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I am trying to make a simple server on an old macbook. I got Ubuntu 14.04 installed, but I need to use apt-get to install some packages, and apt-get will not work.

The problem is that apt-get cannot connect to ubuntu.com. I see the error

 Could not resolve 'us.archive.ubuntu.com'

I tried to ping google.com and 8.8.8.8, and they cannot be reached either. I edited my /etc/resolv.conf file to include nameserver 8.8.8.8 and I still couldn't get out.

I figured it must be the wifi connection, which is weird because I configured the wifi during installation and it was working fine. I have been spending the past several hours trying to get

wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -Dwext -c<(wpa_passphrase <my SSID> <my password>)

(which I am most definitely running as a superuser) to work. It doesn't. It immediately spits out the following

Successfully initialized wpa_supplicant
ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Invalid argument
ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Invalid argument
ioctl[SIOCSIWSCAN]: Device or resource busy

after which it enters an infinite loop of trying to connect and failing.

It is possible that the device is busy because I had earlier put in a wpa_supplicant command with the -B option, which put it in the background, and I can't figure out how to kill the background process. But before that, I was having a similar problem: I just can't connect to the internet.

Since I can't connect to the internet, I have no access to apt-get so if it isn't in the standard Ubuntu 14.04 server distro, then I don't have it.

I was able, once, the first time, to get a ping google.com to return something, but it quickly went away and I haven't been able to duplicate anything.

What do I do here? Am I missing something really simple

(I did check that wlan0 is turned on, and I did scan for my SSID and it does show up in a scan. I just can't connect to it. I have double checked the password I'm using: it is the one written on the box, and it works on every other machine in the house)

EDIT: I removed D wext from the wpa_supplicant request. That is, I entered

wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c<(wpa_passphrase )

This doesn't let to connect to the internet still, but it removes the complaints about invalid arguments.

EDIT: I got it to work. My routine is (from root)

>ifconfig wlan0 up
>iwlist scan|less
>wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c<(wpa_passphrase <SSID> <password>)

If that connects, then I type it again but with -B to run it in background, then

>dhclient -r
>dhclient wlan0
>ping google.com

It should start returning data from google. If not, I kill the background process with

>kill `pidof wpa_supplicant`

This works for me.

  • Sounds like you need to try a wired connection. – Daniel Jul 22 '15 at 4:05
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It should not be necessary to invoke wpa_supplicant directly OR to edit /etc/resolv.conf manually. For example, for a minimal DHCP setup you can use a /etc/network/interfaces file stanza like

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-ssid MyNetwork
    wpa-psk "Long p@ssphrase, with spaces\!"
dns-nameservers 8.8.8.8  8.8.4.4

Notice that this stanza includes the DNS server specification: if you have messed with /etc/resolv.conf you may need to reconfigure the resolvconf package to get things back to normal

sudo dpkg-reconfigure resolvconf

It will present you with a question about preparing /etc/resolv.conf for dynamic updates - answer "Yes". It may also present you with another question about temporarily appending your existing config to the dynamic one - if so you should probably answer "No" to that one. This will re-create the default symbolic link in place of your manually-edited file.

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