. Have an issue? Probably it’s been well documented and there are fixes available. If not, someone can most likely help you out. Want to make changes to your OS? Want free software and free support? Linux.
Now that the rant is over with, here’s an issue I came across while installing 7.04 AND 7.10 on my laptop (actually Windows had this issue too, but it’s much easier to find driver support on that side). The problem was my built-in Broadcom wireless 54G card (BCM4318 is the model). I didn’t want to use ndiswrapper to solve this one. I wanted a linux native driver.
This is a debian package script that will install the Linux Native driver. Double click, install, reboot. If the wireless doesn’t work, you may have the wrong Broadcom card installed, or you will have to use ndiswrapper.
Ubuntu 8.04 and beyond actually has built-in support for the Broadcom Card (not quite as good as the NDIS wrapper, but it will connect at 54mbps and has fairly decent range). You can go to System, Administration, Hardware Drivers. It should then be listed as one of the available to use.