openSUSE 13.2 and Broadcom BCM43228 wireless: Driver woes in the Linux world

openSUSE 13.2 arrived in the beginning of November 2014. I was a bit too busy to try it. I found some free time yesterday and utilized it to install openSUSE on my workstation.

My workstation is a Dell Optiplex 9020 with i7-4770 CPU, 32 GB RAM and Broadcom BCM43228 based Dell 1540 wireless module. I managed to avoid the Microsoft Windows tax because Dell was savvy enough to ship me a machine with Linux (Ubuntu) preinstalled.

The driver for the said wireless module was already available in Ubuntu. So, when I received the machine everything was working like clockwork. I wanted to remove Ubuntu but I also wanted to avoid hunting down the drivers in the World Wide Web. Disappointingly, openSUSE did not have the driver binary in its repositories. I tried Manjaro as it was the only other distro that boasted of precompiled binaries for Broadcom BCM43228. Manjaro did not disappoint me.

For some reason, I like openSUSE more than all the other distros. I really do not know why. So, I decided to do whatever it would take to get openSUSE working on my workstation.

I searched and found that Broadcom provides the source code for the following modules:

BCM4311-, BCM4312-, BCM4313-, BCM4321-, BCM4322-, BCM43224-, and BCM43225-, BCM43227- and BCM43228-based hardware

Make sure that your device is in the above list. To detect the device ID, do the following:

sudo lspci | grep "Broad" 04:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43228 802.11a/b/g/n

To build any kernel module, the following packages are necessary. I had downloaded them earlier to compile the vbox driver for Virtualbox:

sudo zypper in kernel-devel gcc make

I downloaded the 64-bit version of the source. The README.txt (available for download on the Broadcom website) is an utterly important document. Read that carefully.

I started the compilation and found some errors:

/src/wl/sys/wl_cfg80211_hybrid.c:2074:4: error: too few arguments to function ‘cfg80211_ibss_joined’ cfg80211_ibss_joined(ndev, (u8 *)&wl->bssid, GFP_KERNEL);

There is a solution to this problem. Look for the following file in the extracted Broadcom source code:


Now, look for the following line:

[code language=”c”]

cfg80211_ibss_joined(ndev, (u8 *)&wl->bssid, GFP_KERNEL);


Replace the above line with the following piece of code:

[code language=”c”]


cfg80211_ibss_joined(ndev, (u8 *)&wl->bssid, &wl->conf->channel, GFP_KERNEL);


cfg80211_ibss_joined(ndev, (u8 *)&wl->bssid, GFP_KERNEL);



Evidently, the Kernel API has changed and the code is not compatible with it. Compile again.

It worked fine for me and I had a driver ready to be deployed in quick time.

I just hope Broadcom fixes this issue and releases the updated code.

Further Reading:

How to load the wl.ko driver