Right! By reading until my eyes went square, I've found a way to use the abit AirPace PCI-e WiFi card under Linux with native drivers.
Standard disclaimer: I'm not a genius, just lucky. Don't take my word as law. This may break your system. That's not my fault.
Big thanks to luks911 who started me down the right track!
This HowTo assumes ethernet internet access and an otherwise working installation of any flavour of Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex. I've used it on Mythbuntu 64 bit and Ubuntu.
If you've been playing with Wicd, remove it and reinstall the standard network manager through Synaptic Package Manager.
It ought work for any card with an Atheros AR242x chipset, but is untested.
1) First thing to do is disable the suggested drivers; go to the Restricted Drivers Manager wherever it is on your system (Applications>System>Hardware Drivers on Mythbuntu) and disable "Support for Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards". There may be something else relating to HAL and Atheros based cards, but I didn't have it.
2) We need to blacklist the usual drivers, so open up your editor of choice (I use nano):
We need to add the suggested driver to this list to prevent it being loaded. Add the following to the bottom of this file:
sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
If you've been mucking about with MadWifi and/or ndiswrapper then add the relevant lines also:
# This is the wrong driver for the AirPace WiFi card
Save the file and exit the editor (<Control-x>, <y>, <Enter> in nano)
3) Now, we can find and install the driver which works.
Install the backported modules:
Go back to the Restricted Drivers Manager and "Support for 5xxx series of Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards" should be "Activated but not in use" if you click on it.
sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid
4) We can now load the driver.
Check that none of the blacklisted drivers are running:
Load the new driver:
sudo rmmod ath9k
sudo rmmod ath_pci
sudo rmmod ndiswrapper
Right-click on the network manager applet in the notification area, disable wireless, enable it again. If you now left-click on it, your network should show up on the list. Click your network and if it connects, then we've just got to make it permanent. If it doesn't, sorry but I can't help
sudo modprobe ath5k
5) Time to make it permanent.
Add it to the list of kernel modules loaded at boot:
Delete any line which is one of the modules blacklisted earlier (ndiswrapper, ath9k or ath_pci) and add the following line to the bottom:
sudo nano /etc/modules
Save and exit.
Reboot and check your WiFi still works!