openSUSE 10.3 GM on Dell Inspiron 5150

January 3, 2009 · Posted in Inventory 

Suse LogoYesterday, I got back to Linux again, ever since my laptop crashed several months ago. However, getting Linux to run on laptop, especially on my ancient Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop, is not an easy feat. The main reason – Broadcom Wireless Driver.

Before I managed to get wireless to run on my laptop, running on Linux environment, I have tried several distributions, such as Ubuntu 8.10, openSUSE 11.1, Debian and kubuntu 8.10. All have failed in terms of getting wireless connectivity. This is just so weird, because in the previous versions of SUSE, such as SUSE 9.3 Pro and openSUSE 10.3, I have managed to get wireless to work using ndiswrapper. So, my only choice now is to fall back on the older versions of Linux; that is, openSUSE 10.3 GM (Gold Master) version.

It took me half a day’s work to install and get the operating system to work. Installation was a breeze, which lasted about an hour, using Network Install. However, trying getting wireless to run took me quite some time.

First of all, I had to install ndiswrapper package (as I no longer believe in bcm43xx-cutter firmware). Subsequently, I downloaded the Windows version of wireless driver. I had a couple of versions downloaded, just in case the older versions do not work as well. Eventually, I decided upon version A10 (Broadcom) driver to run the TrueMobile 1300 MPCI wireless card.

The next thing that I needed to do was to remove the bcm43xx-fwcutter firmware that Linux had installed it automatically. With that, the following commands were executed:

ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
ndiswrapper -ma
ndiswrapper -mi
modprobe ndiswrapper

Once that is done, I ran YaST (only available on SUSE) to configure the wireless card, using static IP addresses instead of DHCP. Another important thing to note is, to use Traditional Interface commands, instead of NetworkManager. After which, restart the system. The system still will not connect to the wireless, that is because it is controlled by the ifplugd daemon. All that is needed to be done is to remove that daemon, i.e.

ifplugd -k
ifplugd -a

Furthermore, I edited the configuration file at /etc/ifplugd/ifplugd.conf, by commenting out INTERFACES; that is,

#INTERFACES=”eth0″

Once the system restarts, make sure that the LAN cable is removed, that should automatically allow the connection of wireless to the designated Access Point when you configured in YaST. Generally, this should make the wireless work. If it still doesn’t, simply try the following command to pull down the interface and put it back up again.

ifdown eth1
ifup eth1

Good luck, hope you manage to make it work as well.

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