[SOLVED] Wifi problem with Debian on Macbook Air

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

[SOLVED] Wifi problem with Debian on Macbook Air

Postby Payload » 2017-04-27 06:44

Hello guys/gals,
I decided to install Debian on my Macbook Air (13 inch, Mid 2013) a few days ago, and I obtained myself a fresh .iso image from debian.org. But when I was installing it, the installer gave me an error, saying that "no ethernet card is detected". I googled it and downloaded the broadcom-sta-dkms driver package and attempted to add it to the installer, but it gave me another error, saying "no kernel modules were loaded". I tried to solve it but it didn't work.

The following is from the system report of wifi in my Mac:
Code: Select all
Interfaces:
en0:
  Card Type:   AirPort Extreme  (0x14E4, 0x117)
  Firmware Version:   Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (7.21.171.124.1a2)
  MAC Address:   84:38:35:67:f5:3c
  Locale:   RoW
  Country Code:   CN
  Supported PHY Modes:   802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  Supported Channels:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165
  Wake On Wireless:   Supported
  AirDrop:   Supported
  AirDrop Channel:   149
  Auto Unlock:   Supported
  Status:   Connected
  Current Network Information:


Any ideas on how to get wifi to work? Is broadcom-sta the right driver to use?
Thanks,
-- Richard
Last edited by Payload on 2017-05-14 00:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-27 22:50

Broadcom-sta does not have any compiled drivers--it just has the source code that can be compiled into a driver and installed into your kernel, but only after you also set up a driver build environment (compilers and kernel headers, not installed by default). These can be difficult to install if you are depending on that wifi device for your only Net connection, though. Let us know your situation--is this one of those Airs that has no ethernet NIC?
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-04-28 00:30

Hey steve,
I checked my Macbook Air's system report once more, and here's what I got:

>>Hardware
-- Ethernet Cards: This computer does not appear to have any PCI Ethernet cards installed.
-- PCI: This computer doesn't contain any PCI cards or devices. If you installed or connected, a PCI card or device, make sure they’re properly installed.
(the info that System Report gave me about Wi-Fi is in my previous post)

Based on that report, I guess, that my Mac doesn't have any PCI ethernet modules?
Please let me know if you want to know more information :D
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-04-28 09:08

Anybody? Please help!
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-28 17:50

The lack of any way to install anything via the Net is a real Catch 22. Debian policy on not including any non-free software is also adding to the difficulty.

I help with a Debian Jessie derivative distro called "MX 16 Linux" that includes the "wl" driver to make things much easier for these type of situations. www.mxlinux.org Can you create a Live USB with it, maybe using Etcher, and see how the Broadcom wifi works with that?

If it does, there is a procedure where I can build some actual compiled "wl" driver deb files for the stock Jessie kernel that you could install into Debian--you'll just have to accept that you have no connection for the install and fix it up afterward. I assume you are trying to install 64-bit?
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby stevepusser » 2017-04-28 23:00

Here, for example, is a 64-bit deb package for the stock Jessie kernel about a year ago I put up for someone in the same type of situation, which worked: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxE7w ... UlrYjVNMU0
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: Krita 3.3.2.1, Pale Moon 27.6.0, Audacity 2.2.0, mpv 0.27.0, Corebird 1.7.1, Firefox 57.0, SMPlayer 17.11.2
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-04-30 02:07

Hey steve, I've got both a good news and a bad news.

good news: The package you provided worked! I loaded it from a USB during the installation, and I successfully connected to my wifi and configured the network mirror, and the installation
finished without giving me a single error message!

bad news: after the GNOME desktop loaded, I opened Firefox and there is no wifi connection. I typed "ip link" in Terminal and it only showed me the loopback interface. All the wlan0
interface that was shown during the installation is nowhere to be seen.

Any idea? I'm totally lost....
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-05-06 03:14

Somebody help, please....
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby arochester » 2017-05-06 08:20

How about the information published by my old mate Alistair Ross? https://linuxnewbieguide.org/how-to-ins ... -computer/

There is a comment that says
I’ve spent days trying to install Ubuntu on my Macbook Air 13 2013 for at least five times without any success. With the help of your guide, I have now successfully dual-booted Ubuntu 14.04 on my Mac!!! Can’t thank you enough!!!
"Something to be aware of: Debian is a core or source distribution. This means there are many Debian-based distributions. THEY ARE NOT DEBIAN."
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby JLloyd13 » 2017-05-06 12:59

Payload wrote:Hey steve, I've got both a good news and a bad news.

good news: The package you provided worked! I loaded it from a USB during the installation, and I successfully connected to my wifi and configured the network mirror, and the installation
finished without giving me a single error message!

bad news: after the GNOME desktop loaded, I opened Firefox and there is no wifi connection. I typed "ip link" in Terminal and it only showed me the loopback interface. All the wlan0
interface that was shown during the installation is nowhere to be seen.

Any idea? I'm totally lost....


Have you checked the driver was still installed post-installation? Might seem obvious... but if you just need to install his driver again inside your fresh install that'd be simple
Laptop: Debian GNU/Linux 9 'Stretch' 64bit
Read: https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian/
We are the Universal OS. Be patient, give help, teach the Debian way.
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-05-09 07:16

Hello,

@Arochester thank you for that guide! But don't apt-get require a valid internet connection first? (p.s. I'm trying to tether internet from my Raspberry Pi to my laptop via usb. Any idea how to do this??)

@JLloyd13 How can I re-install the package I used during the installation? I tried it but it gave me an error: This package could not be installed
Is there a command to do it?

Thanks!
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Re: Wifi configuration problem when installing Debian on Mac

Postby Payload » 2017-05-14 00:31

Thanks for all your help! I solved the problem by downloading the package that failed beforehand, the broadcom-sta-dkms package from the official Debian website. I just opened it with Package Install and rebooted my computer, then Wifi menu appeared in Settings!!!
-- Richard

Here's a summary of what I did, for those who have the same problem:
1. Install Debian as usual, skip the network configuration part (select "no Ethernet card")
2. From another computer, download the broadcom-sta-dkms package (https://packages.debian.org/search?keyw ... m-sta-dkms) and put it onto a USB drive (MBR, FAT)
3. Boot into Debian, insert the USB, right-click on the .deb package, open with "Package Install". Reboot after installation.
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Re: [SOLVED] Wifi problem with Debian on Macbook Air

Postby VentGrey » 2017-05-14 03:59

Here, for example, is a 64-bit deb package for the stock Jessie kernel about a year ago I put up for someone in the same type of situation, which worked: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxE7w ... UlrYjVNMU0

Steven really did a good job there. :mrgreen:
If my memory does not fail you can compile the driver to match a specific kernel.
I also followed this guide from a guy that installed Gentoo on a Macbook (Yes, some people are just insane)

Download fresh version of driver from http://www.lwfinger.com/b43-firmware/ .
In my case it’s http://www.lwfinger.com/b43-firmware/br ... 46.tar.bz2
Put it on created installation media in drivers directory.
After booting in SystemRescueCD please do the following:
cp /livemnt/boot/drivers/broadcom-wl-6.30.163.46.tar.bz2 .
tar -xvf broadcom-wl-6.30.163.46.tar.bz2
b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-6.30.163.46.wl_apsta.o
Remove bad modules if loaded and reload b43:
rmmod b43 bcma
modprobe b43
b43 will not give you wireless-N but wireless-B/G should be sufficient to perform initial gentoo installation. Later I will show how to install broadcom-sta driver with wireless-N support.

“I felt myself on the edge of the world; peering over the rim into a fathomless chaos of eternal night.”
― H.P. Lovecraft after trying Debian SidImage
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