Burning Music CD Backup is not simple

07.12.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Recently, I needed to backup a Music CD with my Linux OS.  Sadly, this was not simple.  This post discusses using Linux to back up a music cd. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t intend to promote or sell my backups.  Yes, I am aware that

  • On Mac and Windows, music cd backup woes aren’t worth discussing since easily-obtainable programs exist
  • This is an area of computer use that can raise eyebrows

Why backup our music CDs?

Safekeeping in a familiar location; your personal computer

If I backed up my Led Zeppelin CD “In Through the Out Door”, then I wouldn’t be upset about it (it’s missing). Of course, music CDs are not as expensive as they were before the days of digital purchase, digital download, and youtube, but it’s the principal of it.

Easily encode & transfer music for different formats & players

For example, you make a digital backup of “In Through the Out Door”. Your wife wants to listen to it on her iPad in high quality audio format.  Your nephew would also like to listen to it, but has limited audio file type support and less storage space on his iPod Touch.  With a full digital backup of the cd, you can easily encode the songs to satisfy both requirements without having to take the original music cd out of its case multiple times.

You covered “why”, ? “how”

I will first give citation to the source of the solution that worked for me. See the first post from user noz in How to dump an Audio CD to ISO from the freebsd forums for the instructions. I found a “gotcha” (possibly) overlooked in the “Playing it” section;  Note: Playing the BIN without conversion will give you an earful of static.  This is notable, it also applies to the burn process.  You want to burn the converted (not original) bin file.  I got this wrong the first time. To avoid the mistake the 2nd time, I did the following:

  • Kept the file names the same for both original and converted bin files.
  • Used sed to replace the source (in TOC) to the converted bin file. Sed was quicker than a GUI text editor to accomplish same [find/replace] task.

For example, if your original bin = in-out-door.bin, converted bin = in-out-door-converted.bin, and TOC file is in-out-door.toc

sed -i -e ‘s/in-out-door.bin/in-out-door-converted.bin/’ in-out-door.toc

You might prefer to rename the .bin files and leave the toc as-is. It’s up to you.

Old Hardware, Old Software

06.27.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  1 Comment »

Hello all. Feels like it was only yesterday talking about this old Emachines T-5048 computer.  This machine has been through a lot. Many distros tried, several distros failed.

The good news is, that in the process I learned that Old Hardware is just not going to be treated fairly by new software/OS Releases. It’s a reality that I used to think only applied to MS Windows users.  You may remember the days when you wanted to run Windows 2000, but it just would not work right until you made “some” investment in new hardware.  Me, I was lucky. I only needed to purchase a new video card.

This computer has been running Crunchbang 10 for a few months now.  While the response time is really fast, (due to its light resource footprint) I had to heavily modify the grub bootloader to get it to properly boot.  Changes such as turning off ACPI and LAPIC.  I thought the only downside was that I’d have to manually press a button to turn off the machine.  Sadly, I think it goes beyond that.  Playing sound files or CDs  produces a poor experience.  Music would sometimes start and then stop, or stutter (don’t know which is worse) and I attribute this to hardware on the machine.

To know for sure. I installed an old (yet still supported LTS OS version). I first chose Kubuntu 10.04 LTS for two reasons.  First, it is old (below kernel 3). Secondly, it’s KDE4, which I’ve never tried.  I enjoyed the depth of possible customizations, but disliked the slow performance.  I need a responsive desktop, and this machine cannot run KDE properly.

My next (and current) choice was to try one of my favorite “other” distros – Linux Mint 9 XFCE Isadora (an LTS based on Ubuntu 10.04). I chose XFCE version of Mint since I ran a dual-boot Xubuntu with Windows XP on an old DELL Laptop.  Now that I’m dual-booting with 2 Linuxes, I think I will leave Mint XFCE on here, as it seems a great balance of speed and visual appeal. KDE looks better (visually) than XFCE, but again, performance and the ability to get the most out of this aging hardware are crucial to me. Also, in comparison to Crunchbang– Crunchbang is faster, but with XFCE the programs I install wind up in the application menu.  In Crunchbang you have to add just about every program you install in a manual fashion. There might be a tool out there that does this automagically, but I haven’t found it yet.

Edit; Found it. And boy do I feel dumb. I’ve been using Crunchbang Linux for years, and the answer was only a Forum-search away. To access all of your installed applications, follow the advice to show Debian Menu.

So far, music playback works great, and hey, I can also issue the shutdown command and walk away, knowing the machine will power itself off. Yay!

