Monday, 29 December 2014

Mageia 4 on Lenovo G550

I am in the process of upgrading a number of  Lenovo G550 laptops to Mageia 4. I have been a Mandriva user since the 90s, but switched to Mageia around the version 2 release as Mandriva simply could not cut it with regards to stability. I hope that these notes might help others solving some issues on these laptops

Network errors on eth0:

If the ethernet adaptor according to lspci is "Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM5906M Fast Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02)" then set the MTU=1000 (in contrast to default of 1500) as per a previous posting.

BCM4312 wifi driver:

If you are unlucky still to have Broadcom wireless hardware in your G550, then some work lies ahead. This specific hardware identifies itself to lspci as

Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY (rev 01)

Mandriva gives you the option to use the new dkms-broadcom-wl package, but it simply did not want to install on the default 2.6.39 kernel due to DKMS build failures. I decided to settle for using the firmware-dependent b43 driver instead. For this the b43-fwcutter package had to be installed and the firmware downloaded from openwrt and unpacked.

Edit /etc/modprobe.conf and add the line

options b43 pio=1 qos=0 
(Src: OpenSuse Forums)

As root, run the following commands
b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware /path/to/unpacked-broadcom-wl/linux/wl_apsta.o
modprobe -r b43

modprobe b43

Finally setting MTU=1000 as was the case for the ethernet hardware, solved the dropping of packets.

Lacklustre performance:

If you are running KDE, uninstall kmail (there are better email clients), virtuoso & nepomuk.

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