Atheros Wireless in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

Did a fresh install + updates of Kubuntu 8.10 on a customer’s laptop and had no wireless even though it’s an Atheros chipset.


I recently tried this method on a similar Acer laptop with Ubuntu 8.10 AMD64 with no results. After searching, I used another guide that makes compiling madwifi from source simple. If my method doesn’t work for you, remove the backports modules:

[sourcecode language=’bash’]sudo apt-get remove linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic

then reboot, and try out the below guide. Thank you Hyperandy.



  • Laptop: Acer Aspire 4520
  • Wireless Card: Atheros AR242x Communications Inc. 802.11abg

[sourcecode language=’bash’]lspci | grep “Atheros”
07:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)

[sourcecode language=’bash’]sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic
After above install completes, reboot, then open up the Hardware Drivers manager (jockey-gtk or jockey-kde) and disable “Support for Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards” and make sure that “Support for 5xxx series of Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards” is enabled then reboot. You may need to reboot to see both drivers in the Hardware Drivers manager.

This is at least a temporary fix, you’ll end up with the ath5k drivers- hopefully a stable universal method for Atheros card support will become available soon.

8.10 Release Notes | Ubuntu

65 Replies to “Atheros Wireless in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex”

  1. I tried this cmd and it says, “Couldn’t find package linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic”.

    I’m going to try Synaptic right now, but yeah… Your solution seems to be out of date.

  2. Drobuddy,
    How can it be out of date, it was just released and posted. You probably need to enable all the repositories in your source list.

    Worked fine for me..

  3. My output for:
    lspci | grep “Atheros”

    is exactly the same as you posted above. Yet your fix doesn’t work for me!

    I find wifi in linux a REAL TRIAL!

  4. Are you sure that the default drivers are disabled in the Hardware Drivers manager? The stock modules may still be loading and interfering.

    Try running: lsmod | grep "ath"
    You should only find modules related to ath5k, not ath_pci or otherwise.

    You may need to blacklist the default modules.

  5. This work great! Thank you!

    Upgraded my wife’s laptop from 8.04 to 8.10 and the wireless card stopped working. After I disabled the madwifi drivers per the Ubuntu site getting connected was not consistent. After this quick update connects everytime and stronger than before!

    Thanks again!

  6. I’m getting:

    E: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock – open (11 Resource temporarily unavailable)
    E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), is another process using it?

    I’ve got an Atheros AR5007EG on a Toshiba Satellite L315 using Ubuntu 8.10.


  7. This works.. but the first command should be change..
    if you run this command it will ask for a dependency. the first line should be to install the dependency followed by the module.

    I tried it this way.. concept is p
    retty much the same.

    1. copied the following files from the ibex live CD to my desktop.

    2. installed the first file using dpkg from the console
    3. installed the 2nd file using the same process..
    4. restart
    5. disabled the default atheros driver..
    6. Problem solved….

  8. @ husunzi:

    It looks like when you can the apt-get command you had another package manager running – it might have been the update manager, synaptic, add/remove applications etc. but you can only run one package manager at a time.

    @ chipHAZARD:

    Are you sure you had all the Ubuntu repositories enabled before running the apt-get command? All dependencies should have been easily satisfied from the repos.

  9. Hey thanks a million! I followed your instructions and they worked perfectly. I have a Toshiba Satellite A215-4747 that came loaded with Vista. I was able to find XP drivers from scouring all over the web but the common controls I never quite could figure out. I went back and tried all of the Linux distros like I do once a year hoping that I can make the switch. Everything is working on this laptop with 8.10, even the Fn key combos! I’m, a happy camper…

  10. I think Sam was right – I can remember whether I was running another package manager at the time, and meanwhile I reinstalled the whole system for another reason, and now I tried the instructions at the top of this page again & it worked – thank you so much!

  11. i too got the error, “Couldn’t find package linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic” .mine is Ubuntu8.10 and my laptop is CompaqCQ60.What should i do?

  12. Try using general repositories and refreshing in synaptic package manager!
    Are you shure that’s the same wireless model?
    lspci | grep “Atheros”
    07:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)
    I have Toshiba P200-1I4 and everything worked just perfect! On 8.04 I had to try a lot more to make it work!

  13. Seemed to work for me on my Acer 5315. Was a little confusing though cause the WiFi light dosnt blink like it does when I boot into Windows.

  14. I managed to install the backports with apt-get, rebooted, disabled support for Atheros LAN drivers, and rebooted again… The only problem is that I don’t have the option of enabling support for the 5xxx series of Atheros drivers…?

