I am having the same trouble as others getting my Atheros AR8131 Ethernet card recognised by Ubuntu 12.10 on my new HP Pavillion P7-1449 PC. I found the same question where the answer suggested the following:

  1. Download Tarball compact-wireless-3.6.8-1-snpc
  2. Run

    ./scripts/driver-select alx
    sudo make install

The problem is when I run the make command I get the following:

make -C /lib/modules/3.5.0-21-generic/build M=/home/chris/Downloads/compat-wireless-3.6.8-1-snpc modules
make: *** /lib/modules/3.5.0-21-generic/build: No such file or directory.  Stop.
make: *** [modules] Error 2

Found a link to an alternative patch file (compat-wireless-2012-09-25-pc) but then I get the similar error:

make -C /lib/modules/3.5.0-21-generic/build M=/home/chris/Desktop/compat-wireless-2012-09-25-pc modules
make: *** /lib/modules/3.5.0-21-generic/build: No such file or directory.  Stop.
make: *** [modules] Error 2

Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  • Have you tried installing the compat-wireless packages provided by Ubuntu in the repositories? The latest 3.6 is available as a package: linux-backports-modules-cw-3.6-quantal-generic. Compiling from source should be attempted only as a last resort, in my opinion.
    – gertvdijk
    Dec 31, 2012 at 1:04
  • Thanks. Didn't know that existed (I'm new to Linux). Up until now I've been googling and/or checking out this website for solutions to my problems. Check it out and it looks to me like the best candidates are linux-source-3.5.0 or module-init-tools - or do you suggest applying all. Thanks again.
    – Chris
    Dec 31, 2012 at 2:11
  • "Check it out and it looks to me like the best candidates are linux-source-3.5.0 or module-init-tools - or do you suggest applying all." Please rephrase that, I don't get your question in there. And what's the point of downloading the whole Linux kernel source code?
    – gertvdijk
    Dec 31, 2012 at 2:14
  • Unfortunately use of this operating system and website assume in-depth knowledge. In fact, I don't know what any of those links mean. I don't know how to download or deploy any of those files and for the record, I assumed they were patches rather than " the whole Linux kernel source code". On closer look I see the heading "Backported wireless drivers for generic kernel image" but there is nothing listed under that heading so I assume that the driver I need is not made it to the list.
    – Chris
    Dec 31, 2012 at 2:26
  • 1

4 Answers 4


The instructions to install compat-wireless modules are good, but in recent Ubuntu releases, this has been packaged and there's no need to compile this from source anymore! So, let's take a step back and look at another much simpler approach to install it.

Simply install the appropriate linux-backports-modules-cw-* package for your kernel, e.g.:

  • For Quantal, using Linux compat-wireless-3.6 backported to regular kernel

    sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.6-quantal-generic
  • Same, but for Precise

    sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.6-precise-generic

Or use any other package management tool to install this package. While it has 'backport' in its package name, it's not needed to enable any backports repository - it's just there in main.

Finally, reboot, or if you know the kernel module to load: sudo modproble modulename.


Lately the modules from the 3.8 kernel have been backported, so use

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.8-precise-generic

instead of

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.6-precise-generic

as in gertvdijk's answer here


I am not sure, there is no need of compilation. Alx module which only works with my AR8161 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is gone. So download, and compile works for me.

I have to download some older package from compact wireless website which ALX module contains as mentioned here.

wget -O- http://linuxwireless.org/download/compat-wireless-2.6/compat-wireless-2012-07-03-pc.tar.bz2

no, that will not help. The last version that contains alx module is version 3.4, unfortunately.

so a regular user with this network card is completely dumped :(

and each time I upgrade to a new version of kernel once a few months, I have to waste one hour trying to figure out where did the linux magicians hide my network card driver! anybody's been curious why Linux fails on Desktop? this is why! :(

why cannot they just move it where all the other network card drivers are?

so the proper command is:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.4-precise-generic


sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-cw-3.4-precise-generic-pae

depending on which magic version of kernel you magically use...

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