November 2016. Lenovo S21e now runs Ubuntu 16.04 'Xenial Xerus' with one important software addition. Add the following programs to make the sou nd card play sound.

sudo apt-get install the following three programs.

broadcom-sta-common - Common files for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver broadcom-sta-dkms - dkms source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver broadcom-sta-source - Source for the Broadcom STA Wireless driver

The short story is the Lenovo S21e was not included in the Lenovo laptops that had manufacturer's support for Ubuntu. Christian of alpha-labs.net determined kernel components had been dropped and he got a kernel hacker to add in the needed components and he published a kernel that I know of as 4.1.6-lenovo-s21e.

Ubuntu 16.04 uses a kernel with most of what the Lenovo S21e needs. Just add the three Broadcom software packages.

I have not tested if the updated kernels allow Skype to use the Lenovo S21e internal microphone yet. The internal mike problem has to do with the internal microphone being a mono device and the sound mixer software is expecting a stereo device. Or perhaps vice versa.

The internal microphone records, as with the arecord command: arecord test ; ctrl-c to end aplay test ; poor quality sound but it does work.

Best wishes on getting your S21e running. PS, I used a USB adapter with an ethernet socket to provide a fast wired Internet connection while doing the software installations mentioned above. The 16.04 LTS installation had to run over night, due to many components being installed and configured. Definitely provide AC power before starting the 16.04 upgrade.

Linux user and administrator Christian at alpha-labs.net has found a fix for the broken touchpad and broken wireless functionality when Ubuntu 14.4 is installed on the Lenovo S21e laptop computer.

The date is November 2015 and Christians fixes replace kernel -3.16.0-30 with a new kernel -4.1.6-lenovo-s21e. The kernel change fix the touchpad. Christian also supplies a modified wireless device driver that fixes yet again yet another technicality of the Broadcom device inside the Lenovo S21e.

For Linux newbies and those like myself who forget a lot, Post number 31 or 33 on the following web site is a keystroke by keystroke supportive commentary of fixing your Lenovo S21e.


I recommend you consider buying a USB 3.0 Three port hub with a Gigabit Ethernet jack to provide a working data connection while fixing the built in wireless. My junkbox wireless dongle was worthless. During and after the fixes, I still need a mouse to do copy and paste and I like the stunningly fast wired hardware connection.

I just bought a $200 Lenovo S21e 11" screen netbook with a 32 Gig drive and I installed Ubuntu 14.4 LTS. I have the classic repeating new computer aggravations

Over the past 10 years I have gotten used to sticking the latest Ubuntu boot CD into a slot and getting a wonderful and stable dual boot computer. Apparently UEFI and the proprietary hardware geniuses are throwing up more and more compound stumbling blocks preventing Ubuntu from being easy to install.

Thanks so much for starting Askubuntu and when I get this puppy fixed, I'll post the steps here for others to use.

  • I upgraded my Lenovo S21e to use the November 2016 Ubuntu 16.4 and I lost my built in wireless device. Here is the easy temporary fix: Reboot your Lenovo S21e and select "Advanced options for Ubuntu" at the boot menu. Then on the advanced options page select "Ubuntu with Linux 4.1.6-lenovo-s21e. This item is the old kernel described by Christian on the alpha-labs.net web site mentioned above. Ahh... while working out a fix for the new kernel you can boot the old kernel. – Lee McKusick Nov 6 '16 at 3:51

Here is the fix for the touchpad (Took me days to come up with a working solution): https://alpha-labs.net/2015/08/lenovo-s21e-linux-and-the-touchpad/

  • Please edit your post and provide necessary steps....Links should be provided as reference but not directly as answers.. – Ravan Aug 27 '15 at 1:44

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