I have a shiny new Dell Inspiron 1501 running Debian amd64 stable.
The easy way to make the Broadcom WiFi stuff work is:
(a) You need a newer kernel than the 2.6.18 in stable, so
echo "deb http://www.backports.org/debian etch-backports main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get install linux-image-amd64/etch-backports
This kernel includes a reverse-engineered free driver, bcm43xx,
which should load automatically at boot time.
(b) Unfortunately the free (as in speech) driver needs a proprietary
firmware image to initialize the device. This needs to be
fetched. The distasteful process is, however, automated. Make
sure you have "contrib" in the sources.list line for the main
Debian mirror, then go
apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter
this will download material from broadcom and extract the actual
firmware into a bunch of files in /lib/firmware/. If it doesn't,
and answer "y" when it asks if it should download the firmware.
Or if that doesn't work, read
(c) Reboot into your new >= 2.6.21 kernel. Everything should work
(d) ... except that the wireless interface will stop working upon
resumption from hibernation because the firmware needs to be
reloaded. Fix by adding two lines to /etc/hibernate/common.conf
If you have a problem, be sure you're booting into the newer kernel
and do "dmesg|less" and search for bcm. It should have cheerful
messages about 4 cores and firmware revision and radio off and stuff
like that, rather than sad messages about not loading firmware. Also
when you invoke "iwconfig eth1" it should look all happy.
Barak A. Pearlmutter
Hamilton Institute & Dept Comp Sci, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
- From: "Cavan Mejias" <firstname.lastname@example.org>