Ubuntu 12.04 on Macbook 6,2

05.20.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS edition installed great on this Macbook.  I chose the 32-bit edition as 32-bit was recommended from the Mint tutorial that I first used as a guide for dual-booting linux and MacOS.

I was running Ubuntu 11.04 on the machine, and was hesitant to try and upgrade it “in place” to Ubuntu 12 based on experiences with my Desktop PC. The Desktop PC I’m referring to is the E-machines T5048 as discussed in my other post “Linux saves older computer“.

Basically, I did not want to run into the same ACPI-related issues where Linux Kernel 3 would not be supported.  Also there was an apprehension towards the Unity desktop environment.  This is, mind you, after trying it out on Ubuntu 11.

I was able to install 12.04 using the CD-rom install.  All went great, no bootup issues at all. Whew, what a relief to not see the forever hanging “waiting for /dev to fully populate”.  And with that, I am now dual booting Mac OSX with Precise Pangolin.  And because it’s an LTS, I can leave it on there for a good long time.  As per wikipedia, “this [12.04] release will be supported for five years“.

Unity

When Ubuntu made Unity the default environment, I did not like it at all.  I found myself immediately searching Google for ways to get that GNOME 2 look and feel back.  I just didn’t like or understand why Unity changed a lot of keyboard shortcuts that I grew to enjoy using either.  But the general ease-of-use, along with large community (interwebs) support of Ubuntu makes it such a “go-to” Operating System.  Of course, this is going to vary from person to person.  Now that I’ve used it for a while, it’s not so bad.

I’ve found that with some patience, and the willingness to learn new things, I can actually function in this environment.  I chose the auto-hide feature of the Unity dock to save on screen real estate (13.3″ macbook).  Another reason I chose auto-hide is I quite love the ‘minimalist desktop appearance’ that Crunchbang (with Openbox) provide, so now I have an all-out Ubuntu long term release, with a lightweight look to it.  Lightweight in looks is fine, as this machine is (so far) keeping fine pace with the resource demands of Ubuntu 12.

Another Old PC, another Linux install

05.19.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Hi all, this post is being written from another install of Crunchbang Linux.  Why is this worth mentioning? Well, it really isn’t worth mentioning, but I did anyway.

Recently I acquired a PC that belonged to a friend of mine. I offered $20 and, well, it has its limitations, but what do you want for 20 dollars, right? Right. Here’s the technical details: Shuttle XPC with an AMD64 Proc., DVD-ROM Optical Drive, 1GB of RAM, and a 20GB Hard disk.  My intended purpose for this machine is to perform software experiments and testing.  Nothing crazy mind you, so spending money to fix/improve it would be money wasted.

So, being a Linux enthusiast, I gave several Distros a test drive on this machine. Distros such as Mint (Debian, LXDE, Gnome), Crunchbang Linux, and Ubuntu (main Gnome 2/3, and Lubuntu), as these are my recent (and old) favorites. You can say I prefer the Debian Based Linux OS, but that’s a story for another blog post.

The results: (because surely a fair amount of those actually reading this blog are curious to learn what actually happened).

Linux Mint Results:

Mint 12 LXDE would not install, Mint 12 Debian Edition crashed mid-way thru installation, and Mint 11 GNOME was the winner in the Stable Mint environment for this machine.

Ubuntu Results:

Ubuntu 10.04.4 got most of the way through the install and crashed.  Lubuntu 12.04 installed nicely, but had lots of crashing during web browser use, so bye-bye. Ubuntu 11.04 GNOME was ok.  Ubuntu 12.04 GNOME not even a consideration based on inability to install a recent Linux Mint.  My Ubuntu goal was to use a long-term-support release if possible.

Crunchbang Linux Results:

This particular machine has had Crunchbang installed on it several times over the last 2-3 months, for stability tests and Linux multi-boot (GRUB) experiments.  I must say, each and every time the installation was a success, and the speed of the Openbox environment (which are the main reasons I use Crunchbang on my other Linux Desktop PC) performs superbly.

There’s just something about this machine I guess.  With 1GB of Ram, and (seemingly) other hardware-related issues, Crunchbang fits right in with its low-resource footprint.  Based on your hardware, the age and condition of said hardware, some software is just going to work better than others.

This is why I love Linux. When faced with a challenge, try, try again until you find what you want in terms of customization, efficiency of use, and last but not (by a longshot) least —stability. I cannot emphasize this enough.

The next article will discuss SugarCRM, and why it’s awesome to have an extra PC around.

