Posts Tagged ‘Linux operating system’

B43 Offline installation and other items Linux related.

April 11, 2018

Recently, I had the pleasure or you could say the displeasure of setting up an old netbook for use by a friend of mine.  Upon discovering it had an old Broadcom BCM4312 chipset in it, I had to go scurrying through the net to get it up and running.  I was able to do so using one method but discovered the installed image of Linux was outdated and about to lose support.  So again I went scurrying.  This time to download an updated image of that particular operating system.

Well, low and behold, that installed but had issues with using the first method of installing the B43 drivers offline.  So once again, I had to scurry the web for a new method to install the appropriate drivers on this old netbook so the wireless would work.  I just happened across one method that actually worked with the installation of one Ubuntu package (soon to be gone along with the Trusty Taur repositories as it’s going out of support).  This one file is for NON-FREE firmware drivers.  Once installed all I had to do was issue one command in the terminal and edit the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file adding four lines as well as edit the /etc/modules file adding b43 to get it to stick upon reboot.

I’ve since kept the deb package for other older hardware and am going to make it available via my Google Drive to the public who uses this rather ancient driver in case it disappears from Ubuntu servers forever (Ubuntu stopped producing or updating this package due to licensing issues).  The following link is for the deb package and instructions download.

This method works for various Ubuntu based distributions that are based on 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS.  I’m currently unsure if this will work with the soon to be released 18.04 LTS based Ubuntu’s and their derivatives.  I’ll assume so since this package contains NO dependencies.

For those that like Mintstick!

There are many who use Linux Mint in it’s various flavors and love the USB image writer and formatting tool in the Mintstick package.  Well, I’ve discovered some things for those that want this on their Ubuntu based distributions other than Mint.  After version 1.3.4 it can NOT be installed with the exception of the Mint distributions.  Beyond 1.3.4 it has hard wired dependencies to Mint distributions (namely Cinnamon).  However, you can still get the Debian package from the Mint repositories.  Once downloaded check for these dependencies within your Ubuntu based distro:


If these dependencies are installed (often times your package installer will pull these in for you) if not, use your package manager to install them.  Once installed, Mintstick 1.3.4 will install on your distribution.  At this time I’m unsure if the source code can be compiled on any other distribution.  Myself, I’ll continue using this to make install only USB drives.  If I want to use the same setup as I have on my laptop, I’ll use the following to generate a new image with all my applications and settings and then write it with mkusb which is a newer application that can do what unetbootin can but better.

Remastersys re-emerges!

For those of us who remember the application called Remastersys, I’ve found something new.  We all know that the original developer no longer supports this tool and it has gone the way of the wind in many Ubuntu based distributions.  NO LONGER!

Some developer at Bodhi (another Ubuntu based distribution with custom desktop based on Elementary) has aptly come up with Bodhi Builder, which for the most part is the very same Remastersys with Bodhi badging.  I discovered this while testing Bodhi and other distributions in a virtual machine.

Well I thought to myself, can it be loaded into my favorite Ubuntu based distribution (KDE Neon).  So what I did was load synaptic into the virtual machine to discover it’s dependencies.  Sure enough it CAN be done.  I have it up and running on my system.  And here are it’s dependencies and you can download Bodhi Builder in a Debian package that can be installed on any Ubuntu based distribution as long as you have these dependencies met:

dpkg-dev | genisoimage
discover | discover1

I only found one problem when installing Bodhi Builder on Neon.  Qapt would not install it.  However, Neon’s own Discover would install it as long as the dependencies were met.  You can attempt to do this with your package manager of choice.  If push comes to shove and you have all the dependencies loaded you can issue a dpkg command in a terminal to install it.

I certainly hope this page is very active as many have had issues with installing the b43 Broadcom drivers for various cards with the supported chipset.  I am also positive that the other items listed here (Bodhi Builder and Mintstick) will be loaded on many other Ubuntu based systems than just Mint distributions even as Mint makes Mintstick dependent upon their distributions (sorry Clem.  Love your distributions but since you dropped KDE I’m gone for now).  Enjoy all.  My contribution to keep older hardware still serviceable.


View of KDE Neon

August 16, 2016

First a little background information on myself. I’ve been a CompTIA A+ certified technician since 2003. My love for Linux started even before then. By 2006, I was running Linux on my computer systems without dual booting Windows of any variant. So I’ve been running Linux for approximately ten years as my sole operating system of choice.

Through those ten years, I’ve worked with two basic distributions of Linux. Redhat’s Fedora was my start but after a few years of tinkering with the system almost constantly I started shopping around for a new distribution. It was then that I happened upon Ubuntu in their early days. Many know that Ubuntu is based on Debian which is one of the oldest distributions in existence, much like Redhat.

