[Gllug] desktop distro with "will just work" 54g support

ccooke ccooke at gkhs.net
Mon Jul 10 13:37:53 UTC 2006

On Sun, Jul 09, 2006 at 10:53:32PM +0100, Karanbir Singh wrote:
> Martin A. Brooks wrote:
> > Hi
> > 
> > A friend of mine, who is in no way technically minded, has asked me to
> > suggest a desktop linux distro that will "just work" with his notebook. 
> > Most of the clicky distros will suit him, but I'm wondering which would
> > make his built-in broadcom 54g wireless NIC work without any fiddling.
> Two things are important here - what is the chipset on his/her laptop ?
> ATIx300 - atix700 etc now have support in the mainline kernel ( but very
> new kernels ). Most of the new intel chipsets also mostly work.
> The Broadcomm bcm43xx driver is now also in the mainstream kernel - >
> 2.6.16, but it does still need a firmware drop ( fwcutter will extract
> this firmware from the windows driver and drop in the right place, but
> this step is manual, and I've not seen an installer automate this
> process to the level of JustWorks.

It's not JustWorks(tm), but it's very close. This is how you do it on Ubuntu:

Install 'bcm43xx-fwcutter':

ccooke at slab:~$ sudo apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 16.6kB of archives.
After unpacking 102kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get: 1 http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com dapper/universe bcm43xx-fwcutter 20060108-6build1 [16.6kB]
Fetched 16.6kB in 0s (159kB/s)
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package bcm43xx-fwcutter.
(Reading database ... 220219 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking bcm43xx-fwcutter (from .../bcm43xx-fwcutter_20060108-6build1_i386.deb) ...
Setting up bcm43xx-fwcutter (20060108-6build1) ...

ccooke at slab:~$ 

Then run the 'install_bcm43xx_firmware.sh' script provided: 

ccooke at slab:~$ sudo /usr/share/bcm43xx-fwcutter/install_bcm43xx_firmware.sh
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                   Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100 1630k  100 1630k    0     0   924k      0  0:00:01  0:00:01 --:--:--  995k
<... snipped ...>
extracting bcm43xx_initval06.fw ...
extracting bcm43xx_initval07.fw ...
extracting bcm43xx_initval08.fw ...
extracting bcm43xx_initval09.fw ...
extracting bcm43xx_initval10.fw ...
ccooke at slab:~$ 

(It'll refuse to extract one of the firmware files due to it being 
out-of-date, but that's it.)

As far as I understand, the only reason this isn't fully automated 
is the licensing issue - Ubuntu is generally very careful abotu that.

for((P=10**8,Q=P/100,X=320*Q/(`tput cols`-1),Y=210*Q/`tput lines`,y=-105*Q,v=-2\
20*Q,x=v;y<105*Q;x=v,y+=Y));do for((;x<P;a=b=i=k=c=0,x+=X));do for((;a*a+b*b<2*\
P*P&&i++<99;a=((c=a)*a-b*b)/P+x,b=2*c*b/P+y));do :;done;(((j=(i<99?i%16:0)+30)>\
37?k=1,j-=8:0));echo -ne "\E[$k;$j"mE;done;echo -e \\E[0m;done # Charles Cooke
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