Cheers!

 

Linux Saves Older Computer

01.29.12

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  1 Comment »

I have an old computer. I say old although I don’t really know what “Old” means. It’s an E-machines T-5048 computer with a P4 Processor running at 3.06GHz with 2 Gig of Ram (the system’s maximum).

When I got the machine, it had Windows XP Media Center, and I got rid of that in favor of Linux. The machine’s sticker read “Vista Ready”. So the machine had hardware that can run Vista. Whoopee. The next question is, “Should I run Vista?”, and based on poor experiences with it on other machines. The answer is a short and quick “No. No Way. Not Now. Not Ever”.

With Linux, the machine ran just fine for years with several different flavors, notably Linux Mint, Crunchbang, and at the end of the summer 2011, Ubuntu. Ubuntu 11.04 ran fine on it, worked right out of the box, no hassles. Eventually, it was time to upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10.

Or was it?

I wanted to do a fresh install from CD. While using the GUI “Update your OS now with this click of a button and when it’s all done you’ll have the latest and greatest” button is nice and convenient, but I wanted a fresh start for better performance. Remember, it’s an old machine. So I downloaded and burned the .iso image for 11.10, installed it, and then…. on restart … no boot. At all. Machine hang on “Waiting for /dev to fully populate“.

Nice. Lovely. Exciting, boring, and scary all at once. I am so happy that I backed up of all my files before attempting the upgrade. Yes, do back up your stuff. Unexpected Boot failures are one of the reasons “why” a backup is so important.

So, being a Linux geek for several years, you learn to keep a toolbox full of rescue CDs, alternate OS downloads, and partitioning software as well.

Being a computer nerd, you learn to troubleshoot things in a way that hopefully make sense. You try to repeat the issue and where possible, isolate the cause of it. Anything “/dev” is usually a tell that somethings wrong with a “device” which is typically hardware-related.

So I checked to see if the CD-burner was bad. I donwloaded a USB version of the Ubuntu Live CD, and got same result, machine would not boot up. Ruled out the CD-rom at that point. Next, on to the hard drive. Bad hard drives don’t always let you know that they are going to fail. I swapped out the current drive with an older drive of the same architecture (ATA). Although it had less storage space, (20 Gig as opposed to 160) it was just perfect for troubleshooting. If I could repeat the same error with a different Hard Drive, then the problem isn’t the hard drive (that is unless both drives were bad for exactly the same reasons).

I then tried other modern Linux Distributions, installing their latest OS. Same problem, so at least that lets Ubuntu off the hook.

At that point, I kind of figured that another piece of hardware, that was probably not worth fixing, was broken or damaged to the point of “no boot up for you” status. If it’s not worth fixing well, the computer has got to go, right? I started shopping around for a good deal on a modern, fast PC with NO Operating System. Makes no sense to pay for the OS when you’re only going to wipe it out anyway in order to put Linux on it. Not interested in dual-booting for my main workstation. It’s Linux. Period. The best price I could find was an HP Machine (with Windows 7 Home Premium) for $300.00 –not a bad price mind you for a new system.

However, instead of immediately breaking out the credit card, I felt there was one last thing I thought I should test. That’s right. Since Linux gives you so many choices of Operating Systems, it was time to experiment in that domain.
Since I tried swapping out current hardware for old hardware to test, it was time to swap out current “software” for older software and then test again.

Knowing that Ubuntu’s normal release cycle is every 6 months, it did not make sense to reload 11.04 as it will (at some point via upgrade) request that I upgrade to the 3.0 kernel. I don’t think this machine can run that kernel. Something to do with ACPI. I’ve written on a few support forums asking why the machine won’t boot up with latest Linux kernels. There has been no “direct” answer, but after a lot of googling it seems that on machines that were able to run Ubuntu 11.04 with no issue, but can’t boot 11.10 claim it’s some sort of issue with ACPI, I figured perhaps that’s my problem as well.

So I would need an older Linux version, but one with longer term support. Enter Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS. Installed and booted this machine (yes, the one that I’m typing this post on right now) with no problems. Got the machine running quite fast as well, and it boots up in a reasonable amount of time too.
Until I find an easy way to make modern Linux run on this machine (and by that I mean the ability to boot up) I’m going to stick with 10.04 LTS until its support lifecycle concludes (April of 2013). By that time, I’d be running that software for more than a full year beyond the day when I thought I’d have to replace this machine. Nice. Linux saves the day, and saved me the cost of buying a new computer.

Cheers,
Adam

Mobile Development Framework?

