I have a Dell Netbook. I originally got it with XP since, while I know enough to use a Linux machine, I am more familiar with Windows. With XP my wireless stopped working. The wireless adapter was still listed in my device manager list but in all other situations Windows was acting as it was not there. I finally reinstalled Windows to see if that would fix it but it only made thins get worse. After doing this I was unable to use both wireless and wired Internet. So, fed up, I installed the latest Ubuntu and still I am unable to use wireless, though I can use wired again. I am getting this message that the wireless driver is proprietary but it does say it is in use. (See attached image)

The wireless access point is right next to me and other devices can connect to it with no problems. Is there anything else I can try?

Also, I've tried to contact Dell's tech support but it's pretty worthless.

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the device drivers on the linux are implemented mostely like
a module in the Linux environment. It isn't a componment of the
Linux kernel , either it runs on the kernel mode.

The GPL is not valid for the modules , it should not be open source.
But that doesn't mean you're whole linux distribution will be non GPL. Linux kernel clearly mentions this and it's well documented.
do not worry about this.

My old notebook doesn't come with built-in wireless connection so I bought a Aztech 54Mbps wireless USB adapter and its work fine with Ubuntu 9.04. If it doesn't cost much maybe you can try and use one.

Proprietary drivers may be the only solution, wireless drivers are a well kept secret. I'd recommend installing the proprietary driver but if that fails you look into Ndiswrapper.

whats the model number of wireless card on your netbook ?
For example is it 4965AGN ? or 3xxx....

I have a dell inspiron6000. Not long after i got it the wireless card sort of died - it still looked as though it was working to the system but neither sent nor received - sounds like yours? Eventually i got a replacement (a Broadcom) card and installed and no more issues. I'm pretty sure the transmitter/receiver part of the card died. The only way i could test it was by replacement, not convenient at all. By the way, Broadcom cards are not automatically installed in linux 9.10 either. i'm relatively inexperienced with linux and it took me 4 hrs of hunting to get instructions for getting, and installing the proprietary drivers using fw-cutter.
good luck - try the ubuntu community forums maybe if you're sure the card still works.

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