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mikefranklet 12-02-2011 05:37 PM

SlackBuild broadcom-sta driver in Salix
Hi, I'm new to salix/slackware, and am quickly realizing it's not nearly as straightforward as ubuntu/debian. Even something that used to be straightforward, like installing a driver, is now a lengthy process, so I'm hoping for some help from a slackware/salix user. Thanks in advance.

So I downloaded the slackbuild and driver, both matching versions, for the broadcom-sta driver v., if that matters, and I'm using an asus 1005ha. I know it's not the stock wireless card, but I swapped it out because I hackintoshed it a couple years ago. So, I followed the howto from, but in the process of running the slackbuild script I get the following message/error: "make: ***/lib/modules/ No such file or directory. Stop", and I have no idea what this means or what the solution is to it. I doubt the solution is as simple as creating folders leading to that directory, so I didn't even bother.

First post here so please let me know if I've violated any rules or posted in the wrong spot, etc.

frankbell 12-02-2011 08:54 PM

Indeed, Slackware is not Ubuntu or Debian. I've used all three, but I started with Slackware and it remains my favorite.

Did you look at the Salix documentation and the Linux wireless page on Broadcom?

I'm currently trying to get the Broadcom card working in my primary laptop with Slack 13.37.

mikefranklet 12-03-2011 05:06 AM

Thanks Frank, I have looked at those pages. Does fw-cutter take the components of Broadcom's proprietary sta driver to make the b43 package, or does it use the free drivers?

I ask because in ubuntu I used the free driver, and it had very poor signal strength and intermittent disconnects. The proprietary sta driver had much better signal strength and almost no disconnects. I'm concerned that the process of using fw-cutter will create a package that uses the free driver. In this particular case, I'd much rather use the proprietary one, 'cause the free drivers are almost unusable, unless you're really close to the router. And even then, they're pretty sketchy.
I'd really like to try to get the SlackBuild script to finish compiling the sta driver, but I really don't know what that error means. I followed the path and the "build" file does exist, but won't open. Is it possible that kernel simply won't work with the proprietary drivers? If there really is no solution to this problem, then I'll go with the free drivers, but I'd really like to avoid it.

In the meantime, I'll try installing 13.37 instead so we're on the same page, and maybe it'll finish compiling in that version, cause salix used slackware 13.1 when I installed it.

Thanks for your help!

frankbell 12-03-2011 08:16 PM


Originally Posted by mikefranklet (Post 4540889)
Thanks Frank, I have looked at those pages. Does fw-cutter take the components of Broadcom's proprietary sta driver to make the b43 package, or does it use the free drivers?

My understanding, which is admittedly limited because I'm still learning my way around this particular issue, is that fwcutter extracts or "cuts" the firmware piece out of the Broadcom driver and makes it available to Linux.

This is how Debian describes it.

timetraveler 12-03-2011 10:11 PM

What broadcom card do you have?

mikefranklet 12-04-2011 05:30 PM

I have the 4322

timetraveler 12-04-2011 05:42 PM

It's been a long time since I used a 2.6.x kernel. In 3.x series the broadcom driver works fine.
You have to match the firmware to the kernel. The fwcutter extracts the needed bits from a broadcom device that is opensource (wifi ap). Those bits are either loaded on boot or, if compiling monolithic, the bits are compiled into the kernel. This is all from my experience with 3.x kernels. I don't know when the broadcom drivers started to work in the kernel. They started off in drivers/staging.

If using a modular kernel the fw bits go into /lib/firmware, if monolithic then there's a special Kconfig for pointing to the fw bits.
Don't know if this helps you but it may clear things up a little.

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