Friday, February 4, 2011

Broadcom issues on Debian GNU/Linux

Debian GNU/Linux testing installed excellently on my Dell inspiron m501R laptop. But it had the kernel 2.6.32. So I went ahead and compiled the vanilla kernel patched with the liquorix touch. After booting into the new kernel I was welcomed with a broken public network connection because of the broadcom chip. I knew that the drivers from broadcom were now "freed". I was confident that the community definitely would have done something about it. It was made true by a maintainer on arch forums who goes by the name vesath.

The work around were very simple. The patch files were all one or two lines long. But they did the trick. Thanks vesath. The compile went excellently well after applying those patches. Loaded the "wl" with the requisite crypto modules. lo and behold, I am connected to the public network and am typing this immediately.

So what did I do.

1. Download the latest driver source code from
2. Extract it in ur home directory
3. Download vesath's patches from here
4. Patch them by "patch -p1 < patch_file_name
5. Run "make"
6. Copy wl.ko generated to /usr/src/linux-2.6.37/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko
7. add "insmod /usr/src/linux-2.6.37/drivers/net/wireless/wl.ko" to /etc/rc.local
8. add "lib80211" to /etc/modules. This is a dependency module for wl.ko
9. Reboot

I just love the freedom I am having with my computing experience. Thanks to all the freedom software developers.

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Nobody can deter me away from "free as in freedom" concept seeded by Sri RMS. See to it that u dont make fun of my belief. If u think otherwise, no need to comment.