Broadcom 440x, FreeBSD 5.2.1

Richard Lynch ceo at
Sat Sep 4 15:43:01 PDT 2004

I have installed FreeBSD 5.2.1 on a Dell Insprion 700 m, dual boot with
the existing XP Home Edition (blech).

Have begun posting my experience at
It's not even caught up to where I am today (X Windows working), but will
be shortly.

The built-in LAN NIC is a Broadcom 440x.

It works well enough under Windows to send this message. :-^

Output from dmesg would seem to indicate that this device has "no driver
attached" (no driver supplied?)

'Net search sez that the "BFE" driver will work for this NIC (man bfe).

I locate-ed bfe on my FreeBSD, and did make; make install; and there is
now (and possibly already was...) an if_bfe.ko in /boot/kernel/ 
(./modules ?)

Running pkgload (?) manually on this if_bfe.ko tells me it's already loaded.

pkgunload/pkgload "works" but makes error messages about PCI and something
else already loaded, and then complains the hardware is not there. I think
that's what the stuff printed out means...

As I said, dmesg output *DOES* mention something about PCI 5.0 (no driver
attached) so the card is sort of recognized...  At least, I'm pretty sure
that's the card, by the process of elimination...

There follow (from dmesg) a couple messages about cbb0 (?) and then one
about fw???0, which I believe are the devices that *WOULD* be set up in
/dev had everything gone well, for the NIC, and what I *think* is an
integrated Wireless card -- The WLAN is also Broadcom, and the Windows
output seems to indicate that they're "integrated" somehow...

I have checked in BIOS, and the WLAN and NIC are both "On" or on "Auto" --
as much "On" as the BIOS will allow, for each.

So, things I'm not sure of:

Did I do the correct thing to get the driver installed?
It feels like maybe the driver needs to get installed sooner/earlier in
the boot process to it can attach itself to the hardware...

Has anybody else gotten this work specifically on Inspiron 700 m ?
Obviously it's been made to work with other boxen, but it's *remotely*
possible something specific to the 700 m is a problem, and I'd like to
rule that out.

Conversely, if you *KNOW* it's not going to work, please recommend a
PCMCIA LAN+WiFi card that's cheap and trouble-free with BSD.  Or USB card,
I guess...

Any other general suggestions for what to try?

Apologies for not having exact dmesg output, nor from pkgload, but without
the network card working...

I *did* try four (4) different Win ext2 driver/explorer/mount thingies to
get that output here.  None worked.

And 5.2.1 is categorically refusing to write to NTFS...
I was under the impression that it could/would over-write, but not
expand/create/delete a file, no?
So, would not:

% mount -t ntfs -o rw /dev/ad0s2 /c
% ls /c
(to verify it works, and it does)
% dmesg > /c/dmesg.txt

be expected to work?

Or does > (aka redirect) 'delete' and then 'create' a file?


What command would I use to fopen(, 'w') the /c/dmesg.txt file I created
under NTFS specifically so FreeBSD can over-write it?

Sorry, I've sidetracked from the real issue...

Apologies also for saying pkgload instead of whatever the command really
is...  I'm still mind-shifting to that from insmod.  (They pretty much do
the same thing, right?...)

If it's at your mental fingertips, how do I make reboot not freeze up?
And get the sound card (SigmaTel C-Major Audio) working???
Getting the wireless built-in to work would be heaven.


Like Music?

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