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.
  • Elitecss

    I installed kubuntu off the live disk. I’m stuck on the GRUB screen part though. I’m a Linux newb soo…yeah

    • Elitecss

      Nvm I solved it

  • iBooker

    Had the same problem with an iBook G4 running XUbuntu and yaboot. It starts with parameter “Linux b43.blacklist=yes” and then installing 

    Thanks for the how-to.

  • Linuxfever

    Thanks for the solution, this was bugging me for some time.

  • Andrey

    Thanks. Clear and helpful

  • Excelente post. Me sirvio , muchas gracias

  • guest


    • brousch

      The very long line that looks like the one you edited to boot from the LiveCD.

      • Sam

         You might want to say that in the main article. This held me up for a few attempts, until I read through to this comment.

        Moreover, thanks for the really helpful article!



    • brousch

      If you could be more specific about which part of the instructions are not clear to you, I may be able to help you further.

      • atlguy76

        You saved me about 4 hrs man.. thank you very much. The solution worked like a charm.

    • D21anthony

       I think this is pretty outrages statement. Please throw Brousch a bone, it’s not his fault you can’t read. :). I was looking for days for a posting like this and found this. I feel lucky and you should too, that smarter individuals take their own personal time to share their findings to help the less gifted. Now Go Give yourself 10 lashings and have a great day!

  • guest

    i am trying to write ‘ b43.blacklist=yes’ to the  boot line but i can not figure out to save it, could you please tell me how as i am quite new ? thanks

    • brousch

      The line you need to edit is the one that starts with “linux”. Once you’ve added in “b43.blacklist=yes” to that line, you can press F10 to boot using your modified configuration. This doesn’t make the change permanent, it only applies until the next reboot.

      This page has a more thorough explanation of editing the GRUB2 boot menu. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/Troubleshooting#Editing_the_GRUB_2_Menu_During_Boot

  • Jexams

    Sorry but, what screen is the 
    Install/Memtest/Check CD screen? I know it’s a dumb question but I really am having trouble trying to figure this out.

    • brousch

      When you boot from a LiveCD, it is the screen where it stops and you have to choose whether to keep booting from the CD, install Linux, or do a memory test.

  • D21anthony

    You are awesome, Thank you Sooo Much!!! I”ve been cranking away at this all weekend. I knew it was something but had no idea what. You da Ma’an.

  • I’m a complete novice when it comes to linux, but thanks to your article I have been able to install Ubuntu on a second laptop. It ran terribly with Windows but works much faster with Ubuntu.

    The explanation was very clear. I have no idea what “Stupid Linux Idiot” is basing his rude and unthoughtful comment on.

  • Azhrarn

    I use a pendrive to install 12.04 ubunut’s ver, but I had a lot of problems with my mother’s old laptop. It’s an HP, and it freezes everytime I tried 2 boot/install ubuntu. I don’t get how to insert the b43.blacklist=yes, where I put it shows me an error.

    • brousch

      Check out the post by A. Spratt above. It may help you get past this part. http://clusterbleep.net/blog/2012/05/09/ubuntu-12-04-splash-screen-lockup-with-livecd/#comment-597041566

  • steambird

    I have an old Dell and I was unable to successfully install Ubuntu on it.  This article was exactly what I needed to find.  Everything works now.  Thank you for taking the time to post this.

  • artemave

    You are a star! Thanks a lot.

  • Linux enthu

    I am installing Linux 12.04 on Acer Aspire L320. Let me clear that I am a Linux enthusiast but not an expert in any way. I need some help.
    Managed to pass thru installation using b43.blacklist=yes and installed the system. During the installtion it did show that this was an unrecognised command but moved ahead and installed ubuntu. But I am stuck in Grub menu. Can you give detailed instruction on how to edit Grub menu and ensure that it is accepted by the system. Would love to get Linux started so that I can then install the correct firmware.

    • brousch

      I just added a couple of short screen recordings to the post. Hopefully they will help clear things up.

    • Ubuntu enthu

      Got it finally after seeing the video. Great post.
      One small problem. Not able to find firmware-b43-installer in terminal.

  • brousch

    Thanks for all of your comments and support. A few people were having problems with the directions, so I added a few videos to the blog post. Hopefully these will make it a little easier to follow along.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I was about to give up installing Ubuntu on my Acer computer because it kept getting stuck at the loading screen. Now Ubuntu is working perfectly thanks to your post.

  • Kid

    thanks you

  • Daregulars

    What happens after you hit F10 in the first attempt to log in from Grubs?? My computer goes to a blank dark screen but I’ve noticed is still on and then nothing… What I end up doing is do a “turn it off and back on” only to get stuck in a loop at the grub and turning it off and on…

    • brousch

      Once GRUB comes up you should be able to make the changes as specified in the post to get your computer to boot up. If you don’t install the b43 firmware after it’s booted, you will still freeze up on every boot. Hopefully this helps.

  • A. Spratt

    I recently had the same problem. What worked for me was adding the blacklist command between “quiet splash” and “$vt_handoff” (with a space before and after the blacklist command) in the pre-boot GRUB menu. I had to force the menu to show by holding the shift key. I had previously been adding the command to the end of the list (I may have been looking at the video wrong, or might have a different configuration from that in the videos), but that only resulted in the system displaying the same error messages as before, then hanging up.

    • brousch

      Thanks for the update. I don’t have access to a computer with this bug any more, so it’s hard for me to keep up with changes to the problem. I’ll add your suggestions to the main article.

  • Motofixxer

     Another possibility I found to work is this:
    1. During Grub loading press hold shift
    or F6, at Grub menu type “e” type “nomodeset” after “quiet

    2. press Ctrl-X to boot

    3. Then once installedrunning from
    Terminal run “gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub” and edit file same

    4.Then be sure to run “sudo
    update-grub” to make permanent

  • Seandanger

    Thanks, I agreed with most comments. Spent lots of wasted time trying other options. This one was great except half way through my install (copying files part) it showed something wrong with my cd/cd reader/hard drive. Didnt specify which one, which sucks. Im gonna try again tho with a usb drive. Wish me luck!

  • N.Nedvetskiy

    Confirming A. Spratt’s solution.
    It’s the only one that worked for me, but thank you both, guys!
    I thought I wouldn’t be able to run any OS different from windows on my old HP nx6125 laptop.

  • Jciesielski

    Thanks Ben – completely new to Ubuntu, and this got my old machine going.
    Still other bugs (trackpad lockup after wake-up) but at least I can use the thing now. 

  • krusty

    Thanks A. Spratt!!!
    Been wanting to, dare I say “get a new pc” because of this b43 fluffup.
    So I’ve got a Dell Inspiron 1300 (Broadcom BCM4318)
    After installing I added: b43.blacklist=yes under initrd /boot/……. – No luck
    Putting b43.blacklist=yes between “quiet splash” and “$vt_handoff” works!!!
    So change”quiet splash $vt_handoff” to

    “quiet splash b43.blacklist=yes $vt_handoff”
    then push F10

  • Brian A

    To enable DVDs and have other multi-media support after the base install, see this page for installing the kubuntu-restricted-addons that add DVD support. DVD support is not available out of the box.http://www.simpleprecision.com/2012/05/kubuntu-12-04-post-installation-tuning/

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