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TinyMe, more PCMCIA testing

June 22, 2008 — BarryK
I got a tad bothered this morning, as two old 16-bit PCMCIA cards do not work in the latest Puppy. One of them is a Dynamode Data/Fax Modem (true hardware) and the other is a Xircom CreditCard Ethernet+Modem II combination Ethernet and modem (true hardware also). The correct drivers load, they seem to be there, 'lspcmcia' shows them present, however they don't actually work.
For the modems, running 'wvdialconf /etc/wvdial.conf' reports that /dev/ttyS0 does not respond. For the Ethernet interface, dmesg shows errors.

And then there's that earlier problem that I reported, where interfaces were appearing in /sys but the kernel was ignoring them and not generating uevents. I wondered if perhaps my substitute for udev was messing things up somehow.

So, I decided to compare with another distro. I downloaded TinyMe 2008.0, a small 200MB live-CD based on Pclinuxos. It uses Openbox window manager and Lxpanel for the tray, kernel.

TinyMe on my desktop PC
Well, my main deskop PC anyway, the one that currently has a wifi PCI card and wifi USB unit plugged in. I booted TinyMe and neither of those were detected. I checked and found the required 'acx' and 'rt73' modules were not there. So much for that.

TinyMe on my laptop
I booted with the Xircom combo card plugged in, and TinyMe failed to detect it. However, when I hotplugged it the drivers (serial_cs and xirc2ps_cs) were loaded -- hey that's the same problem that I had, so even though TinyMe has the full-blown udev it makes no difference, still has that fundamental kernel fault.
...for which I have now got a workaround in Puppy, so a smile came back on my face.

After hotplugging the Xircom card and having the correct drivers loaded, I used Drakconnect to configure the interface and it reported success, but it didn't work and 'dmesg' showed the same errors that I was getting in Puppy. Also as in Puppy the keyboard has gone crazy, going into repeat-mode -- I suspect that xirc2ps driver is conflicting with Xorg -- I did have that card working on an earlier Puppy, so it may have something to do with Xorg 7.3.

The modem in the Xircom card also did not respond to 'wvdialconf', however the Dynamode Data/Fax Modem did respond to 'wvdialconf' and responded successfully I have a mystery why it won't work in Puppy. I wonder if it will work with an older puppy that has the pcmcia-cs package...

Back with Puppy
I booted Puppy 4.00, which has the old pcmcia-cs package, and yes, the Dynacom Data/Fax PCMCIA modem card does work.

Okay, so something is wrong with the Xircom card, but it is a concern that I can't get the Dynacom modem to work in the latest Puppy. I'll keep working on it. When I plug in the card, dmesg gives this:

pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
cs: memory probe 0xd0000000-0xd00fffff: excluding 0xd0000000-0xd001ffff
pcmcia: registering new device pcmcia0.0
pcmcia: CIS filename is too long [GLOBETROTTER.cis]

In Puppy 4.00 and TinyMe I don't get that error message. So the problem is to understand what causes that error message.


Username: ChiJoan
This is good news, last time I tried the USB 2-port PcCard to use the USB-to-Cat5 dongle it didn't work with Puppy. I was hoping to add a USB storage device to it, but maybe I'll have to use a USB hub with AC adapter. Puppy is great, thanks for your hard work, ChiJoan in Reno, NV

Username: Rark
"I installed Puppy 4.0 on a Dell Inspiron 5000. With the Xircom PCMCIA ethernet & modem adapter plugged in, setup would freeze on modem detection (network detection backgrounded). On second try, as it was stalling on modem detection, I popped the card out of the PCMCIA socket, and install continued as normal. In the OS, I placed the Xircom card back in, got the machine to detect the card, and networking is fine now. I don't actually need the modem components, so is it possible to stop all modem detection on startup so that the system loads without having to unplug the PCMCIA card? Puppy is a great little OS to revive my old laptop. Keep up the great work. Rark

Username: Aitch
"Hi Barry Can you please post a quick - "This is what's supposed to happen, sequence", for pcmcia/usb with both the old & the udev/hotplug methods of loading these sockets/ports/interfaces/events or whatever the correct jargon is! See my thread here; after trying but failing to get Dougal to explain in the improved network wizard thread reason? how to help if you don't know? Thanks, Aitch

Tags: puppy