Debian: Lenny cannot load Broadcom NIC drivers, asking for firmware bnx2-06-4.0.5.fw or bnx2-09-4.0.5.fw during install

If you have a Dell server, dump it, or keep reading 😉

Well… to me it sounds like some copyright crap Broadcom is pulling, or perhaps Debian is trying to be more compliant with restricted drivers. Three ways I can think of to work around this:

  1. Download the deb package from http://packages.debian.org/etch/firmware-bnx2, copy it to a flash drive and insert when prompted during installation. You don’t have to mount anything… install process will automatically find and load the driver. Do not unpack the .deb package, copy it to your USB drive without any modifications. OS will access the file and extract what it needs accordingly.
  2. Install an old or supported NIC (Intel?) and proceed with installation. Once it’s done install the deb package and restart networking.
  3. Install without a NIC, then download and copy the file to a flash drive or CD, mount and install. Just make sure you’re not using Debian NetInst CD!

One of the readers suggested that I should also post a link to the page where different versions of the driver can be downloaded http://packages.debian.org/search?searchon=names&keywords=bnx2.

Updated Feb 18th 2010  by Mark (comment reply):

To the people struggling with BCM5716: Even the latest Lenny 5.0.4 stable installer (with kernel 2.6.26-2 rev 21lenny3) doesn’t yet have the PCI IDs required to load the drivers. Here is some useful info:

  1. http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=565353
  2. http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-kernel@lists.debian.org/msg52571.html
  3. http://wiki.debian.org/HowToRebuildAnOfficialDebianKernelPackage

I’ve just spent the last 2 days working out how to roll my own Debian installer image with a patched kernel. All this work just to get some tiny changes into bnx2.ko and preseed the firmware :)

I’ve uploaded working Debian Lenny netinstall images:

MegaUpload Links:
amd64: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8O5D782S
i386: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3B9W1MHP

RapidShare Links:

Note: For anybody just looking for an install image containing the bnx2 firmware, this is for you too. Well, it works for me – YMMV.

btw, the next point release (5.0.5) of Lenny will work without any of these problems.”

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Information about how to reuse or republish this work may be available at Ali (Babusi) Aboosaidi.

Filed under: Debian