I installed my first Slackware in 1996 (Slack 95)
No Linux Distro I have tried or used since that has EVER had to have a NIC driver/module compiled.
Wireless Yes but Not the Hardwire Cat5 NIC.
Well, I can't say that anymore.
My new Backup Laptop a Lenovo G580 has a Atheros NIC requiring the alx.ko module. Also the Broadcom-STA Wireless module wl.ko.
What a pair, Huh? https://www.lenovo.com/products/us/tech-specs/laptop/essential/g-series/g580/
Celeron CPU, 4gb mem, 500gb HD, R/W DVD, Window 8 (Windows 8 is a pig)
AND the NEW EFI security boot.
Here is what I did to Get Vector and Some other DIstros on Board.
1. Entered the BIOS setup and changed BOOT to Legacy
from the EFI
.... The EFI security gave LiveCDs a fit..
.... Once set to Legacy Boot all worked..
2. Gparted and Wiped the ENTIRE DRIVE. (Win8 is the Worst OS I have Ever Tried)
...........Win8 is basically a GIANT smart phone interface.
3. Divided the 500mb as (4) 100gb (1) 90gb and (1) 10gb SWAP
4. Tried a lot, A Lot of LiveCDs to see who would boot up with The WiFi working.. Settled on Kubuntu and Vector.
5. Installed each to a partition.
6. When Installing Vector I used the std Vector 7 Gold Not the LiveCD (Better Installer)
7. While I had to Install the Broadcom-STA Wifi from Kubuntu's DVD .but Vector came on from Boot.
8. Last piece of hardware is the Atheros alx NIC module..
Here are the steps to download and compile..
Worked like a charm with the WiCD Network interface manager.
Vector is a Great Slackware Spin. I really like the all the vl tool scripts and vl-qwick-pics apps. http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/networking/alx
For the below file.. 2012-02-28 date seems to work best. Some others gave me compile errors.
Open Terminal in Download Directory
Right Click on File and (Extract Here)
Next CD into (New Install DIr) with FileManager or Terminal
To compile and install the alx driver you can do:
Again Open a Terminal in the Install Directory.
Enter Password Become root
make installNow Simply reBoot
Or you could
make unload to unload all: wireless, bluetooth and ethernet modules
make wlunload to unload wireless modules
make btunload to unload bluetooth modules
If unsure reboot.