Dipping Into Penguin-Infested Waters

Given that thanks to the amazingly aggressive data tariffs here in Portugal (and consequent popularity of real, unfettered wireless broadband access) I now get around three e-mails/questions/phone calls a week regarding HSDPA support in non-Windows environments (and I'm not even tied into any kind of formal support structure, these are just personal inquiries from people who know me and random surfers), I decided to take some time this weekend to follow up on my generic overview of the matter and get up to speed on the state of the art regarding HSDPA support in Linux.

Now, Linux is obviously not what I get most questions for, but it is the environment I haven't been keeping track of at all, so forcing myself to take dip into it again seemed like a good idea (if only to broaden my horizons a bit).

Since I don't use Linux as a desktop/laptop environment (despite the odd attempt to do so at random intervals), I had to dust off and fire up my ancient Toshiba 8100, which runs Fedora Core 5 (without SELinux enabled, which is the only tenable solution in such a slow machine).

After downloading 400MB of updates (boy, was it that long since I last used it?), I got to spend a quiet hour looking at the options available.

The bottom line is: If you can find the Option Nozomi GPL driver source code it can be made to work, but the procedure is a little harrowing (i.e., like I pointed out earlier, it's not just about using usbserial magic anymore).

But never fear, it's quite manageable, and after poking around and comparing several mini-guides around the Web, I've come to the conclusion that if you can find your way around Linux, all the card-specific stuff you really need to know is neatly summarized here. It's Gentoo-based, but easily reproducible in other distributions.

Although I could write a HOWTO covering this for Fedora, most of the nitty-gritty, trial and error stuff has already been done by more capable hands than mine, so I probably won't bother. However, please take note that I did not fare as well with a Novatel U740 card as with an Option one, but that may well be due to some peculiarity in Fedora's USB support.

Your mileage (as always with Linux) will vary.

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