Posts Tagged ‘atheros’

Update 20110221

February 21, 2011

Okay, it’s been a long time since I was able to update this blog. My trial period of running SL/CentOS 5.5 on my other laptops was brief. I reinstalled Debian and updated to Squeeze. I continue to use SL 5.5 on my Aspire One. And XP but I use it so seldom that updating often takes over an hour.

I’ve acquired more hardware the past six months, including a freaking iPod. Yes, I know, but I inherited it. I still hate Apple because their products are overpriced and mediocre-performing (or worse). The good news is it’s better supported under Linux than my dodgy MTP-based Samsung S3 (which I still prefer). I use it mainly for spoken word podcasts since the sound quality — ahem — doesn’t need to be so good for those.

I grabbed the live image for Scientific Linux 6rc1 last week when it was released. I ran some preliminary tests on my Aspire One to test its wireless card with a more modern kernel. I was surprised Saturday afternoon to go over 12 hours uptime. The card finally did crash and I was unable to scan again, but that was after 25 hours and under circumstances I figured would result in loss of wireless. How did I know? Because that’s happened occasionally while using 5.5. The problem seems to happen when moving large volumes of data through SSH or running extremely long SSH sessions. This has been off-putting to say the least. I’m not inclined to change for the sake of change — 5.x will continue receiving support for quite some time so there’s no rush. I may install SL6rc1 on my main laptop, though, and aid in testing (at least its card has never crashed like that Atheros card continues to do on occasion).

I’ll post a separate entry about this test later to give impressions of the changes between 5.5/6 as well note other problems I encountered.

AA1 + madwifi-hal + WPA = FAIL

August 27, 2009

I’ve started another video but need to edit it together and this time there will be voice-over (oh dear). For now, here’s a couple screenshots to show that the problem isn’t going away with madwifi-hal. Happened a couple hours ago. See the “stream” aterm listed on my tray? That’s mplayer with a stream. It disappeared right after I took this screenshot. And the page I was trying to load in Opera wouldn’t.

screenshot_0827085133

The first thing I did was attempt to ping out. No luck. Then I looked to see if dmesg had something revealing, and it did.

screenshot_0827085903

I rebooted into TinyCore and immediately checked to see if the card was detected. I was pretty sure it would be just like the timeouts with ath5k and that I wouldn’t even appear to have a wireless card. Being right all the time is more a curse to me than to everyone else around me. Believe it or not.

screenshot_0827090157

I went ahead and ran my script to connect to my home AP. No surprises. Can’t connect with what’s not there. Or what’s not recognized.

Movie version later. I’ll try to keep it rated no worse than PG-13.

(edited mildly)

Another Day, Another ath5k Timeout – This Time TinyCore

August 26, 2009

The goal was to leave the AA1 running TinyCore on as long as possible. The problem has to be somewhere between the ath5k driver, wpa_supplicant, and the 80211 stack. Here’s uname -a, lsmod (note: I was using the TinyCore wireless-2.6.29.1-tinycore_mod.tcem extension so now it’s happened with both 2.6.29.1-based module extensions), and dmesg (with my AP’s MAC masked). This kind of speaks for itself. Again.

Linux pluto 2.6.29.1-tinycore #1337 SMP Fri Apr 10 19:12:39 EEST 2009 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
Module                  Size  Used by
oss_usb                92044  0
oss_hdaudio           127844  0
osscore               509140  2 oss_usb,oss_hdaudio
ath5k                  93848  0
i2c_i801                5280  0
i2c_core                9980  1 i2c_i801
mac80211              106056  1 ath5k
ath                     5228  1 ath5k
cfg80211               49524  3 ath5k,mac80211,ath
rfkill_backport         7656  1 cfg80211
squashfs               11732  0
vfat                    5652  0
fat                    29692  1 vfat
acer_wmi                8984  0
rfkill                  4012  2 acer_wmi
backlight               1404  1 acer_wmi
serio_raw               2240  0
r8169                  18352  0
wmi                     2952  1 acer_wmi
ac                      1732  0
battery                 5976  0
scsi_wait_scan           260  0

