Ubuntu – Drivers for Broadcom BCM43142 on Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr)


I am not able to install drivers for my Wi-Fi + Bluetooth card (Broadcom BCM43142).

What I have done till now:

  1. I have tried using the drivers at this website.
  2. I tried following the instructions given here for both the apt-get install, download tar ball and install and offline install (from Ubuntu's boot DVD).
  3. I tried installing bcmwl-kernel-source.

At the end of every single method [1,2,3], when I do a sudo modprobe wl, I invariably get this:

modprobe: ERROR: could not insert 'wl': Exec format error.

I have also tried blacklisting drivers other than wl and have tried reinstalling the same several times.

  1. I also tried using ndiswrapper which was successful enough to make the UNCLAIMED driver (see below for the output of lshw -c Network) change to something else.

However at the end the Wi-Fi did now show up or work.

Kernel version: 3.13.0-24-generic

I have tried everything I could do to my full ability. It would be extremely helpful if you could help me setup my Wi-Fi. I am willing to pastebin output of any commands that you might ask me to execute. (I have added the outputs of lshw -c Network and lspci -nn , but please don't hesitate to ask me anything else.)

lshw -c Network
WARNING: you should run this program as super-user.
  *-network UNCLAIMED     
       description: Network controller
       product: BCM43142 802.11b/g/n
       vendor: Broadcom Corporation
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:02:00.0
       version: 01
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: bus_master cap_list
       configuration: latency=0
       resources: memory:90500000-90507fff

02:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM43142 802.11b/g/n [14e4:4365] (rev 01)

The output of sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source. The official driver (by Ubuntu) for this WLAN card:

sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 1 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/1,126 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1,417 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
(Reading database ... 318223 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing wireless-bcm43142-oneiric-dkms ( ...
Removing all DKMS Modules
update-initramfs: deferring update (trigger activated)
Processing triggers for initramfs-tools (0.103ubuntu4) ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.13.0-24-generic
Selecting previously unselected package bcmwl-kernel-source.
(Reading database ... 318162 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../bcmwl-kernel-source_6.30.223.141+bdcom-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking bcmwl-kernel-source ( ...
Setting up bcmwl-kernel-source ( ...
Loading new bcmwl- DKMS files...
Building only for 3.13.0-24-generic
Building for architecture x86_64
Building initial module for 3.13.0-24-generic

Running module version sanity check.
 - Original module
 - Installation
   - Installing to /lib/modules/3.13.0-24-generic/updates/dkms/


DKMS: install completed.

This is the error I keep getting repeatedly:

modprobe: ERROR: could not insert 'wl': Exec format error

update-initramfs: deferring update (trigger activated)
Processing triggers for initramfs-tools (0.103ubuntu4) ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.13.0-24-generic

Also, what is meant by the same?

I went through the following Ask Ubuntu questions:

The second one seems to be a very comprehensive summary of all possible ways… Still I am stuck up with this Exec Format error.

Best Answer

  • OK, so I finally fixed this :D

    First here's what I learnt in the process:

    1. NEVER ram your OS with different drivers or modules haphazardly until your problem gets fixed, at least not without a) Knowing what / why you are doing, and b) MOST IMPORTANTLY How to undo the same.

    2. Whenever you try a different driver, module, or package, first uninstall the package that you previously installed for the same purpose.

    And lots of thanks to @chili555 who pointed out that the leftover from a previous package was the reason.

    So what I did was:

    1. I tried installing bcmwl-kernel-source on a live run of Ubuntu 14.04 (with my LAN cable) and checked if WLan works now. (And yeah, it did confirm that Ubuntu 14.04 / BCM43142 / bcmwl-kernel-source were not the problem.)

    2. I went to /etc/modprobe.d and cross checked the files there with my hard disk installation's version of the same folder.

    3. This /etc/modprobe.d directory contains configuration files which contain blacklisting information for different modules. I made a note of the available files and later removed what was not available here from my hard disk installation's version of the same folder too.

    4. I went to /lib/modules/3.*/updates/. This is the directory that stores all your modules (wl, b43, etc. ... ) and the one that I messed up with various custom patched versions of wl modules listed in various forums.

    5. After cross checking with my hard disk installation's version of lib/modules/3.*/updates/, I manually removed all Bluetooth / wireless / dkms / wl / (and in particular one mac80211) and cleaned up any other modules that are related to wlan.

    6. I finally replaced (did a recursive copy onto) the /etc/modprobe.d and /lib/modules/3.*/updates/ directories (of my hard disk installation) with the same directories from the live OS.

    7. Reboot

    8. Do sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source. This is the official working driver for BCM43142 for Ubuntu 14.04.

    9. Reboot and sudo modprobe wl and viola, wireless was working!

    And finally sincere apologies to all my cross-posting, reposting, spamming IRCs with this question repeatedly. :P

    NOTE: Replacing /removing your hard disk installation files is recommended only for those who installed your OS recently. Otherwise there is a risk that you could replace / remove files / modules that may have been installed for other devices which may be irrelevant to this issue.

    Thanks again to chili555 :)

    EDIT I recently updated my kernel to support the DisplayLink driver for my USB monitor and bam the wifi was gone.

    A blind attempt at re-installing bcmwl-kernel-source threw the following error in the build log.

    "alloc_netdev" requires 4 arguments, but only 3 given

    Turns out the driver was not updated for the upgraded kernel (version 3.18). A bit of googling let me to this post -


    Where there are links available to patched versions of wl, which works with the upgraded kernel.

    I manually downloaded and installed this guy and wifi was restored.

    Now I can go back to browsing lolcats in peace. Amen.