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May 20, 2008 @ 12:40

Madwifi wireless for Asus Eee PC on Fedora 9 HowTo

fedora 9 wireless on eee pc
Im this tutorial I will show you how to download patched driver and compile it yourself, but first I would like to explain why wireless drivers aren’t working on Eee PC running Fedora 9.

Asus Eee PC uses Atheros wireless chip AR5007. Atheros as a company doesn’t support linux and doesn’t make linux drivers available, there are linux drivers but they are made by madwifi project crew. Atheros company doesn’t make any effort in making their wireless chips work on linux; they hide specifications of their wireless chips and don’t make them available to linux developers. It is amassing that a developers around madwifi project actually succeed in making these drivers considering all the obstacles. Madwifi drivers still needs Atheros binary HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer).

This HAL is not binary firmware but a piece of code that needs to run in the Linux kernel. It consists of header files for which no permisison to modify is granted, and pre-compiled object files. The vendor’s position is that the Linux community simply needs to accept this sourceless HAL, since in principle the Atheros chip could be tuned to any frequency, and thus produce RF interference with systems operating in those frequencies. This binary HAL is unacceptable to the Linux kernel developers, and the madwifi driver in this state will never become part of the official kernel.

Some OpenBSD developers, facing the same issue, reverse-engineered the binary HAL and have produced an open source driver (ath5k), which has now been picked up by the madwifi team as the future direction. At the same time the madwifi driver has been labeled ‘legacy’ to reinforce this point.

So we have two drivers that support Atheros chip based wireless cards; madwifi and ath5k, but neither of them currently supports the chip that Asus choose for Eee PC – AR5007. That is now true, you say, my Eee PC runing Xandros linux has a working wireless! If you weren’t aware Xandros uses NDISwrapper to load windows drivers (to learn more look at NDISwrapper article on Wikipedia). So Xandors is using windows and not linux wireless drivers.
UPDATE: I checked with lsmod and Xandros also uses madwifi (ath_pci) driver. They have also custom patched the driver to work.

athk5 driver is under heavy development and it is now known when it will support AR5007. Madwifi has a patch that adds support for AR5007, but unfortunately this patch cannot be committed to madwifi, since it breaks the ABI for all non-i386 HAL binaries.

In order to get your wireless working on Eee PC with madwifi you need to patch the driver manually so here is step by step walktrough:
Update: Im this tutorial I will show you how to download patched driver and compile it yourself.
Update 2: If you don’t wan’t to compile the driver manually then you need to configure Livna repository and then just issue yum command to install the driver.
As root do this:
rpm -i http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-9.rpm
yum --enablerepo=livna-testing install kmod-madwifi

If you still want to do it manually and perrhaps learn how to do it then you need to install all necessary packages; as root do:
yum install make binutils gcc glibc-devel glibc-headers libgomp patch kernel-headers kernel-devel wget

Then blacklist the ath5k module; edit your blacklist file (as root) in \etc\modprobe.d\blacklists (I have to reverse slashes because mod_security on this blog that prevents writing \etc\ with regular slashes) and add the line with “blacklist ath5k”
echo "blacklist ath5k" >> \etc\modprobe.d\blacklist (reverse the slashes)

You should also edit your \etc\modprobe.conf to look like this:
## Start Atheros Stuff
alias wifi0 ath_pci
alias ath0 ath_pci
options ath_pci autocreate=sta
## End Atheros Stuff


Download patched madwifi driver:
wget http://snapshots.madwifi.org/special/madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007.tar.gz

Extract madwifi source code and compile it:
tar xvf madwifi-ng-r2756-20071018.tar.gz
cd madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007
make install


That is it, after reboot you have a working wireless under Fedora 9.


Filed under english, fedora, linux, tips&tricks, wireless


  1. Posted by Jonathan Dieter

    May 20, 2008 @ 13:05

    Uh, I just installed working madwifi on my F9 Eee PC using madwifi in livna-testing: yum –enablerepo=livna-testing install kmod-madwifi

  2. Posted by valent

    May 20, 2008 @ 13:12

    Now you tell me??? :)
    Thanks for your reply… uf, If only I knew that sooner I wouldn’t have wasted my time writing this looong article.

    Thanks Dieter your info will for sure help a lot of users.

  3. Posted by Jonathan Dieter

    May 20, 2008 @ 13:16

    Sorry, I just found out about this yesterday (and upgraded my EeePC to F9 today)

  4. Posted by valent

    May 20, 2008 @ 13:22

    I’m joking :)
    If I wrote the article few days before you would have found about this a day before I posted it :)


  5. Posted by jim

    May 20, 2008 @ 15:47

    After going through all the hassle to find the driver at http://madwifi.org/ticket/1679 there is a patched tar.gz download there, I didn’t have to do any patching, and it compiled in FC9 without any problems.
    I now come across this site after I have got the wifi working.
    You instructions are right on.

  6. Posted by pivo

    May 21, 2008 @ 22:36

    thanks a lot!
    seems to work with eeedora (fedora 8) also

  7. Posted by Thomas

    May 24, 2008 @ 12:16

    @ Jonathan Dieter: Does this mean that the AR5007 works with the kmod-madwifi package in livna-testing?

  8. Posted by valent

    June 2, 2008 @ 8:54

    @Thomas: I tested kmod-madwifi package in livna-testing and it works perfectly!

  9. Posted by brool » Blog Archive » Fedora 9 On EEE (and: Ubuntu Is Not Always The Answer)

    June 5, 2008 @ 0:29

    [...] PC, so the wireless had to be fixed. To get the wireless running on stock Fedora 9 means following the steps on this site, but there are a few problems. The kernel for the live CD is different than the kernel used by [...]

  10. Posted by Emil

    July 7, 2008 @ 16:27

    Worked like a happy puppy on my fujitsu-siemens esprimo mobile v5535!

    Many thanks.

  11. Posted by tony

    July 16, 2008 @ 4:44

    I have fedora 9 and am trying to get the ar5007 working. When I try yum –enablerepo=livna-testing install kmod-madwifi I get this error:

    Missing Dependency: kernel-uname-r = is needed by package kmod-madwifi- (livna-testing)
    Error: Missing Dependency: kernel-uname-r = is needed by package kmod-madwifi- (livna-testing)

    It’s weird because I had the wireless adapter working before with fedora 9, I can’t remember how I did it if I used this tutorial or not but I know I didn’t have to compile anything, but I had to re-install and I can’t remember how to do it.

  12. Posted by valent

    July 16, 2008 @ 9:29


    Just wait a bit and try again later, these dependency errors are temporaty things when until all update mirrors get syncronised.

  13. Posted by Jordo

    March 26, 2009 @ 6:59


  14. Posted by jimmy

    April 18, 2009 @ 8:31


    i’m using fedora 9 and not connected directly to the internet. however i’m able to get the necessary files from outside.

    whenever i type make, it will give message directory is not found and ….build is missing and need to have the kernel path.

    could you help. thanks

  15. Posted by valent

    April 19, 2009 @ 22:52

    You probably skipped step for installing make and other tools.
    Read the whole post carefully and if still in trouble just ask here. Hope this helps.

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