10.11.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Hi all.  Although this post isn’t about Linux, I thought I would put a question to the group.

Can anyone recommend an easy to use and learn Mobile Framework?

I’m looking for an easy-to-use, yet flexible way to develop Web Applications for Smartphones.  So far I have been trying out Sencha Touch and it’s pretty good.  The only hiccup (which is not really a hiccup) is that the level of “paid support” is much better than the ‘unpaid’ support.  I’ve subscribed to the forum and made a few posts, but I’ve been told (on various other blogs) that you might not get a response all-that-soon since the Sencha Team is first charged with assisting the paying customers.

Again, I have no issue with this concept.  Paying customers keep your lights on.  End of story.

Other than that, I have tried jQuery Mobile, which is great, but has certain limitations on what can be scrolled and what cannot be scrolled within a given container div.

The Sencha Framework is open source, and it’s got great examples to look at and use.

If you know of another or better way to do Mobile Web sites that come close to the look and feel of a “Native” smartphone application, then please, please comment here.  Thanks all!

Untar Several Files to a directory

09.10.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

Today we’re going to talk about the UNIX tar command.

Specifically, how to use tar to extract or unpack several archives (tar.gz files).  Only – instead of extracting them to the same directory, we’re going to extract them to a named directory.

This utility came in handy after downloading close to 10 gkrellm themes from http://www.muhri.net . I have used the Gkrellm Monitoring tool over the years and was always disappointed with the (somewhat) `boring` stock themes.  I mean, if you’re going to have something sitting on your desktop, using resources to report on resources, then why not have it look slick, sick, or at the very least—”easy on the eyes”… right?

Why would anyone want to unpack tar.gz files with the command line in Linux when there are GUI tools available?

Right, the linux OS comes packed with tons of GUIs to handle files and archives.  We have programs such as FileRoller.  I have used it but imagine you have downloaded (oh I don’t know, twelve) archives that are themes for gkrellm.  Would you really want to use the manual effort of unpacking all of them first, directing the GUI (with more clicks) where to save the extracted files to?

What if I told you that you can accomplish the same in the Linux Shell with a basic loop over a set of tar.gz files?  You’d probably want to take the quick way I bet.  I know I did.

Ok, get on to it already.  Right. Here we go.  Firstly, I’d be a bad dude if I didn’t at least name some links that I googled along the way to building the handy-dandy loop I’m about to share with ye.  http://lejalgenes.com/ very simple layout, 2 commands that do the trick.  And http://www.linuxquestions.org/ which has the command, and provides advice too.

Using the basic concept of the command, which unpacks a tar.gz to a named directory:

tar -zxvf tarball.tar.gz -C <directory>

Then, using a loop construct, where the find command provides a list of tar.gz files, we iterate over the list, unpacking each one to the specified directory following the -C.

The setup:

  1. Have all of your (downloaded) tar.gz files in the same directory.  You may want to get rid of archives that are unrelated to gkrellm themes.
  2. CD to that directory.  We will extract to the .gkrellm2/themes.
for fyl in $(find . -type f -name "*gz");\
do tar -zxvf $fyl -C /home/awsmeadam/.gkrellm2/themes; done

And that’s it.  Done.  Did you download more tar.gz themes?  Ok, run the command again.

If I run the command again, the previously-unpacked files will get over-written, won’t they?

Yes, they will.  In most cases, this is bad.  But since this is a theme unpack, you really have little to worry about unless you’ve edited or otherwise customized a theme.

Enjoy, and happy Linux-ing.

 

 

 

Love me some jQuery

06.05.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  No Comments »

I’ve been a Web Developer for quite some time, but within the last few months I’ve been using jQuery and it’s so cool that it will most likely find its way into any and every website I work on.

If you’ve visited a website and observed “Wow, that’s a slick-looking info window” (as opposed to those boring and obnoxious framed popup windows that we immediately dismiss coz they are product ads/spam, or other crap) –

the window was quite possibly coded using some jQuery magic.

Want cool Navigation menuing? jQuery got it.  Want to add Client-Side validation to your HTML Forms with far, far less lines of javascript code? jQuery can do it.  A Tabbed interface, transitions, fades, AJAX-Based form posts? jQuery, jQuery,jQuery, and oh… jQuery.

What is jQuery?

jQuery's website is titled "jQuery: The Write Less, Do More, JavaScript Library"

And you can believe it when they say you will be doing more with less (code).  The part about being cross-browser is true, after a fashion.  I say that because, as a Web Developer, it is still incumbent upon you to check your site/application in as many browsers as possible (just like regular javascript).  Now, since I am a recent convert (and definitely a fan of jQuery), it does take the headache out of doing client-side programming.

