I first had problems with the Bcom 4311 on my c300 when I first installed linux on it a few years back. The only one I could get to work was Ubuntu, and that kind of set the scene for me with Ubuntu from 6.04 on. But, the NDIS wrapper was a PITA. I retired the c300 when I started running Ubuntu on a new-ish laptop, without issues, after W7 died on an update and I discovered one of my recovery disks was corrupted. so, I used the c300 to try out Mint in the pursuit of a way of avoiding upgrades to Gnome/Unity – the Bcom 4311 was never an issue with Mint, as I recall, being based on Ubuntu.
I found the repositories on Mint never seemed to work smoothly for me here in this part of the world. So, having realized I would never get freeBSD running in a VM on an older PC, needing at least an Sandybridge i5, which would set me back about a grand, last week I wiped Mint and the old backup Ubuntu partition, and wiped it clean to try out freeBSD. I soon realised that BSD is still where linux was a decade ago when it comes to stuff like Bcom.
I was also having problems trying to get a Hauppage dvb-t working on my Dual Core 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04 laptop. I decided to see what would happen in the 32-bit version, so replaced freeBSD on the c300 with 32-bit Ubuntu 12.04. With a bit of tweaking getting VLC working with the Hauppage dongle was pretty painless compared to the 64-bit HDMI laptop. Lesson learned, when people say not everything works on 64-bit distro’s, they aren’t lying.
But, the Wireless was not working, despite the system identifying the need for proprietary drivers and (supposedly) installing them. I gritted my teeth to work out why the Wireless was not even switching-on. I was expecting a gruelling journey, as clearly what used to work in 10.10 wasn’t happening in 12.04; I really didn’t want to have to go back to a NDIS wrapper, especially when it used to work without that much pain, and with the stuff I’ve been reading about Bcom making the technical info available drivers to be built under Linux.
So, prepared to be pulling my hair out, I stumbled across this method from the first post-Unity-exclusive release, 11.10:
Even though I’ve never bypassed apt-update for this kind of thing before, it was a real treat. It worked just as well on 12.04. Thanks.
It leaves me with a question – why?
Why when this was working before, does it no longer work, and why do we have to remove the ‘wrong’ driver, and install the ‘correct’ one?
Sorry, but that kind of functionality/usability is far more important than sexy-interfaces like Gnome-3 or Unity, and if distro-providers lose sight of that, then they are stuffed.
Take getting DVB to work – nobody is going to take up Linux if they get a hint of what a hassle getting it working properly is going to be. Sure, MS Media Center is horrible, and a bit unreliable, and the system freezes now and then, but at least it just works (more or less) out of the box. It wouldn’t be too bad if there was a straightforward step-by-step explanation, but usually, those either simply work, or lead you into a brick wall that you then have to keep hitting your head about. There are so many different solutions for so many different releases in so many different distributions, it is actually quite frightening. I would have thought if anything was a priority for linux development, it would be getting DVB working consistently and properly.
I know it is not the distributor or developer’s fault, they can only address issues that relate to hardware they have access – but when hardware is stated to work on linux, both on linux sites devoted to video linux and manufacturers – and sometimes it can… but often it may not… the whole documentation process has to be called into question. I would question who has actually got some of this stuff working – because I see so many unresolved threads asking the question, so many snitty referrals to other threads, that often even don’t solve the problem, that I don’t thnk anybody has some of these working – otherwise they would simply post something like the guy I linked to above, which is basically, do this, this, and this, and it should work. That is why it is such a relief to come across such an elegant solution, because I could have wasted hours trying things out suggested by people who don’t really know.
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