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I have a netbook with a wireless card that doesn't work out of the box in Ubuntu, and I was wondering if I could use any profiling tools to observe what the kernel is doing when it tries to enable the card.

I'm interested in figuring out what the problem is so I can have a stab at fixing it in the code rather than using a workaround such as ndiswrapper, and I'm currently trying to figure out where to begin.

I'm hoping to see something along the lines of this:

startingSoundCard() - Success
startingWirelessCard() - Failed
//A whole bunch of diagnostic data here

I know it won't be as easy or as simple as that, but you get the idea.

Bonus points if your suggestion is general purpose and can be used to generally observe the behaviour/output of the kernel.

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Have you tried dmesg|tail? It prints the kernel ring buffer. also tail /var/log/syslog is useful too. – Matt Oct 26 '11 at 17:01
up vote 3 down vote accepted

/var/log/syslog contains all general logging information, including what happens during boot.

It's quite large though so sifting through it can require some filtering.

Try running the command

cat /var/log/syslog | grep wlan0

Assuming wlan0 is the interface you are interested in, you can also try

cat /var/log/syslog | grep NetworkManager

To enable extra logging add these lines to your NetworkManager config file - /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf


For more information see man syslog, man NetworkManager

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