Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Write suggestions and new ideas in here
More ideas here http://community.linuxmint.com/idea/welcome
Forum rules
No support questions here please.
Do not post ideas for application developers. Please use GitHub for Cinnamon and Nemo ideas.

Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby RJim on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:50 am

Was helping my friend make the move to Linux Mint today, and we were at a wifi hotspot because we often spend most of our computing time there anyway :)
Well, we noticed that the installer warned that it was best to get online before beginning the install process; then we also noticed that his Wifi (Broadcom STA) needed additional drivers.

"No big deal!" I said, as I showed him that his wireless card was correctly detected in the additional drivers dialog, "All we have to do is click Activate and we'll be all set!" he smiled... but then we both did simultaneous grimaces, as we watched while the driver tool tried to download the drivers for his wireless card.

Is this situation unique? I don't think it's as unique as some would believe. Just something to consider.
Yes when I did my install, I plugged directly into my router using a wire, but not everyone has that kind of access.
I think it would be nice if the system would not have to download wireless drivers. it's sort of like having to get online to download modem drivers; if you see my point.

And with all the unused space on the DVD image, I'm sure many drivers could be included.
--Jim
RJim
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:49 pm

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Re: Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby karlchen on Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:55 am

Hello, Jim.

I am afraid you are out of luck in this case.
Proprietary drivers must not be included in the installation ISO file for legal reasons: As a rule the end user is free to download and install such drivers for free and for personal use. But Linux Mint is not allowed to distribute the drivers to their users as part of the installation ISO file.
This does not only affect wireless network card drivers, but also graphics card drivers e.g.
As a rule the official installation ISO file will hold a corresponding open source driver. This driver may or may not be good enough to be used in order to complete the Mint installation and until you have downloaded and installed the proprietary driver.
With respect to WLAN drivers, this situation is particularly tricky. In a lot of cases this will mean that you will have to use a wired connection during the Mint installation.
Though I do understand that this may be inconvenient in some cases, I do also understand that the Mint makers have got no wish of distributing proprietary drivers without the producer's consent.

Kind regards,
Karl
User avatar
karlchen
Level 12
Level 12
 
Posts: 4143
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:21 am

Re: Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby caf4926 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:08 pm

Even b43 which works with many broadcom devices now, isn't there. You have to download the firmware. Or do as I do and keep it on a pendrive as a folder /b43
Then copy that folder to /lib/firmware
You can actually do that in a live session too
But you may have to remove/rename any existing folder b43

If you want the current firmware I have, you can get it here:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3e0lL ... 3QzUW5Mc0E
Image
Mint 16 Cinnamon_64
User avatar
caf4926
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1786
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:21 pm
Location: UK Lake District

Re: Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby RJim on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:24 pm

@ caf4926

That is actually a very clever idea! I have noticed that most of the people I meet at the coffee shop seem to have Broadcom wifi cards, so your solution is incredibly helpful.
It seems a shame that we have to resort to this method though... as you say, that driver is not included anymore, but it is open source, isn't it? Does anyone know why it was removed?

Sometimes I think I have the only computer left without a Broadcom card in it. :lol:

@ Karl

Thanks for your response. I certainly understand why proprietary drivers can not be included, and I wasn't suggesting that they be included (sorry for not being clear on that). What I meant was more like what caf4926 was suggesting... I believe the open source drivers should indeed be included. They should be more than capable to at least get through the installation process.

--Jim
RJim
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby caf4926 on Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:11 pm

See: http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Dri ... 3#firmware

The Broadcom wireless chip needs proprietary software (called "firmware") that runs on the wireless chip itself to work properly. This firmware is copyrighted by Broadcom and must be extracted from Broadcom's proprietary drivers. To get such firmware on your system, you must download the driver from a legal distribution point, extract it, and install it.
Image
Mint 16 Cinnamon_64
User avatar
caf4926
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1786
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:21 pm
Location: UK Lake District

Re: Include wireless drivers on Install DVD

Postby karlchen on Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:17 pm

Hi, Jim.

Well, I have not installed Mint 14 yet. The current version is Mint13. My netbook comes with a Broadcom wifi card. LM13 apparently still came with an open source Broadcom wifi driver, because I could perform the whole installation using that driver and still used it to download and install all the 400 updates available for LM13 at that time. Only afterwards, I launched the menu item "Additional drivers" and downloaded and installed the proprietary Broadcom wifi driver.

Seems I was extremely lucky in this case, because
+ LM13 still brought along the Broadcom open source driver
+ LM13 did not crash on it, which was a frequent problem with a lot of Broadcom wifi cards, even mentioned in the LM13 release notes.

Hm, actually the LM14 release notes do not mention Broadcom at all, whereas they clearly did for LM13.
Are you sure you have bothered to enable the local repository during the installation (as explained in the release notes) and verified no open source Broadcom driver was available there?

Kind regards,
Karl
User avatar
karlchen
Level 12
Level 12
 
Posts: 4143
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:21 am


Return to Suggestions & New Ideas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests