Ubuntu Edgy Eft on a ThinkPad X60s: how to make ipw3945 work

I recently acquired a Lenovo ThinkPad X60s laptop (which is a really sweet machine if you want a small laptop). I installed the latest Ubuntu Edgy Eft development version, and I ran into one gotcha that I’m going to document here in case it bites you too.

Since the X60s has no CD-ROM drive, I started the Ubuntu installer via network boot, which worked very smoothly. The installer worked great, asking minimal questions and handling everything smoothly, including resizing the existing NTFS Windows partition and adding a Windows option to the grub menu.

However, when I booted into my new Ubuntu system, I was mystified by the fact that there was no wireless interface. lspci confirmed that my laptop did, as documented, have a Intel IPW3945 wireless device, and lsmod showed the ipw3945 module was loaded. A look at the kernel log showed that ipw3945 found its device and seemed to be happy, but ifconfig -a stubbornly showed only the wired eth0 interface.

After some head scratching and web searching, I noticed that there was no ipw3945d binary blob running in userspace. After doing some more research, I discovered that ipw3945d is contained in the restricted modules package — linux-restricted-modules-generic in my case. After installing that package and reloading the ipw3945 module, eth1 showed up and everything worked great.

So if you are missing an interface for your ipw3945, make sure you have ipw3945d running.

Comments are closed.