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caseybea caseybea is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Talking Linux Mint 16 (Petra) - On mini 9 with broadcom wifi - EASY - 12-11-2013, 06:40 AM

Have had my mini 9 since the old days :-)... had OSX on it, but have recently gotten tired of not being able to update it, always worrying about the delicate balance. And maybe even getting bored with it, since a year or so after my setup, my office provided me with a macbook air :-)

What to do with my mini 9?

Anyway... having converted some other system I had to Mint 16-- it got me thinking, and so I dug out my trusty mini 9 and wanted to see how good it all is.

I am... surprised. Really surprised.

Install went fine. BUT-- as I suspected, my wifi was not working. The Broadcom BCM4312 (as is found on MOST of the dell minis) didn't work, for lack of drivers. Wired connection worked fine.

This is where it gets interesting. There's *all* sorts of forum posts out there, going back a few years all describing various recipes for getting the b43 driver to behave. And even for me, (a guy who is a linux professional during the day) -- it just seemed to much of a pain. Until I saw ONE comment buried in a longer article that raised one of my eyebrows, and I tried it out.

Getting to the point:

Summary: Install Mint 16. boot. login. Plug in a wired cable for your network (sorry, it's necessary). Open up a terminal prompt. Type this ONE command:
"sudo apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree"

reboot. **voila** Wireless. The linux-firmware-nonfree contains several goodies, one of which is the EXACT set of drivers etc from Broadcom that's needed to get this particular wireless module to work. And installing that one package is ALL you need to do. Nothing else. No modprobes, no manual driver builds, no blacklisting, NONE of that sillyness.

So, how's the rest?

Other goodies as pertains to Mint 16 on the mini 9:
Trackpad: Good. Two-finger scrolling does not seem to work, but edge scrolling does. (If I recall, the trackpad itself on the mini 9 isn't capable of multitouch)
Sound: Yep.
Hibernate: Yep
Suspend: Yep (including flashing LED)
FN-controls for display brightness: Yep
FN-controls for sound volume: Yep

Enjoy, kiddies! :-)
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