Ubuntu 12.04 Splash Screen Lockup with LiveCD

I just setup Kubuntu Linux 12.04 on a HP Pavilion zv6000 and ran into a pesky bug. This bug is on all of the Ubuntu and Kubuntu 12.04 final release CDs and ISOs, so this is going to be a common issue for a while. In this post I’ll show you how to work around the dreaded splash screen lockup due to b43 missing firmware bug.

The first symptom of the problem is that your computer locks up on the splash screen while booting the Ubuntu or Kubuntu 12.04 LiveCD. This can also happen during the first boot after upgrading from Ubuntu 11.10 to 12.04 if you haven’t previously installed the Broadcom drivers in 11.10. At this point you can’t see the error, all you see is a stalled splash screen. You will have to long-press the power button on your laptop to shut down.

If you’d like to see the error, reboot from the LiveCD, and select F6 at the Install/Memtest/Check CD for Defects screen. Then delete the “quiet” and “splash” from the boot command line and continue booting from the CD. Eventually you’ll see:
[ 95.514833] b43-phy0 ERROR: Firmware file "b43/ucode5.fw" not found
[ 95.514847] b43-phy0 ERROR: Firmware file "b43-open/ucode5.fw" not found
[ 95.514855] b43-phy0 ERROR: You must go to http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43#devicefirmware and download the correct firmware for this driver version. Please carefully read all the instruction on this website.

Again, at this point you will have to shut down by long-pressing the power button.

To get around the problem and actually install Ubuntu, you’ll have to boot from the LiveCD as before, press F6 at the Install/Memtest/Check CD screen, and add the following to the boot options: b43.blacklist=yes . Then when you continue booting, you’ll be able to login and install. [Edit] Here is a short video showing the procedure.

However you will lock up again after the first reboot due to the same error (this time in your installed Ubuntu instead of the LiveCD). You get around the problem in a similar manner. When the GRUB screen comes up, press ‘e’ to edit the boot options for the first boot entry. Add the b43.blacklist=yes to the boot options line, and then continue booting. Here’s a short video showing this procedure.

[Edit] If you’re still having trouble with this step, this comment from A. Spratt may help you.

Once you’ve successfully booted in Ubuntu or Kubuntu, make sure you have a wired Internet connection and issue these commands at the terminal or konsole to install the Broadcom Wifi firmware: sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer . Reboot, and everything should work, including your Wifi.

Here are a few of the sources I used to gather this information:

This entry was posted in grlug, linux, planet-ubuntu-users, troubleshooting, ubuntu-michigan, wmlug. Bookmark the permalink.