Endless Problems should be the name

I found this OS because I was looking for something that would help my son’s creative interest in coding. Everything was fine until I got it installed and the wifi didn’t work.

This is normal, I had previous installed POP! OS and all I had to do was run a simple

Sudo apt update

Sudo apt upgrade

And just like that wifi…

I do have Broadcom wifi but the driver package online works for my laptop and every other distro I’ve ever used. But I guess unfortunately my family doesn’t fit into the clientele that Endless targets. I have tried and tried and tried to install this wifi drivers and because of the lock on dpkg I can’t do this, it’s unfortunate that these blockades are added to the OS without the ability to take control of them and make modifications required to use the operating system. I’ve seen posts by the dev team claiming that BCM chipsets don’t work, this isn’t true and there are drivers out there that other distros are able to use that allow this to work.

So now I get to make the choice of running a network cable to my son’s laptop from the third bedroom modem so he can use online features or switch to an OS that’s more welcoming. Which is unfortunate because he really likes this OS but if I have to buy a dongle that hangs off his laptop he’s 8 I already know a usb port or dongle is going to get broken.

The devs should add the Broadcom driver set that’s available see below.


update the sources list… cant do that.
run dkms… cant do that.
get into dpkg… cant do that.
install wifi drivers for a card the devs claim doesnt work by using widely available and used drivers from open source… cant do that.

since youll probably ask. i already did the eos pull

  • Broadcom BCM4352 (PCI ID 14e4:43b1) rev 03

and guess what theyre supported in deb but this lockout wont let me install a driver to use the internet and then turn the lock back on. literally would take 1-2 minutes to fix this issue if i was allowed to run a couple commands. ridiculous…

UPDATE i found a post where i could use a command to sudo ostree admin unlock --hotfix but even with the overlay disabled i still cant install anything… theres no valid reason to block users from installing drivers that deb supports. if you dont want sudo or any ability to modify anything just remove the terminal or give admin access to make changes needed for systems.

Whats the point? I’m going to apply another day or trying to work around the limitations of this OS to get wifi drivers installed but after that I’m going to break the news to my child that unfortunately this won’t work and move on to a distro that’s more user friendly.

1 Like

The same applies for the guest additions for the VirtualBox image that EndlessOS society provides.

Due to the read only system and because it’s a driver it’s not possible to install them. This limits the use of EndlessOS in a VirtualBox virtual machine.

So the only option seems to be, that the dev team keeps up such requests and offer a solution to such yet unsupported devices, but supported by e g. Debian or Ubuntu upstream or proprietary etc.

Yea, there’s really no excuse. For whatever reason they really enjoy locking the software down and forcing you to either be lan locked or just never use the internet. Connectivity is everything in today’s electronics my kid was bummed when he found out there was no online for classes or anything and he hasn’t opened the laptop Xmas present since.

It’s frustrating because the fix to get it online is so simple. It’s a couple commands in terminal but I’m blocked from any of that.

I’d love to use it and so would my son. But they obviously don’t care as you get the same copy and pasted response about everything wifi here.

I might just toss this in the format pile and run a Debian install for him with a custom child profile.

Maybe in a couple decades endless will get it together.

I think their approach to use OSTree over dpkg/apt might offer some advantages, but if it comes to “special” hardware, that needs additional drivers they should either react to the community and implement it, or develop a way to offer the user a way to get around the issue with lacking drivers.

I guess it depends entirely on manpower. I get the impression, that EndlessOS got a very small development team.

Thanks for considering Endless OS for this, and for your feedback.

The challenge at hand is that the ability to modify the innards of the system is deeply incompatible with the distribution, update and security model of our OS. It is not an artificial limitation that you are “not allowed” to run the commands you mention; Endless OS is shaped rather differently from other distributions you may be familiar with, and is more comparable to (e.g.) smartphone OSes and ChromeOS where it is likewise impractical to install modified or additional kernel drivers.

We do make efforts to keep up with the latest features offered by the base set of technologies including ostree (such as the hotfix function you mentioned) which could provide some low level tools that do or don’t help. However, we are not making any efforts beyond that, so if this makes Endless OS incompatible for your needs, then as much as your consideration for Endless OS is appreciated, it would be a logical decision to go with another distro instead. We are taking steps to make our core educational value available on other platforms, such as our recent publishing of Endless Key on flathub (for most linux distros), so hopefully you can still enjoy some benefit of our current or future work from other systems.

Thank you for your answer. I got also the impression that the approach of EndlessOS is completely different to Debian and it’s other derivates. Maybe up to a portion similar to vanillaOS.

Also I found out about OStree and that the system is read only to protect it against the user tinkering and also against threats.

This enables it to become a good OS for it’s own goals, for elderly and technical unaware people as long as it supports completely the hardware and all devices.

I didn’t made up the comparison to ChromeOS and Android in this regard, bit that makes perfectly sense.

Though, that said, I don’t understand at all, that the team doesn’t react on the need for additional drivers like the common Broadcom BCM4352 or maybe the realtek as well(? uncertain).

That would be highly appreciated and also solve such issues with WiFi and the like of some users, what’s a show stopper.

In particular, if upstream are well established solutions to this.

But despite of those glitches, keep up the good and impressive work on EndlessOS! Thank you for offer technical unaware people such easy to use OS (as far it doesn’t come to special needs). Also I like the approach to offer people in regions without Internet connection or low and bad broadcast to the net a complete solution to work offline!

