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How to activate the WiFi adapter on the Dell Latitude 2100 for use with Linux Lubuntu

Trying to reuse an old netbook Dell Latitude 2100 with a light version of Ubuntu, Lubuntu, everything installed okay, except for the wifi card. As it is typical with good old Linux, it is not easy to find solutions, unless you find a guru that by no means would be able to guide anybody who is not or to explain what can be done.

To be fair, there are so many solutions that have been developed by volunteers throughout the world that chances are that someone had already worked on this, and there it was. After days of general Google searches and impossible suggestions that didn’t work, I came accross documentation from Ubuntu itself about the subject.

To get there, however, it was necessary to get the specification of the driver card, searching for Latitude 2100 wifi for Linux didn’t really help. I had to get the information that his machine had a Broadcom BCM4312. One would think that would have solutions. None! Neither did Dell! This particular laptop has a limit of memory of 2 gigabytes, therefore none of current Windows runs well. This version of Ubuntu is light and runs really well on this machine, including operating Libre Office without drama.

The saving document was located at:

Once there, since these documents are not for common people, but rather for geeks, it is important to read carefully and open a “terminal” screen to provide text commands that appear in the document. Here, copy and paste is so useful!

What worked for me since I was connected to internet via an external wireless USB adapter was the instructions under “b43 – Internet access”.

After the installations and upon restarting the netbook I took out the working USB wifi adapter. Then tried the combination key to turn on the internal card, Fn + F6, which previously didn’t work at all, and it did.

Every time I come across these problems with Linux, I wonder how the beautiful open source community could provide support that is aimed at the user community, not the operating system professionals. Regardless, now this machine that otherwise capitalists wanted us to dispose in the trash has a few more years of useful life, because, those capitalist companies like Dell really built a solid little machine which hardware-wise has an extended life beyond their obsolescence limitations thanks to the progressive techies of the open source world and my dogged stubbornness.