Nathan Raymond - 2009-04-29

Hi, I've used ndiswrapper successfully in ubuntu on desktops in the past with some success (though I encountered some serious quirks with ndiswrapper under 64-bit, I was able to work around them). About six months ago I got an Acer Aspire One 'netbook' with Atheros AR5008 wireless networking that didn't have any support in the release versions of open source Atheros drivers until very recently, so rather than download some non-release builds of the open source drivers I was using ndiswrapper in both Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04 (most recently the 1.53-2ubuntu1 package) with these Windows drivers:

And it worked, mostly. I encountered some truly odd performance issues, especially while on a LAN while doing multi-gigabyte data transfers, and also some overall system stability issues I was never able to pin on ndiswrapper because my entire system would freeze hard (something I didn't see it do under Windows). It would do this hard freeze about every other day, and I'd have to hold down the power button until the system was forced off (i.e. there was no way I could get to the console or remote in, it was completely stopped with whatever image had been on the screen still there). I never saw any pattern to it. The other thing I would frequently see in one out of every three shutdowns is a freeze there, typically near the very end, after the hard drive had been spun down, and I'd be left with a blinking cursor in the upper left, again requiring me to force the system off.

I moved to Ubuntu 9.04 the day after release, and since the ath5k driver package now supports the AR5008 wireless in the Aspire One, I disabled ndiswrapper and have enabled ath5k, and so far all the issues have ceased. I get good wireless performance, haven't had any total system freezes, and the system shuts down normally. This would lead me to believe there are some serious issues with the ndiswrapper, at least with my hardware and those Windows drivers.

I'm not sure how much help this is, but I thought I'd report it.