Great question and I wish there was an easy answer that was compatible with the design of systems like ours.

The Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU GPL. The broadcom wl driver is licensed in a way that is incompatible with the GNU GPL. So if Endless were to ship this driver in the OS, we would be violating the copyright of the Linux kernel, which is owned by thousands of open source contributors and companies; we cannot do this.

The alternative is to force the end user to install the driver on their own system. This is what other distros do, as I think you have seen. Since the end user is only installing but not distributing the end result, there is no copyright violation. But here is where we hit a high level of technical complexity in enabling this to happen robustly and smoothly under the realms of ostree, secure boot, etc. It’s not impossible to solve (we do something along these lines for nvidia actually), but its a bunch of effort required and gives you a solution with several inconveniences, downsides, and ongoing maintenance requirements.

For Realtek, the vendor supplied drivers are typically open source and GPL licensed, so the legal complications do not apply. Indeed, we have actually shipped a bunch of these drivers in our kernel over the history of Endless OS. The problem there is that these drivers are excessively large and don’t conform to the usual standards of the Linux kernel, meaning that it has becomes hard to keep them working on the schedule of our OS releases especially as we shifted quickly to the latest kernels, and they required ongoing testing to prevent breakage, taking resources away from our team, so we only did this in cases where our own hardware efforts required OS support, and we dropped the drivers once maintenance-free upstream options became available.

Okay, I didn’t know that EndlessOS is a GNU or open source only distribution.

I thought it’s more open to use also some important (even closed source) proprietary drivers with a different license, because it also ships Chrome and other proprietary software.

By the way: is there a complete list of hardware compatible or incompatible WiFi hardware?

It’s not a case of being “open source only” (we are not). Endless OS does include a limited amount of software that is not open source, however in all such cases, the supplier of such software has issued appropriate permission for us to do so, and no open source licenses are violated in the process - this is fully legal. By the way, we do not ship Chrome (we don’t have permission for that) but we do ship Chromium (the redistributable, open source variant) and we allow the users to download Chrome in our app center (it gets downloaded from Google, so we are not distributing it).

This is different from shipping the wl driver in “usable form”. This is not a matter of morals. While it has not been tested in court, it is generally regarded to be illegal: since the wl driver is linked to the Linux kernel’s object code at build time, you get a resultant derivative work that violates the terms of Linux’s GPL license. This is why no major linux distro will ship the wl driver, and if they “ship” it at all, it will be in terms of aiding the user to build it from source code on their own computer, such that no distribution of object code is happening.

Unfortunately not a useful/modern list than I’m aware of. I recent updated the notes here, which may help:

1 Like

So can one imagine to create scripts, that will download the upstream source and build it against the kernel to offer such drivers which then be built by the user to work around the license violation and gives the responsibility to the user, such as in other distros like with ppa or the like in Ubuntu?

Technically, yes, not impossible especially if you can accept some caveats. Those scripts have to deal with a number of complications, like what happens when the kernel version changes, and how do you manage UEFI secure boot restrictions. dkms is one approach here for other distros.

Dev resources would be required but something along these lines could perhaps be brought into existence for ostree-based systems and potentially integrated into Endless OS. At a glance I can’t quite figure out if Fedora’s akmods system works cleanly with their Silverblue ostree-based offering, but that may be one possibility to draw upon.

Are at least these chips supported?

“The BCM4313, BCM43224 and BCM43225 chips are alternatively supported by the open source brcmsmac driver. The BCM4311, BCM4312, BCM4321, BCM4322 and BCM4331 chips are alternatively supported by the open source b43 driver.”

BCM4352 isn’t listed though.

Yes! All these have drivers in upstream Linux and hence will be supported on Endless OS, to the extent that those drivers work effectively. The brcmsmac driver is authored by Broadcom, so fingers crossed…

This is kinda what I’m talking about.

You guys are actively putting up a wall and I still can’t figure out why you are any different from any other distro.

I told my son he’s out of luck, and switched to Edubuntu ran the installer and bam wifi works.

Having been around these systems for as long as I have I know there’s always way. I imagine you guys know some baked in backdoor debug where this would work and everything would be fine.

You speak of legal issues but from what? There’s a compiled driver package for Broadcom drivers that’s widely used by pretty much everyone.

Are you guys trying to take something open source and turn it into a windows os or Mac OS where you’re in total control of the environment and the end users choice?

Honestly it doesn’t really matter to me what the excuse is anymore. I’ve moved on from a such a restrictive “open source” uh kinda open source endless and onto better options, as I suggest anyone who finds this later on about Broadcom driver issues do as well. If they update and add in this driver package I might be willing to come back and try again but as it stand now I’m staying far away, and I suggest everyone else who doesn’t have native driver support do the same, and not run around trying to buy dongles for their systems that may or may not work.

End of the day it’s easier to run a distro that supports your drivers, or allows the compiler to install them. This allows for easy deployment and integration. Where Endless won’t be that for you. Sounds to me that they say “maybe” it will work “maybe it won’t” but it works offline so it’s okay. Don’t worry about updates or patches or security fixes.

If you have internet issues just try something else. Edubuntu is an excellent example of working out of the box. With kids in mind and education.

Best of luck in applying much needed changes and adaptions in your development approach.

Here are the supported drivers/chipsets listed: https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/users/drivers/brcm80211

Looks like I shouldn’t bother adding that Invidia graphics card?

This topic was automatically closed 28 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.