13:42pm  up   3:52,  0 users,  load average: 0.28, 0.18, 0.07

CPI: Battery Slot [BAT1] (battery present)
ACPI: AC Adapter [ACAD] (on-line)
r8169 Gigabit Ethernet driver 2.3LK-NAPI loaded
r8169 0000:02:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 17 (level, low) -> IRQ 17
r8169 0000:02:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
r8169 0000:02:00.0: irq 28 for MSI/MSI-X
eth0: RTL8102e at 0xf808e000, 00:23:8b:0d:68:f4, XID 24a00000 IRQ 28
intel_rng: FWH not detected
acer-wmi: Acer Laptop ACPI-WMI Extras
Synaptics Touchpad, model: 1, fw: 7.2, id: 0x1c0b1, caps: 0xd04771/0xa40000
input: SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad as /devices/platform/i8042/serio2/input/input5
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda3, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda5, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda3, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda5, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
squashfs: version 4.0 (2009/01/31) Phillip Lougher
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda5, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
Adding 2144636k swap on /dev/sda6.  Priority:-1 extents:1 across:2144636k
intel_rng: FWH not detected
cfg80211: Using static regulatory domain info
cfg80211: Regulatory domain: US
 (start_freq - end_freq @ bandwidth), (max_antenna_gain, max_eirp)
 (2402000 KHz - 2472000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2700 mBm)
 (5170000 KHz - 5190000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
 (5190000 KHz - 5210000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
 (5210000 KHz - 5230000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
 (5230000 KHz - 5330000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 2300 mBm)
 (5735000 KHz - 5835000 KHz @ 40000 KHz), (600 mBi, 3000 mBm)
cfg80211: Calling CRDA for country: US
i801_smbus 0000:00:1f.3: PCI INT B -> GSI 17 (level, low) -> IRQ 17
ath5k 0000:03:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 18 (level, low) -> IRQ 18
ath5k 0000:03:00.0: setting latency timer to 64
ath5k 0000:03:00.0: registered as 'phy0'
ath: EEPROM regdomain: 0x65
ath: EEPROM indicates we should expect a direct regpair map
ath: Country alpha2 being used: 00
ath: Regpair used: 0x65
phy0: Selected rate control algorithm 'minstrel'
Registered led device: ath5k-phy0::rx
Registered led device: ath5k-phy0::tx
ath5k phy0: Atheros AR2425 chip found (MAC: 0xe2, PHY: 0x70)
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda3, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
mtrr: no more MTRRs available
mtrr: no MTRR for 40000000,800000 found
mtrr: no more MTRRs available
Clocksource tsc unstable (delta = -339460540 ns)
kjournald starting.  Commit interval 5 seconds
EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
EXT3 FS on sda3, internal journal
EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
wlan0: authenticate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: authenticated
wlan0: associate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: RX AssocResp from yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy (capab=0x431 status=0 aid=4)
wlan0: associated
wlan0: deauthenticating by local choice (reason=3)
wlan0: authenticate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: authenticated
wlan0: associate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: RX AssocResp from yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy (capab=0x431 status=0 aid=4)
wlan0: associated
wlan0: deauthenticating by local choice (reason=3)
wlan0: authenticate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: authenticated
wlan0: associate with AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy
wlan0: RX AssocResp from yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy (capab=0x431 status=0 aid=4)
wlan0: associated
oss_hdaudio 0000:00:1b.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
usbcore: registered new interface driver oss_usb
intel_rng: FWH not detected
CE: hpet increasing min_delta_ns to 15000 nsec
wlan0: no probe response from AP yy.yy.yy.yy.yy.yy - disassociating
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 17 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
__ratelimit: 16 callbacks suppressed
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)
ath5k phy0: failed to wakeup the MAC Chip
ath5k phy0: can't reset hardware (-5)

 This is why I reclaimed so much of the hard drive space taken up by CrunchBang. It could’ve been any other distro, it just happened to be CrunchBang/un-buntu at the time I finally had it and decided it’s too goddamn unstable to use on my hardware. This is a driver in the 2.6 mainline and it’s buggy as hell.

Now my only Linux partitions are a very small primary (for /boot) and about a 5GB space for TinyCore. That’s adequate for the kind of use (such as testing other Atheros-related options like madwifi) I’ll have on my AA1 unless I can find a more stable option. And stability really matters — I’ve been using this for work. I can’t justify rebooting and waiting for the fucking card to work again. Fortunately, I’ll have the new laptop by this weekend and it doesn’t have any Atheros chips in it. I’ll run Linux on that and Windows on this.

Video: Linux ath5k Reboot (Part 2)

August 18, 2009

Yeah, it so deserves a friggin’ sequel.  This was post-reboot. As you can see, the Atheros device wasn’t even detected in dmesg, lspci, etc.

That meant no scanning, no connecting, nothing. What’s the purpose of a netbook if it can’t fucking network?

As I note in the comments, it took me several reboots this time — and yet again in both Linux and Windows — to re-detect the device and be able to network.

Let me make a disclaimer. I’ve followed the bug reports on this from the first time it happened to me. What is it now, nearly six months? I appreciate the serious effort these people are making to make this device class function under Linux. As of my most recent kernel, though, I think it’s proven to still be at a development-stage and still quite unstable. I don’t recommend using Linux on Aspire Ones or other devices using the ath5k driver unless you have a high threshhold for pain and can live with it stopping suddenly and for no apparent reason like this. Maybe they’ll get it functioning better soon. I hope they do.