For close to a year now, I’ve been either modifying existing jQuery UI elements (such as accordions) or have been adding tabbed interfaces or wonderful modal dialogs to my applications.  If you’re not using jQuery (or another library) to help with your code development, I suggest you do so, it will make your life easier.

Are there tools that can help me learn jQuery?

Yes, there are quite a few, and to list all of them would be for another post (or another blog site) for another day.  For now, I’ll share with you two tools that have helped me.

One of them you probably know about, the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) you can join the jquery channel, there are lots of active users there, willing to help.  Like any IRC channel, be prepared to explain what you’re doing, how you’re trying to do it, and of course, don’t be a fool.  These people are there to help you help yourself.  They are not your personal tech/coding support, so don’t foster any expectations of the people there.  In other words, follow the usual IRC etiquette of asking your question to the entire room/channel/group, and not in I-M style to a single individual who has helped you before.  As I have experienced (yes, I’m sharing a lesson learned the “not-so-easy-way” that just because someone helps you out once or twice in the channel, that they are NOT your go-to resource when something else on a project has you stumped.

The other tool that I have found invaluable when testing out jQuery code for functionality and cross-browser support is jsfiddle.  Imagine you’re working on a Web-based project for a Client.  The Client is paying for (among other things) a level of confidentiality that you would not want to violate at any time for any reason.  When asking for help at the jQuery channel, it is highly likely that someone will ask to see your “fiddle” (sounds kinda personal and creepy LOL) and why would they want to see it??  I’ll tell you why.  It’s a way for other developers to see your code and approach, laid out in an easy-to-see (and update) format.  A few times that I’ve gotten help came from someone pointing out (either by comment or by direct edit) a mistake in either my syntax or approach.  jsfiddle also separates your code sample from the rest of your application and that usually lends itself to a faster solution than sharing an entire script file with someone you really don’t know.

Ubuntu 10.10 on Macbook 6,2

03.12.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  1 Comment »

Hello all, I write this from the OS-X side of the dual-boot Macbook 6,2

For a few weeks now I’ve been trying out different distros to replace Crunchbang 9.04 as my Linux OS.

It has not gone as well as I would have liked.  I first tried Mint Debian and liked that the sound worked right away but there were a few things that I didn’t like about it (or at least the current state of it):

  • I could not get wifi right away.  This was annoying but solved with a cable.
  • It never seems up-to-date due to problems with the update manager (Mint mentions this, but I proceeded anyway).
  • I didn’t think it would crash “that much”.  I’ve been using Linux since 2003 and the last time I remember crashing an OS was when I tried to run Mandrake on a Compaq 7360 with an AMD K6.  That machine ran Ubuntu and even Fedora Core 4 (slowly yes, but without crashing).  I crashed Yellow Dog Linux several times on a Powermac 7300, but I digress. The point is, maybe I should not depend so heavily on Mint Debian right now.  And again, the good people at Mint do specify that things may happen in the way of stability.  That, i guess, is the downside of using a bleeding-edge distro.  Crashes will occur. Hats off to you Mint, it is a cool distro, but not for me right now.

The next distro that I tried was Crunchbang 10 or “Statler” as I have grown to adore the lightweight Openbox environment and since I ran Crunchbang 9.04 already on this machine, I was thinking “this was the one” for a few other good reasons:

  • It was a newer version of Crunchbang
  • It changed from being Ubuntu-based to Debian-based (Ubuntu-based is NOT a bad thing)
  • Historically-speaking (9.04) was very stable, even though the #! site mentions it might make the system go “Crunch Bang”

So I downloaded the iso, checked its MD5 sum, and burned the installer.  Had some kind of issue where it would not boot after the HD install (maybe the media was a bad CD? dunno.  Maybe I’ll try it again on a new cd).

Next, I was thinking of trying out a different, unknown flavor of Linux altogether: Archbang Linux, which is basically Arch Linux with an Openbox as its default environment.  The only issue, is that I was surprised to find a text-based installer.  I’ve used text-based installers before, but since this is a macbook, there’s a “gotcha” when it comes to installing the boot loader.  You need to install it on the same partition that holds your distro (and not the MBR). So if you do install it on MBR it’s a bit of work to get the system back to where it was before.