    I am running a clean Ubuntu 8.10 install on a Compaq Presario c700 laptop. Had wi-fi running (more or less) under 8.04 using ndiswrapper, but I thought perhaps this method might be better…

    Question (maybe a stupid one): How do I know if this successfully enabled my wi-fi? I am currently in an area with no wi-fi for miles, but will need it tomorrow, at which point it will be too late to tinker if something doesn’t work…

    Here’s my lspci readout (which does not seem to have changed after the procedure):

    01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)
    Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company Device 137b
    Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 11
    Memory at 91300000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
    Kernel modules: ath_pci

    Thanx in advance!

  15. Yaaaabadabadooo! I have Ubuntu. But I feel like in the flintstones.

    I solved the problem of not having acces to Internet, with an RJ-45 for now, but that gives me a 1m mobility with my laptop. I am really thinking of upgrading my RJ-45 to have 3m mobility.

    I will try this solution as soon as I get home from work.

    So far my computer looks at me with a very recentful face when I try to trick her.

  16. thanks, my acer 5052 now can detect atheros. but still, i cannot connect into my SMC wireless router. how come? is this about signal problem?
    here is my iwconfig

    bambang@intrepid:~$ iwconfig
    lo no wireless extensions.

    eth0 no wireless extensions.

    pan0 no wireless extensions.

    wmaster0 no wireless extensions.

    wlan0 IEEE 802.11bg ESSID:””
    Mode:Managed Frequency:2.412 GHz Access Point: Not-Associated
    Tx-Power=27 dBm
    Retry min limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr=2352 B
    Power Management:off
    Link Quality:0 Signal level:0 Noise level:0
    Rx invalid nwid:0 Rx invalid crypt:0 Rx invalid frag:0
    Tx excessive retries:0 Invalid misc:0 Missed beacon:0

    does anybody know about it?
    thanks for the help.

  17. Thank you soooooooo much! I resolved the issues with my wireless card, and of course I updated my system to the newest version of Kubuntu. And there it went again, my wireless. (Pull my hair out). I love Ubuntu and just bought a new laptop, that was pre installed with the dinosaur Vista.

    Like, i said as soon as I installed, got my wireless to working, and updated he system, my wireless was not functioning. It would not even recognize the network.

    I found your posts, and followed the instructions to a “T”. Still no luck. Until…. BAMBANGP suggested sudo modprobe ath5k. Why did I not think of this before?

    Are you Ubuntu Gods? If not, you are at least a blessing.

    If you do not mind, I am going to post in the Ubuntu forums, and point everyone to this site, for their Atheros needs.

    Thanx again.

    1. @ EDLJTech-Know:
      I would say just add “ath5k” to /etc/modules and reboot but I’ve read that ath5k may require another module: “mac80211” (source) and I don’t have the hardware available at the moment to research this.
      The guide above expects you to just use the Drivers Manager (jockey-gtk or jockey-kde) in Ubuntu to manage module activation.

  18. Ever since I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on my laptop (Thinkpad T41) I’ve had massive wireless issues. The two main problems were (1) the wireless connection would constantly drop and (2) network speed drastically reduced when my laptop was not physically close to my wireless router. My wireless worked great with previous versions of Ubuntu so I figured it must be a driver issue.

    Since I’ve switched wireless drivers as outlined above, I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in performance and have not had a dropped connection since I installed it last night. Thanks!

  19. This wireless driver worked for my Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5881. I hope this comment helps others in my situation. Be sure to go to System > Administration > Windows Wireless Drivers and uninstall any driver profiles there, if you have any.

  20. Hey, thank you for this helpful hint! I followed your description but afterwards I had to insert ath5k into the /etc/modules and reboot. Then it worked. Thank you

  21. Worked great for me, running Ubuntu 8.10 on Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5892. Anyone attempting this, be sure to go into System>Administration>Software Sources, and under the “Updates” tab, enable “Unsupported updates (intrepid-backports)”. I have “Pre-released updates (intrepid-proposed)” enabled as well, but that’s me.

    From there, Applications>Accessories>Terminal, type “sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic” without the quotes, press enter. If you don’t have an internet connection, it will prompt you to insert the installation CD; do so, once Ubuntu sees it, press enter again.

    After installation, reboot, then go to System>Administration>Hardware Drivers. Ensure that “Support for Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards” is disabled, and “Support for 5xxx series of Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards” is enabled. Reboot again, wireless networks should be recognized upon startup.

