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So I just got my old dell d500 working with a brand new Linux install, the only bummer is that the wifi isn't working. After some kernel configuring and some firmware magic, I found out that the biggest issue is that the card is disabled, and the only way to turn it on is through the Fn+F2 key. Linux can't do anything to enable the card, in fact it sees all swtich-like Fn keys the same as Ctrl+Shift+2 (^@). My question is, "why not make it a switch? Can I see the Fn signals in the operating system in some way?" Thank you for any tips or help, I really appreciate it!!!

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You have to first unload the wireless cards module (rmmod ipw2200 in my case), do the key combination (Fn+F2), then reload the module (modprobe ipw2200). This enabled the device, and it has stayed enabled after reboots.

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