The Archbang partitioner just seemed clumsy to me, and I did not want to lose time by accidentally hosing the MBR or deleting any of the mac partitions, so I just bailed out on Archbang.  I can always use the LIVE CD part of it, but I don’t think it’ll help much because it was really the package manager difference that I was planning to learn my way around.

Thanks for reading all the pre-amble (or pre-ramble).

Even though ubuntu has a planned release next month, I needed an OS immediately, so I went with Ubuntu Maverick.  I was impressed right away. I have not used Ubuntu since 7.04 in favor of trying other distros, getting away from GNOME in favor of speed.  I did need to run a cable to get connected to the Internet, but I knew this “Up-Front” as the installer GUI requested that I connect, plug in the AC Charger, etc.

So, I’m happy with 10.10 and will use the onboard tools to upgrade to next version when it’s available.  The boot up time I think could be faster, and for some reason I get a blinking dash for 5-15 seconds before I get to the login prompt.  But I think that’s the worst of my issues for now. It hasn’t crashed at all.

Previously, any ubuntu-based distro needed tweaking to get the sound working on this macbook.  This time, with Ubuntu, it was as simple as running apt-get on the command line to install gnome-alsamixer and the sound was good-to-go!

Cheers, and happy Linux-ing.

Adam

Fix Wifi: Mint Debian on Macbook

02.25.11

Posted by adamlinuxhelp  |  4 Comments »

Hi all, welcome to my first (I think) post for the year 2011.

I have been planning to replace my Linux OS (Crunchbang 9.04) with a more “modern” OS for my Macbook 13.3 which dual-boots Snow Leopard 10.6 and Linux.  Of course the choices of distros are nearly limitless, but since my “free time to tinker” is not what it used to be, I chose to install the Linux Mint “Debian” Edition (as of this writing, it’s a few months old).

Why Debian from Mint?  That was easy.  Mint is a relatively stable product in general.  I have used it over the last few years with very little problems.  The “Debian” choice from Mint is a “rolling” distro.  The theory is, you install it, and the updates come to you.  Neat eh?

While there are advantages to refreshing your Linux OS once per yer (or so), as I mentioned, I like having a somewhat stable environment for those hours/days that I do have available to tinker.  Also, Crunchbang 9.04 is out of date, although I used it with much success.  They also do not plan to make it a rolling distribution.  A rolling distro would cement my vote.

If you’re reading this, you made it past the intro, (thank you) your patience will now pay off.

After installing Mint Debian 201012, wifi was not working.

Yep, this is a real headache.  Since a Macbook is a LAPTOP, you would think wireless connectivity would work out-of-the-box after installing the distro. HA!. Not so my friends…not so.  This happened to me when I tried out Mint 8 about a year ago, and since I didn’t have time to troubleshoot it back then, I immediately re-installed Crunchbang, who had support for the onboard Broadcom wireless hardware in my Macbook.

I was determined to make my rolling distro get wireless (wifi) connectivity.  I googled. Not much helpful info, other than to preload drivers to a USB.  I suppose this is helpful if you are not able to physically connect a cable to a router.

Get WIFI working on Mint Debian on a Macbook:

  1. Get an Ethernet cable after you have done the install.  Sorry to admit this, but nothing else seemed to work.  More on this in a bit.
  2. Once connected to the internet, use Synaptic and search for any applicable (or all) items matching the search “Broadcom” and either select them for upgrade (if they are marked) or select them for install.
  3. Use Synaptic to “apply” the changes to the system, thus installing (or updating) any Broadcom firmware for your Macbook under Linux.

Ok, I realize that the solution to this problem kinda defeats the purpose of WiFi in the first place.  Many of the blog posts from users experiencing a similar issue (no wifi after installing Linux on a Macbook) described the scenario and there seemed little in the way of resolution. It’s somewhat difficult (if not impossible) to update software if you cannot connect to the internet.  One blogger mentioned that he tethered his iPhone to get “an outside line”.

Since I had access to the router, and an ethernet cable, I figured “why not”.  I know it’s not the most “clever” solution, but I’m sure I’m not alone in deciding to just “GET R DONE” and use the cable to connect to internet and let Synaptic do what it needs to do.

The version I installed is ‘201012’, and there is an earlier version is available if you want to try it out and see if wifi works out of the box.  I don’t recommend it though, because (in general) a later version is better than an earlier version (bug fixes, security patches, etc.)

Best of luck out there. Linux Mint Debian is proving to be a great distro so far.  Openbox is a bit buggy, (wearing “crashy-pants” to coin a phrase) but I can live with that for now.