  22. Hi. i got the installation of ubuntu 8.10 in my box with kernel 2.6.27-9 and i can see the
    lspci | grep “Atheros”
    07:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)
    the thing is that it does not appear in ifconfig, iwconfig or in the network manager. any ideas?

  23. Thanks for this helpful post. I ran the backports and it worked.

    laptop: Acer Extensa 5620Z
    internal network card: Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter
    router: dlink
    security: wpa2

  24. Working at last, on a Gigabyte M912x Netbook tablet.

    Configuration: Gigabyte M912x, upgraded memory to 2 GB RAM,
    320 GB HD

    After migrating XP to the larger hard drive, in prep of dual boot, I installed Ubuntu 8.10 from CD sent from Canonical.

    Initially, keyboard was oddly mapped, with @ symbol only available using the Windows key in combo with some other. Touchpad did not work at all, and touchscreen only had 93% coverage, leaving periferal edges unsensitive.

    Installing Linux drivers for Penmount touchscreen from their website gave full screen sensitivity, calibration and as a bonus, provided the proper keyboard mapping of all keys.

    Till I found this site, I had no success whatever enabling the Atheros Wifi. Made the mistake of not starting from the first sentence of instructions, and began from the hyperandy link on, without success.

    When I was ready to conclude it was unworkable, I thought to try from scratch and began at the first step, of the apt-get remove, before the hyperandy link. As soon as I rebooted, the M912 found my office network automatically.

    I have since rebooted and it still finds the network

    Works like a charm. I sent the hardware report for Ubuntu with details of the keyboard mapping and touchscreen matters. Onlly thing as yet unresolved is the Synaptic touchpad, still dead.

    Kudos for the info, I would never have sorted it without this info, Thank You guys.

  25. Thanks for the people who posted. I finally got my wireless working. I have a lenovo t61 with 03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR5212 802.11abg NIC (rev 01) wireless card.

    I had two problems.

    1. The network manager applet wasn’t appearing in my desktop panel. I installed using the add/remove under the “applications” menu: applications -> add/remove -> internet -> check “network manager” -> apply changes

    2. Even after I had the applet, wireless wasn’t working. I also got the error message “Couldn’t find package linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic.” Instead of removing, I did: sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic.

    After rebooting my wireless was working and network manager was great for managing connections. The key here was to re-boot as wireless didn’t work until then.

  26. I have used this solution in the past and it has worked with flying colors but I recently formatted my box and did an install of 8.10 from a usb flash drive and when I try to install the module the system is looking for a cd. I don’t have a 32-bit cd (my 64-bit wont work), is there someway to fetch the files from the usb drive????


  27. Im new to Ubuntu and I have this problem but it cant find the linux-backports package, so how can I add it ? Can I do that from the system>admin>synaptic and how ?


  28. I’m working on an HP G60-235DX and I’ve got it functioning per your instructions. To get it to work is a bit of a kludge as I have to stop and start the driver (which continually says it is in use; even when I deactivate it), manually start a search for a network and then push the wireless button which doesn’t change color to acknowledge off or on. It then finds all the networks except the one I told it to connect; at least it shows no signal. It then connects to the network as instructed. If I could eliminate the stopping and restarting of the driver that would be a good start. Any suggests?

  29. Hello there

    THANKS !!!! 🙂

    Having installed wubi 8.10 and trying all the hints i could find, I still wasn’t able to use my wlan Atheros 5413 card…

    Last effort was connecting a 30 foot cable, update and installing backports.

    The last thing to make my loong cable obsolete was your good advice.

    Pretty steep learning curve, though I have been working with Linux some years ago 😉

    You just made my smile a lot bigger 8->

  30. Hi Sam & others
    thanks to Shannon VanWagner ( I found this post and it worked perfectly for my HP Pavilion dv5-1050ee AMD Turion 64 bit X2 Ultra.
    Am a new user to Ubuntu and am slowly gathering pearls from the Linux gurus – Shannon, Sam and others. Kudos .., keep it going


  31. OMG you’re my hero! For two days now I’ve been trying to connect through wireless and FINALLY got it with this:

    1.sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic

    That’s all I had to do.

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you 🙂

    1. I’m a bit unsure; I woludn’t want to support both 9.1 and 9.2 for raring, but as Debian is frozen we have no packaged extensions for 9.2. A lot of people use my backports PPA for getting the latest stuff for all supported releases, so the request doesn’t actually come up that much.

  32. Thanks so much, got this to work on my Acer Aspire 5314L50. After running this command and rebooting, I just clicked on the network icon by the clock and all the wireless networks were there!

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