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2011 April 4 [Monday]

b0rked Broadcom bcm43xx drivers

Dear Broadcom, Despite your late gesture of opensourcing the bcm43xx wireless drivers, I continue to have issues -- Last week a kernel upgrade from lucid not only broke the driver but managed to kill the nvidia drivers for good measure -- it was easier to take a data backup and do a clean re-installation of Lucid than waste a lot of time figuring out how your bcm43xx driver broke the nvidia drivers killing my graphics display totally. 

However, I was mistaken about it being a kernel upgrade (to 2.6.35) issue as the peace lasted for hardly 3 days -- since I am blessed with having to start my monday morning troubleshooting your broken hardware drivers (on 2.6.32-21 generic kernel version) instead of getting actual work done.
lucid@ubuntu:~$ dpkg --list |grep b43
ii  b43-fwcutter             1:012-1build1          Utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmwar

lucid@ubuntu:~$ dpkg --list |grep bcmwl
ii  bcmwl-modaliases       Modaliases for the Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA

So the "b43-fwcutter" utility package exists on my system (as I had installed and activated the drivers) but something between each reboot was blocking the drivers as the link would suddenly be hard blocked. This despite me taking the trouble to NOT upgrade from the 2.6.32-21 generic kernel version.

Then, I checked the B43 blacklisted file:

lucid@ubuntu:~$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/* | egrep '8180|acx|at76|ath|b43|bcm|CX|eth|ipw|irmware|isl|lbtf|orinoco|ndiswrapper|NPE|p54|prism|rtl|rt2|rt3|rt6|rt7|witch|wl'
# which ath5k cannot recover. To prevent this condition, stop
blacklist ath_pci
blacklist eth1394
# replaced by p54pci
blacklist prism54
# replaced by b43 and ssb.
blacklist bcm43xx
blacklist uart6850
blacklist twl4030_wdt

and sure enough, "bcm43xx" was indeed on the blacklist.....nice, girdle up for more yakshaving!

Next, I paid a visit to the "blacklist.conf" file and commented out the line "blacklist bcm43xx".

Rebooted for it to take effect. Nada, Zilch, still no wifi.

lucid@ubuntu:/lib/firmware/b43$ ls
a0g0bsinitvals5.fw  a0g1bsinitvals13.fw  a0g1initvals5.fw     b0g0bsinitvals9.fw  lp0bsinitvals13.fw  lp0initvals14.fw    n0initvals11.fw  ucode14.fw
a0g0bsinitvals9.fw  a0g1bsinitvals5.fw   a0g1initvals9.fw     b0g0initvals13.fw   lp0bsinitvals14.fw  lp0initvals15.fw    pcm5.fw          ucode15.fw
a0g0initvals5.fw    a0g1bsinitvals9.fw   b0g0bsinitvals13.fw  b0g0initvals5.fw    lp0bsinitvals15.fw  n0absinitvals11.fw  ucode11.fw       ucode5.fw
a0g0initvals9.fw    a0g1initvals13.fw    b0g0bsinitvals5.fw   b0g0initvals9.fw    lp0initvals13.fw    n0bsinitvals11.fw   ucode13.fw       ucode9.fw

lucid@ubuntu:~$ cd /lib/firmware/brcm
bash: cd: /lib/firmware/brcm: No such file or directory

Then, a sudo ln -s bcm43xx-0-610-809-0.fw bcm43xx-0.fw and sudo ln -s bcm43xx_hdr-0-610-809-0.fw bcm43xx_hdr-0.fw should have loaded and activated the drivers after a reboot. It did not, forcing me to switch to a wired connection on a laptop. WTF!

Broadcom, fiddling with "bcm43xx" is a sure-fire way to kill time. Thankyou very much for the Yak-shaving experience --it serves as a constant reminder to me, why I will never (unknowingly) buy another Broadcom driven product in future, ever! KTHXBAI.

UPDATE:: Its a "networking disabled on boot" bug in Ubuntu-Lucid and Maverick that has a fix (but not yet committed for Maverick):
[0] http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1594577
[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager/+bug/524454
[2] https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx#Installing%20b43%20drivers
[3] http://www.qc4blog.com/?p=857

I've tried everything mentioned in the above threads to no avail. Wifi is out cold!

2008 January 4 [Friday]

philosophical differences

So Intel has quit the OLPC project due to philosophical differences. Like many, I was wondering how long this (AMD,XO,Intel) marriage would last. I wonder why Intel ventured there in the first place, because AMD was there first (?) and Intel didnt want to lose $$$ (brand recall in marketing terms indirectly means $$$, which AMD would get via project associativity).

“I think that as an organization, Intel is about competition; they are not about learning,” said Mr. Bender, the group’s president for software and content.

Duh, unless you dont share an iota of the same philosophy, ideals or whatever of the OLPC project, it did not make much sense to try and ride two boats at the same time (read, Classmate PC). What a shame !!

2007 May 13 [Sunday]

unable to install Ubuntu-7.04 on HP-Compaq-V6320

Has anyone tried installing Ubuntu 7.04 on a Compaq V6320 ? The installation crashed with some fsck errors that disappeared too fast for me to see. Presently the installation CD is stuck in the drive and the machine does not respond.

The problem has been reported earlier on the forums : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=2520755

If anyone knows how to solve this please leave a comment.

** update **

Managed to pop out the CD with a manual eject. On my laptop the hole is just to the right of the eject button on my CD/DVD drive. Took a straight paper clip and gently pushed it in to open the door :-)

2005 October 15 [Saturday]

a hundred dollar laptop

I wish the one laptop per child project by nicholas negroponte had chosen "ubuntu" instead of red-hat on AMD chips but most importantly this project should come to india and brighten many kids lives :-) .... provided the government 'babus' in the hallowed ministry of education cared about their common citizens.

So why does it have to be via government participation only as there are so many street kids here who would be able to learn and benefit. Surely, a million laptops would be financially feasible if some large corporates sponsored such learning initiatives by forming a joint venture for a social cause. Many corporate giants and IT companies definitely have the cash to chip in but do they have the heart ? The profit-rich BSNL and MTNL can definitely donate some internet bandwidth to shools and collect some good karma, given that they squeeze and rip-off the regular paying customers.