My ongoing experiences with Ubuntu, and later Mythbuntu, as a media center with MythTV. I'm also using the system for a virtual machine server, a mediawiki server and a general all around home infrastructure base.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Upgrading my laptop to Ubuntu 8.10 - network manager applet woes!

After upgrading my Ubuntu servers to 8.10, I turned my attention to my Ubuntu laptop running Ubuntu desktop. I used the Network Upgrade for Ubuntu Desktops.

The upgrade went smoothly, though it took a few hours (much longer than the server upgrades) and seemed to go in spurts (perhaps because of apt-cacher?). I did get one pop-up message I noted for later:
Third party sources disabled

Some third party entries in your sources.list were disabled. You can re-enable them after the upgrade with the 'software-properties' tool or your package manager.

I installed new versions of:
  • /etc/init.d/

Files I kept:
  • /etc/services

55 obsolete packages were removed.

Afterwards, I rebooted and the fun began as the system couldn't connect to my wireless network. First thing I noticed was the following message in /var/log/messages:
Nov 1 16:31:32 von-laptop kernel: [ 470.051333] input: b43-phy0 as /devices/virtual/input/input14
Nov 1 16:31:32 von-laptop kernel: [ 470.256065] b43-phy0: Loading firmware version 351.126 (2006-07-29 05:54:02)
Nov 1 16:31:32 von-laptop kernel: [ 470.256080] b43-phy0 warning: You are using an old firmware image. Support for old firmware will be removed in July 2008.
Nov 1 16:31:32 von-laptop kernel: [ 470.256085] b43-phy0 warning: You must go to and download the latest firmware (version 4).

Following the directions pointed to by the log message I ran the following command which installed new wireless drivers.
# /usr/share/b43-fwcutter/

I rebooted and the driver message disappeared, but didn't fix the original problem and I still wasn't getting on the network.

So, next I connected to my wired network. Or at least I tried. Evening after plugging into my cat5 ethernet, I still wasn't getting a network connection. Very weird.

After poking around some I realized that the system was actually connecting to the wireless network, it's just that it wasn't getting an IP addresss via DHCP correctly. If I ran 'dhclient' manually, I got on the network just fine. Only problem was every few minutes the network manager tried to reconnect me, so I had to kill it ('killall nm-applet') to stay connected.

Next I tried upgrading to the latest network manager (as I did previously). I added the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list. Note these are the same lines I had before that the upgrade commented out, but with "hardy" changed to "intrepid".
deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

And upgraded via apt-get:
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade

Which installed new versions of libnm-glib0, libnm-util0, and network-manager. And then I rebooted... and my network came back up!

Ok, lesson learned is apparently I need to be prepared to keep up to date with the network manager applet separately.

Update: One annoyance still remaining, my firefox is all messed up. Google toolbar and all my other extension buttons are gone. To get them back I had to disable the "Ubuntu Firefox Modifications" and then I was able to restore everything.
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