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:

Posted in grlug, linux, planet-ubuntu-users, troubleshooting, ubuntu-michigan, wmlug | 40 Comments

Video Editing on Linux at The Open Source Futures

I gave an hour and a half demo of video editing on Linux at the May Open Source Futures meeting in Lansing. I covered a little bit of FFMPEG and a lot of the OpenShot non-linear video editor. There were a lot of questions at the meeting, so I put together this blog post full of useful commands and links to help answer a few of the questions I couldn’t answer at the meeting.

Preparing Your Ubuntu-based Linux for Video Editing
There are a gazillion codecs and video editors and players for Linux. Here are some of the things I always use to prep my machine for video editing joy.

The Medibuntu Repository (for great codecs!)
You want to make sure you have all of the video and audio codecs you will need before you start. The Medibuntu repository is the best place to get them. Just run the script on the Medibuntu page to install the repo, and then run the following commands to install all of the good stuff. These commands assume you’re running a Linux distro based off of Ubuntu 11.10 or 12.04.

  • FFMPEG and gobs of codecs: sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-53 libavutil-extra-51 w64codecs libdvdcss2 h264enc libquicktime2
  • GUI Players and Utilities: sudo apt-get install vlc avidemux
  • OpenShot Video Editor: sudo apt-get install openshot blender inkscape
  • Everything You’ll Need: sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-53 libavutil-extra-51 w64codecs libdvdcss2 h264enc libquicktime2 vlc avidemux openshot blender inkscape
  • Encode a video for iPhone or iPod Touch

You can also use OpenShot via a LiveDVD. I haven’t personally tried this method.

Useful FFMPEG Commands

  • Convert (almost) any video file to an editor-friendly format: ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vcodec mpeg4 -sameq -r 30 -acodec libfaac out2.mp4
  • Convert a video to a series of JPEGs: ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vcodec mjpeg -sameq temp/out-%d.jpg
  • Fix some out-of-sync audio: ffmpeg -i infile -r 30 -sameq outfile

OpenShot Info

Python and Django Groups “Near” Lansing
The subject of Python and Django groups in the area came up, so I put together this quick list.

If there are any more questions, especially any that I missed from the meeting, please ask them in the comments below.

Posted in grlug, grpug, internet, linux, planet-ubuntu-users, tech, ubuntu-michigan, wmlug | 1 Comment

Responsive Design at MoMoGR

MoMoGR Web Meets Mobile PanelAt their last meeting, the Mobile Monday Grand Rapids (MoMoGR) group asked me to fill in for a speaker and panelist who had to cancel. The topic of the night was “Web Meets Mobile” so the responsive design talk I’d given at the Grand Rapids Web Development Group (GRWebDev) meeting the week before was a perfect fit. I revisited the talk over the weekend and made some changes to the slides to fit the shorter time limit and static format (slides only, no live action). Although I think the new version of the presentation was less impressive live, the slides from it are better for viewing afterwards. Here are the revised slides along with my notes, which are basically my whole script for the presentation: My Responsive Design Slides and Notes Rev. 3

Ben Rousch Presenting at MoMoGR Web Meets MobileAdaptive Images

One issue I mention in the talk which I hadn’t seen a solution to is adaptive image sizing. You use big images to make the big version of your site look good, but then you end up sending the same big images to mobile devices, which wastes bandwidth and mobile processing power while it downsizes the images on the device. I came across these two articles on the WebMonkey website today which address the problem. They both require Javascript, which is kind of a bummer, but beggars can’t be choosers, so here you go: Build Faster Mobile Websites With ‘Adaptive Images’ and JavaScript Package Offers a Smarter Way to Serve Hi-Res Images

Adaptive Menus

An issue which I haven’t touched on in the talks is adaptive navigation and menus. I came upon an article from The Filament Group which discusses some problems and strategies for dealing with these elements in responsive designs: A Responsive Design Approach for Navigation, Part 1

Posted in grwebdev, internet, tech, webdev | 1 Comment

My Responsive Design Presentation at the April 2012 GRWebDev

It took me about a year and a half, but I finally gave a presentation at the Grand Rapids Web Development Group meeting, An Ode to a One Page Website”. It went well and was a lot of fun. I spoke about responsive design using The Semantic Grid System as applied to a one page website (the over-arching topic of the meeting). About 45 people were in attendance.

Here are the slides from my responsive design presentation (including notes).

Here is a copy of the Dr. I website as used during my presentation.

And finally here is a link to the viewport article I mentioned during the presentation.

I’ll link to the video once when it becomes available.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Free Viewer for Microsoft Outlook .msg Files

In my day job I ran into a situation where one of my users needed to read the contents of a bunch of .msg files. We use Google Apps and don’t have Microsoft Outlook installed anywhere, so this was a bit of a problem. I hate slogging into the seedy world of Microsoft shareware, but after a quick search of my Linux tools that’s where I ended up.

To make a long story short, I eventually found a free cross-platform viewer for these Microsoft Outlook .msg files so I thought I’d share it with the Internet. Hopefully someone will stumble on this post and won’t have to download crippled trialware or risk viral infections from seedy software sites.

The aptly-named MSGViewer is what worked for me. It’s a Java webstart application, so it’s cross-platform. However it did not run on Java7; I had to downgrade to Java6 to get it to work. It is lacking print functionality, but you can copy and paste the email contents to something else if you need to print it.

[Update]
I haven’t had to use it in a long time, but some of the comments below indicate that it now works with Java7.

Posted in grlug, java, linux, planet-ubuntu-users, tech, troubleshooting, ubuntu-michigan, wmlug | 29 Comments