Gumstix wifi (wlan1: link not ready)

I just spent a long time trying to diagnose an issue with a Gumstix Overo Fire and brining up WiFi (802.11b/g) on boot.  I did all the standard things (when using a desktop image, you must uninstall NetworkManager and then set up your configuration in /etc/network/interfaces. I could get a connection sometimes, but it was very unclear why it would or would not connect. So unclear that I couldn’t write a script that would bring the WiFi up on boot.

I kept getting this issue:

ADDRCONF(NETDEV_UP): wlan1: link is not ready

occasionally followed by the better:

ADDRCONF(NETDEV_CHANGE): wlan1: link becomes ready

Also, something odd was going on that I don’t understand because when the interface would configure on boot, it would rename to wlan1:

[... boot messages ...]
libertas_sdio: Libertas SDIO driver
libertas_sdio: Copyright Pierre Ossman
Remounting root file system...
libertas: 00:19:88:21:59:1c, fw 9.70.7p0, cap 0x00000303
libertas_sdio mmc1:0001:1: wlan0: Features changed: 0x00004800 -> 0x00004000
libertas: wlan0: Marvell WLAN 802.11 adapter
udev: renamed network interface wlan0 to wlan1
Caching udev devnodes

Finally, I found a solution: use an image from 2010. I’m using the omap3-console-image-overo-201009091145 build found here and mirrored locally here.