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I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my 5-yr-old Dell Netbook in hopes of replacing Win XP. I know diddly about Linux, but I used to be able to get through DOS instructions, so I can type in a terminal.

The system shows a wifi wedge, but won't connect to anything. I've been reading about wireless here, and have downloaded, via XP, the 32-bit driver file from Broadcom. I'm reading their instructions, but I don't understand. I have to compile this file?

Broadcom's instructions say:

On Ubuntu, you will need headers and tools. Try these commands:

apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic

I opened a terminal and typed that in. I got

    E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
    E: Unable to lock the administration directory /var/lib/dpkg/), are you root?

What's all that mean?

apt-get build-dep linux

I typed that in and got the same two lines.

To check to see if you have this directory do this:

ls /lib/modules/*uname* -r/build

That gave me 7 columns of words (folder names?), some in blue, some cyan, and one white.


1. Setup the directory by untarring the proper tarball:

For 64 bit: hybrid-v35_64-nodebug-pcoem-portsrc.tar.gz


mkdir hybrid_wl

cd hybrid_wl

I managed to make the directory and to change directory (DOS commands!). I also managed with the desktop file manager to move the tarball to the hybrid_wl folder so it would be easy to get at. But I stopped there as the earlier command responses seem to mean that something's missing.

tar xzf <path>/hybrid-v35-nodebug-pcoem-portsrc.tar.gz or


2. Build the driver as a Linux loadable kernel module (LKM):

make clean (optional)


When the build completes, it will produce a wl.ko file in the top level directory.

If your driver does not build, check to make sure you have installed the kernel package described in the requirements above.

I thought root was like Win admin. I'm the only user. I must be root, right? What's up with root and permission denied? How do I get past or fix that?

Also, when I was using the folder app to move the tarball, I right-clicked it out of habit, and discovered there are both an Archive Manager and an Archive Mounter with which I could open it. If I use one of those can I skip all the rest of this?

I'm sorry if this is hard to read. Your formatting controls are none I've encountered on a website before. Linux, perhaps? And I've no clue why some text is wrapping and some isn't.

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place sudo before all the commands.(like sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic) – Avinash Raj Nov 19 '13 at 5:13
can you give us a link to the website? it would be much better. ... P.S: fixed the formatting issues – Mina Michael Nov 19 '13 at 11:58
Thank you both Avinash and Mina. Here's the location of the tar.gz files: and here is the readme that goes with them: I tried using sudo on the first two lines and got the following: Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done E: Unable to locate package build E: Unable to locate package – Sarah Nov 19 '13 at 17:37

Try to install broadcom drivers from Additional Drivers app - it will install the same driver that you want to install manually

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Ah. Bother. It appears that that app only works if you have internet connection, the lack of which is the reason I am going through all this. Thanks though. – Sarah Nov 19 '13 at 17:48
OH! Wait. There's a troubleshooter in this. Maybe that will help. – Sarah Nov 19 '13 at 17:56
Now I'm really confused. The troubleshooting took me to a terminal command to verify that the system can see that I have a wireless card, then took me to this page: That says that there is already a driver for my Broadcom BCM4322 in Ubunto since version 8.04.1. It wants me to "3) Click System->Administration->Hardware Drivers" but I have no idea where to do that. Help? – Sarah Nov 19 '13 at 18:18

Thank you all for your responses. I learned quite a bit and appreciate it.

However, I gave up fumbling with the tarball and terminal commands and just plugged the Ethernet port into my router. Once 12.04 updated (over 200 updates!), it had a driver that worked with my wireless card, and I was up and running on wifi. That taught me something, too. Reminded me that I'm sometimes too stubborn for my own good.

Thanks again!

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and that's why updates are so important in ubuntu! :D congrats :D – Mina Michael Nov 20 '13 at 13:43

If I understand the issue well, I think all you're missing is to put sudo before your terminal commands and that's it!

such as:

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-generic

sudo apt-get build-dep linux

sudo gives the security privileges to the commands. (The privileges of the superuser)

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Yes, thanks. That fixes those commands, but I still don't have the solution to this issue. – Sarah Nov 19 '13 at 18:53

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