In the meantime, I’m faced with either changing cards or using Windows rather than Linux. My AA1 is off warranty in a couple months. I may switch cards before then. Or I may spring for Windows 7. The irony of this is, all of this happened while I was making another screencast demonstrating why I was going to ditch CrunchBang/Ubuntu for TinyCore. That’s when the audio from the stream stopped and I realized I was dealing with this mess again.

Caveat emptor. One man’s “free as in freedom” is another man’s quintuple reboot to get the damn thing to work correctly again.

Addressing More Search Engine Hits

August 11, 2009

Here’s another post addressing search engine hits to my blog.

To the person hitting on “error installing xubuntu,” I couldn’t agree more. Installing Xubuntu is a very serious error! Fortunately it can be corrected by installing something else. I recommend any other distro, but if you insist on an Ubuntu-based distro give crunchbang a try.

I keep getting sporadic hits looking for microcore screenshots. You know what it would look like? A console. You boot straight into a prompt that (if you boot without user= and/or host= cheatcodes) looks like this:

tc@box /:

Do you really need a screenshot to decide if you want that? It would seem to me that people who don’t want X shouldn’t need a screenshot of a prompt. It would also seem to me that anyone using MicroCore with the intention of a full X extension would appreciate the fact that the TinyCore screenshots are MicroCore+X screenshots. Duh.

Today was the first time I had a hit about how to use an AA1 as a keyboard for another computer. Ummm, via ssh? That would certainly do it but the AA1 is a computer not a keyboard.

Finally (for now anyway), I’m getting a stream of hits for searches related to ath5k problems. I’m using kernel 2.6.30.1. There’s been no changes to ath5k in the changelogs up to current (2.6.30.4) and no significant changes to the 802.11 stack, either. I try to limit my Linux use to less than three hours per session but I still lose function of the Atheros wifi card. It’s a pain in the ass and one of the reasons I continue to dual-boot with XP (never had any problem with the Atheros card under XP except that the problem persists between boots after it crashes in Linux) and am strongly considering upgrading to Windows 7.

Thoughts on ath5k, Stability, and Linux (In)Security

August 3, 2009

I’ve continued to have serious issues related to Linux ath5k wireless so I’ve decided that I’ll upgrade my netbook to Windows 7 when it’s released. I was hoping that recent improvements in the ath5k code would fix what had plagued me before with frequent loss of detection of the Atheros card itself, which, as I’ve described before, continues even after rebooting into either Linux or Windows. That alone tells me something’s really, really bad with it.

I’ve been kind of restraining myself from going beyond that particular point about the gravity of the problem or what it potentially means. As I’ve already written, loss of detection of the card even after rebooting leads me to have concerns about physical damage to hardware. In case you haven’t noticed, every distro comes with a disclaimer that you’re on your own and developers take no responsibility for damage to your hardware. That’s always so comforting to know, that these people promise you the world but can’t stand behind their code.

The problem is capricious and can’t be tied to one event. That makes it difficult to initiate some specific sequence of events on my netbook to replicate the issue. At least that would give some guidance on what not to do — whether it’s a certain application, hitting certain sites, using a particular encryption protocol, etc.

Here’s what I haven’t said thus far. I wonder if it might actually be easier to recreate the issue outside of my netbook than on it.

Where there’s a “bug,” there’s often a vulnerability not far beneath. With the frequency of loss of wireless with this particular driver-card combination on my netbook, I wonder how difficult it would be to cause DoS (edit: whether limited to the wireless device, extending to the whole OS, or even pwnage/arbitrary execution) on the same network or even outside of it. If so, then there’s a much bigger and potentially more serious problem than instability.

This is only something I’ve pondered so far. I haven’t done anything (yet) to see if this is possible. It may not be any easier to cause the DoS externally than to set up a situation where the card panics and the OS no longer detects it. Either way, Linux is not proving a rock-solid option on my AA1.

My curiosity, though, is piqued by the possibility that I may be able to at least cause DoS through the instability of this driver (or the Linux 802.11 stack?). I’ve never been one to presume that Linux is inherently more secure than any other operating system. I’m certainly not going to start lying and join in the lie that it’s more stable than any other operating system. That’s especially true when it comes to my Atheros card: flawless and no crashing under Windows, unpredictable and buggy as hell under Linux.

One of the things I wrote last summer when Linus Torvalds mocked the OpenBSD people for their attention to security is that the OpenBSD team focuses on correctness of code because that makes security-related issues easier  to find. Where Linus is more concerned about fixing bugs, the OpenBSD team is concerned about doing things correctly from the start so there aren’t myriad little bugs to find because of sloppily-submitted code. One’s “bug” is another’s hole to pwn en masse.

I’ll probably continue looking to see if there are changes to the ath5k code and/or 802.11 code in Linux. I’ll also see if I can find another card with a better track record under Linux. Barring any changes, though, my Linux days are numbered.