Configuring Debian Etch on Acer Aspire 4710Z

Hardware Specs of the Laptop

  • Intel Pentium dual-core processor T2080 (1.73 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2 Cache)
  • 14.1” WXGA Acer CrystalBrite LCD
  • Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
  • 1 GB DDR (Upgraded from 512MB)
  • DVD-Super Multi DL
  • 802.11b/g WLAN
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR

I installed Debian etch which comes with the kernel 2.6.18-4-686

Graphics and sound worked with the installation. Wireless and the Acer Crystal Webcam needed too be configured.

Wireless

Doing an lspci shows that the Acer Aspire 4710Z comes with a “Broadcom Corporation Dell Wireless 1390 WLAN Mini-PCI Card (rev 01)” wireless card. I had the two choice of configuring the wireless, a) Using a windows driver and ndiswrapper and b) Using the bcm43xx driver that comes with the kernel versoin 2.6.18 and above and the bcm43xx firmware. I went for the ndiswrapper solution but later on I configured the wireless with the other option as well with a never kernel version. But first the ndiswrapper configuration:

1. Install ndiswrapper:

  • sudo aptitude install ndiswrapper ndiswrapper-utils-1.9 wireless-tools
  • sudo aptitude install ndiswrapper-source module-assistant
  • sudo m-a prepare
  • sudo m-a a-i ndiswrapper
  • This compiles and installs ndiswrapper as a module in the kernel. To load ndiswrapper module: sudo modprobe ndiswrapper

2. Downloaded the windows wireless driver from the Dell site to a temprorary directory:

  • wget <url>

3. The exe file downloaded was a self extracting file. Unzip it with unzip:

  • unzip R115321.EXE

4. This unzips a lot of file in the working directory. The .inf file that we need is in the location DRIVER/bcmwl5.inf

5. Install the windows driver:

  • sudo ndiswrapper -i DRIVER/bcmwl5.inf

6. See if the installation went successfully:

ndiswrapper -l

The output should be something like this:

bcmwl5 driver installed, hardware (14E4:4324) present

7. Lastly, add “ndiswrapper” (without the quotes) in /etc/modules.

8. Do a iwconfig to see if there now is a interface with wireless extension. On my laptop the interface shows as wlan0

Later on I upgraded my kernel to 2.6.21-2-686 from Debian testing (Lenny) and I decided to configure wireless using the bcm43xx driver which works well with the new kernel:

  • Update /etc/apt/sources.list to point to Debian testing by adding the following line:

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian testing main

  • Install the new kernel:

sudo aptitude update && aptitude install linux-image-2.6.21-2-686

  • Install bcm43xx-fwcutter which is needed to extract the firmware:

sudo aptitude install bcm43xx-fwcutter

  • Download the zip file that has the file from which we can get the firmware and unzip it:

wget http://sidulus.textdrive.com/bcmwl5sys.zip

unzip bcmwl5sys.zip (From this we get a file named bcmwl5.sys)

 

  • Extract the firmware from the sys file:

sudo bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware/ bcmwl5.sys

All the firmware file gets extracted to /lib/firmware/

  • Copy the firmware files (*.fw) to /lib/hotplug/firmware/ also:

sudo cp /lib/firmware/*.fw /lib/hotplug/firmware — Not sure whether this is needed or not …

  • modprobe bcm43xx and reboot the machine.

 

 

Acer Crystal Webcam
To configure the WebCam, we need the module uvcvideo

1. Install linux-uvc:

 

  • sudo aptitude install linux-uvc
  • sudo m-a auto-install linux-uvc
  • sudo modprobe uvcvideo

2. We need Video4Linux version 2 to make the webcam work:

 

  • sudo aptitude install libpt-plugins-v4l2

After the above configuration, the webcam works with ekiga but I could not get it to work with camorama and other webcam applications.

 

 

Bluetooth
The bluetooth was auto detected. Just needed to install the package bluetooth.

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One response to “Configuring Debian Etch on Acer Aspire 4710Z

  1. Thanks Tenzin I’d been trying to get bcm43xx working on Etch & having some right troubles. You were the first place I tried which suggested going for Lenny & it’s worked first time!

    Going to check out the rest of your blog now.

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