Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HOWTO Install Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 with LAN & from CD or USB & Get Wireless Working

This is the third and final part of a HOWTO - the first part was installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 from a USB stick; the second part is for installing from an install CD; this part is installing either from a CD or USB but with internet access via LAN. There are slight differences between these all three.

How to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 on the Lenovo S10-2 Ideapad Netbook with LAN from a USB or CD Drive and get the Broadcom wireless to work.

Author: Ridzwan Abdullah (ridz1a_AT_yahoo_DOT_com)
Last Updated: 15th November 2009

This howto is for guiding users who wants to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 (codenamed Karmic Kaola) onto their Lenovo S10-2 Ideapad netbook as well as getting the Broadcom chipset-based wireless on the netbook to work.

This version of the howto assumes you already have a bootable USB stick or a boot CD containing the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 (henceforth referred to as UNR). For those who does not have these item, visit the Ubuntu web site (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download-netbook) and download the iso image of the UNR, and then use the image burn it to a CD-ROM or create a bootable USB stick using an available PC. The instructions on how to do this can be found at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/FromUSBStick. Note that, instead of a USB stick, you can also use an SD or SDHC flash drive as the boot device (via the Lenovo S10-2 built-in memeory card slot). The instructions for creating such a device is the same as for a USB stick. If you have an external CD or DVD drive for your S10-2 netbook, then this CD-ROM is all you need for installation.

This version also assumes that UNR is the only OS you plan to install on your S10-2 netbook. If you have just installed a new (blank) hard disk into your netbook, then you are set to start installing the UNR. If an OS is already present on the hard disk in your netbook (for example, Windows XP Home) and you want the ability to dual-boot, then you need to refer to instructions how to dual-boot (not covered in this howto). Should you wish to wipe the current OS from the hard disk before installation, then you need make sure to delete all partitions and reset the MBR on the hard disk. Use an available PC to do this - there are lots of free utilities that allow you to do this. You can also wipe the hard disk using the 'cfdisk' or 'fdisk' utility found on the UNR - run the "Live CD" to access this utility.

One last assumption is that internet connection is avialable through a wired LAN via an ethernet cable. This connection is only used during the install - once the wirless is working, the netbook should be "liberated" from this cable.

Here are the steps required to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10:

1) Make sure that the S10-2 netbook is powered off. Plug the netbook into the LAN using an ethernet network cable.

USB STICK: Plug the bootable USB stick into any of the 3 available USB ports and power up the netbook. The netbook will automatically boot up from the USB stick - you do not have to press any keys during boot.

CD DRIVE: Plug in the drive into any of the 3 available USB ports and power up the netbook. Press the F12 key during boot (when the Lenovo screen appears) and after a while, the Boot Manager screen will appear. Now you can open the tray of your CD/DVD drive and insert the UNR 9.10 CD. Close the tray and wait until the light on the CD/DVD drive stops blinking. On the Boot Manager, select menu item 3 USB CDROM and press Enter. The netbook should boot from the CD - if it does not and tries to boot from the network (PXE), then perform a restart by pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys on the netbook. During boot, press the F12 key again to enter the Boot Manager where you select item 3 and then press Enter - the netbook should now boot from the CD. (Note that this is a pecularity of the S10-2 netbook with an external CD/DVD drive).

2) The first screen that appears is where you choose the installation language. Select one and press Enter. On the Ubuntu Installation Menu that appears next, select the item "Install Ubuntu Netbook Remix" and press Enter. The installer will then start loading - wait until the first installation screen (the Welcome screen) appears. Do not be alarmed if you see a blank screen - it is still loading.

3) Follow the 6 steps as shown on the screen and set your choices - language, location, keyboard layout, prepare disk space, enter personal information and lastly, confirm the install using the information that you have provided. When you press the "Install" button on step 6, the installer will begin the process of actually installing UNR on your netbook. With access to the internet via the LAN, the whole installation will take longer than without internet access. The reason for this is that the installer will configure apt (software package manager) by accessing the remote repositories. It will also download and install a language pack. In effect, a faster internet connection will produce a faster install time. On the author's netbook with a 512 kb/s DSL internet connection, the actual install process took around 17 minutes. When completed, a message box will appear to this effect with a "Restart Now" button which you need to click.

