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Re: Broadcom

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 update
      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,

      dpkg-reconfigure bcm43xx-fwcutter

    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

       UnloadModules bcm43xx


       DownInterfaces eth1

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

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