Over the years I’ve found Ubuntu/Debian to be much faster at many things than the rpm based distributions. Updating is easier either via command line or graphical tools as well as faster. Granted packaging software is different, but the vast amount of software for Debian based distributions is much broader.

Lately I’d been shopping around for a new distribution of Linux yet again. I wanted it to be Debian based but with the options of removing existing software that I didn’t want and installing those applications that I found over the years that I liked and felt comfortable with. Over several months I’ve searched for a distribution of my liking and with my favorite desktop (KDE). Most were experimented with via a virtual machine like Oracle’s VirtualBox software.

As always, Linux is in a state of flux and updates with developers throwing out stuff that either doesn’t work or doesn’t fit their intended purpose. Gnome desktop has gone through this as recently as five years ago. They all but changed the entire look of their desktop. KDE is going through this now so finding a decent working desktop is not easy. There are other desktops out there and many have their preferences. I’ve even tried a few of the others (namely XFCE and Cinnamon). However, I almost always return to KDE.

I think I’ve finally found something of a rolling release of Linux. Or perhaps it’s just a rolling release desktop. For those keeping up on the latest Linux offerings, I’m currently writing this in LibreOffice running on KDE Neon. It’s a project started by Jonathan Riddell to run advancements out on the KDE desktop almost as they happen. The base of this is Ubuntu LTS (long term support).

Neon is an interesting project and should be praised. It’s a lean and stable operating system if you chose the user edition. It has a developer edition as well, but it’s much more prone to breakage. However, neither version isn’t without it’s faults. Of course the same can be said about any Windows system.

For the desktop, Neon runs the latest KDE. At the time of this writing it’s KDE Frameworks 5.7 with Plasma 5.7.3 in the user edition. In most cases, I’m impressed with the work of the KDE developers. The new Plasma is much snappier than the KDE 4 days. My only quibble here is the all out flatness of the desktop. It can be beautified. I’ll get to that later.

Most of your normal KDE applications are here via the Ubuntu/Kubuntu repositories. Current applications layer is KDE 16.04.3. They all seem to play nice with the system and appear to load quicker than their older versions. I’m not certain as to the reason behind this but like most Ubuntu/Debian systems it seems to just work. For all appearances Neon, is nothing more than Kubuntu 16.04 with the latest KDE applications and frameworks. The memory footprint is loads better than KDE 4. I just checked the bare desktop as I have it configured and it takes up not even five hundred megabyte of ram (I think it was like 450 or just a little more). I makes it more competitive with other lightweight desktops out there now. Otherwise it’s very stable.

Now for the minimal issues I’ve found thus far. The biggest issue I’ve found with Neon is that though KDE is still in fast development, some of the applications I use (especially those that minimize to the system tray) just don’t have full functionality with the current Plasma. One of my favorites is Qbittorrent. It’s one that I generally use to download distributions of Linux to test in virtual machine. When minimizing this and other applications to the system tray, their icons just disappear from the taskbar, the system tray, and the desktop. This may be Plasma and then again it may mean that there is a communication issue with the KDE developers and other application developers.

My second beef is more with Canonical than it is with Neon. Though I’m all for preventing “root” access to certain applications (file managers and such), there’s been an inherent or it could be intentional bug in using various applications (Dolphin and Kate to name two) with “root” access. Now there IS a workaround (it can be found at and it’s fairly easy to implement for those who are experienced with the command line. The biggest beef here is those that want to “tweak” Neon and for that matter Kubuntu’s performance need to have “root” access to these graphical applications to do so without going back to the command line. After “tweaking” system administrators can LOCK done “root” privileges.

I only truly have one other fault for Neon as well as other distributions that are moving to KDE Frameworks 5. This is the tacky or to be more blunt ugly login screen on SDDM. Yes, I understand they want to “advertise” their desktop but PLEASE! I’ve found much better login screens on Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop with MDM that are far more unobtrusive than the greeter for SDDM on any distribution. The “lock screen” and the “splash screen” are just as bad. Granted you can put up your own picture behind the greeter and the lock screen, but it would be nice if you could do the same with the “splash screen.” Here is where KDE could take a page from other desktops. Now there are options but they are not quit as fully developed as the shipping packages. I hope to work on this issue myself as I know a bit of XML and am willing to learn more.

In the past, I’ve submitted bugs, made entries into various forums, as well as sought help and assisted those with questions on Internet Relay Chat (freenode). I still do these things when necessary and will continue to do so. I’m a firm believer in open source software as well as open source operating systems. Anyone who would take the time to read Microsoft’s Privacy statement thoroughly that is now out there and thought about what they were stating there would consider open source even more. I’m not a fan of the current policy from Microsoft though I have to support their operating systems. But for me it will continue to be Linux and open source software. I think more and more corporations should consider it in the future. I know governments are.