USB STICK: Unplug the bootable USB stick during the restart (at the Lenovo screen) and the netbook will boot from the hard disk.

CD DRIVE: The CD will be ejected after pressing the "Restart Now" button. Remove the CD from the tray, then close it and press Enter. The netbook will boot from the hard disk.

4) The netbook will start loading the newly installed UNR. The GRUB loading message will appear briefly and then UNR will start loading. If you have selected starting with a password during install, then the Login screen will appear. Enter your password and click OK. If you had selected automatic startup during install, then the Login screen will be skipped. The UNR desktop will now appear to the accompaniment of the "startup sound" - indicating that the sound hardware on the Lenovo S10-2 netbook is fully working. At this point, internet access is via the LAN and wireless is still not working. This can be verified if you click the network icon (between the speaker icon and the battery icon), you will not see a list of accessible AP's and it will only show the wired network 'auto eth0'. To get the wireless network to work, a restricted hardware driver for the wireless chipset need to be installed. Ubuntu's philosophy forbade them from doing this automatically - as a result, it just makes things harder for the average user.

5) If you wait a while at the UNR desktop (2 or 3 minutes), two things will happen. The first is that a flashing 'folder' icon will appear next to the Ubuntu icon at the top left-hand side of the screen. This is the Update Manager telling you that there are updates available for the UNR. The second thing is that a message will appear saying that restricted drivers is available and a new icon will appear next to the 'mail envelope' icon. This is the Hardware Drivers telling you that there are restricted drivers available for you to use - in fact, this is the driver for the wireless chipset. DO NOT CLICK on that icon - if you use this method for installing the required wireless drivers, IT WILL NOT WORK! In fact, out of the 3 times this author tried installing the drivers using this method, the netbook froze at random points and had to be powered off using the on/off button in order to unfreeze it. So, for now, just ignore the message and icon.

6) Click on the flashing Update Manager icon and when Update Manager screen appears, click the 'Install Updates' button. The Update Manager will prompt you for a password - enter it and click on the 'OK' button after which it will start the actual downloading and installation of updates. This may take a while. When the update process is completed, close the Update Manager.

7) Click on 'System' (at the bottom of the left-hand pane on the main screen) and scroll down the right-hand pane to the "Administration" section. The Synaptic Package Manager is located here - click once on the icon. A password prompt will appear (running Synaptic requires administrative privilege) - enter your password (the one you specified during installation) ans press OK. Synaptic will launch - read the quick introduction that appears if you wish to, then press the 'Close' button. Synaptic is now running.

8) Click in the 'Quick search' text box and type 'bcmwl' - the bcmwl-kernel-source package will be displayed as one of two entries on the right-hand top pane. Click on the square box next to this item and then select 'Mark for installation' on the list that appears. Another message box will appear and list 3 other packages (fakeroot, dkms and patch) that needs to be installed before 'bcmwl-kernel-source' will work. Click on the 'Mark' button - the message box will close. Then click on the 'Apply' icon and a confirmation box will appear - click on the 'Apply' button. A message box will appear saying it is downloading and installing the files. When conpleted and "Changes applied" message will appear - click the 'Close' button. Then close the Synaptic Package Manager (click on the X in the tab on top of the screen).

9) Restart the netbook by clicking on the top right-most icon and selecting 'Restart...'. Then Click the 'Restart' button on the dialog box that appears and the netbook will restart. Log in if necessary and at the UNR desktop, click the network icon and your wireless AP (along with other AP's within range) will appear in a list. To connect to the internet via the wireless just click on your AP, enter the password (if authentication is required) and you will be connected. You can now disconnect the wired connection by clicking on the network icon and then click 'Disconnect' item below 'Auto eth0'. Remove the ethernet cable from the netbook.

10) The Lenovo S10-2 Ideapad netbook is now ready for use, either on your desk at home or on the road. Enjoy!


I hope the 3 HOTO's published in by blogs has been of help to users of the Lenovo S10-2 netbook who wish to try out the new Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10. These were published with the aim of helping users avoid the aggravation and frustration in getting UNR working - especially the wireless. I hope I have achieved this aim and any comments and feedback are welcomed - either through the blog's comments or via e-mail.

In the forthcoming blogs, I will be posting my experiences with UNR on the S10-2 - so stay tuned.

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