Atheros AR242x Wireless on Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

The new Dell Vostro A840 laptops that we ordered came with Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) pre-installed. However when I installed the latest release Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), the Atheros AR242x wifi card didn't work right away.

The solution to get this card working is available on WifiDocs > Driver > Atheros on Ubuntu Wiki.

The ath5k module from the linux-backports-modules-intrepid package on Ubuntu backports will do the magic for you.


  1. You are very lucky people, my friend because Atheros chipsets are one of the few wireless cards that are free software compatible.

    I think you should consider running Linux-libre (the completely freed linux packs) on them (or even better migrate to a completely free GNU/Linux distro such as gNewSense).

    For technical details, ath5k bacame a part of the vanilla Linux kernel starting with 2.6.27 though it became much more stable with 2.6.28. I suggest running Linux-libre 2.6.28 with Ubuntu or, even better, gNewSense which is currently based on Ubuntu 8.04.

    For a fast solution, you can install the pre-compiled installation .deb packs I publish at [They are gNewSense, Ubuntu (hardy & intrepid) and Debian lenny compatible.]

  2. That's the idea, it would be wonderful not to be dependent on the non-free firmware.

  3. Arky has that wrong. the ath5k drivers are completely free software.

  4. @Anonymous I was referring to other non-free firmware drivers not Atheros ath5k.


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