New orinoco snapshot added

I’ve been meaning to clean up the net-wireless/orinoco* ebuilds for quite some time, now I’ve finally gotten around to it.

I’ve added an ebuild for the new 0.15rc3 snapshot (which still doesn’t contain USB support) and merged net-wireless/orinoco-cvs with net-wireless/orinoco. The new net-wireless/orinoco-9999 ebuild is a live CVS HEAD ebuild (which includes prism_usb support).

The net-wireless/orinoco-usb-firmware ebuild is now masked due to questionable licenses and will be removed soon. It is replaced by the official upstream package called net-wireless/orinoco-fwutils. This package contains various scripts for fetching the firmware (only needed by some cards – and some only in certain modes).

On a side note, the 0.15rc3 version of the orinoco driver was included in linux-2.6.15-rc1, hopefully prism_usb will follow soon.

wpa_supplicant vs. xsupplicant

We currently have two supplicants for IEEE 802.11/wired authentication available in portage, namely net-wireless/wpa_supplicant and net-misc/xsupplicant.

The latter is currently not up to date in portage nor integrated into our new baselayout, while wpa_supplicant is both up to date and well integrated in basesystem (thanks to Uberlord). We currently have a few open bugs for xsupplicant in our bugzilla, including a a version bump (bug #100680) and the design and development of a new rcscript for integrating it with our new baselayout (bug #98253). Also, wpa_supplicant seems to be much better supported from upstream than xsupplicant; more frequent releases and much more wide spread usage.

To justify having to maintain two packages (along with rcscripts) with the exact same purpose, I’d like to hear from xsupplicant users why they prefer xsupplicant over wpa_supplicant – and what prevents them from moving to using wpa_supplicant instead. Please post a comment, write me an email – or contact me on IRC.

Update: Seems the GWN authors have misunderstood this entry a bit.

Request for testers – new madwifi snapshot

Using the Atheros card sent to me by latexer, I was finally able to put some work into getting proper madwifi support in Gentoo Linux. I have created ebuilds for a new SVN snapshot (r1328-20051120) of both madwifi-driver and madwifi-tools and cleaned up the ebuilds somewhat.

Madwifi-tools now installs an udev rules file for automatically running wlanconfig when a new device is added. The prior preup()/postup() solution didn’t work properly with wpa_supplicant, which can take the interface down/up in the background.

Speaking of wpa_supplicant; I have also made a new revision of the wpa_supplicant-0.4.7 ebuild to reenable madwifi support. I have tested this against an access point using WPA-PSK TKIP, and it Works For Me ™. Now I just need to figure out why my Atheros card wont connect to an AP on channel 13 – `iwlist ath0 channel` shows channel 13 just fine…

Anyways, I’d really like some testers for the new madwifi-driver, madwifi-tools and wpa_supplicant ebuilds before I stick them into portage. They can be found in my portage overlay – both positive and negative feedback will be appreciated, just post a comment or contact me on IRC.

New hardware received

Yay! Pete was kind enough to send me two IEEE 802.11 CardBus cards all the way from the U.S.: an Atheros AR5212 based Proxim card and a PrismGT ISL3890 based Netgear card. These will be of great help when testing wpa_supplicant and hostapd, both packages which should have support for either of these cards.

Of course, I will also look into providing more up-to-date (and hopefully better, which shouldn’t be too hard taken the last couple of versions into consideration ;) ) ebuilds for both madwifi-driver and prism54 – and try to solve all the fuzz we recently had with madwifi support under Gentoo.

A big thank you to latexer for making this possible! :)

Update: also a big thanks to SuperLag for sponsoring the Prism54 card to latexer in the first place ;)

No more bitterness(?)

Dang. Just when I was getting used to being a bitter, old fart the shop sends me a brand new and shiny IBM ThinkPad X31 to replace the one that’s been giving me all those gray hairs ;-)

The Sun is shining, the birds are singing, my Internet connection is functional, next week is Autumn holiday here – and emerge is ticking away on the new lappy. Could life possibly be any better?

Laptop Repairs, take III

Friday I finally received my IBM X31 in the mail after it was repaired for the second time in a row. This time it even booted when I turned it on! Hooray! But my celebration was short-lived. Mere minutes after I had turned it on it crashed and died – same problem as when I sent it in for repairs in the first place. Sigh.

I immediately phoned the shop who did the repairs and asked for an explanation. Luckily (for them, that is) they accepted my proposal of getting a new laptop instead of them trying to repair the broken motherboard a third time. So today I shipped my otherwise trusty IBM X31 to the shop one final time (fingers crossed) – hopefully to receive a new X31 by mail within days… Good thing this laptop is under a 3 year warranty!

Oh, and hopefully my Internet connection at home will be restored tomorrow, so things are starting to look bright again :)

Who needs Internet connections anyways…


I still haven’t had my laptop back from it’s second repairs, yesterday my bike had a flat tire and today my Internet connection at home died due to some workers in white overalls cutting our phone lines by accident…

So here I am – stuck with no laptop, no Internet connection and no bike to take for a spin. Is someone trying to tell me something? Do I really have to do the dishes and clean the apartment?

Wish list: GPS receiver

The mobile herd has traditionally been the maintainer of GPS (as in Global Positioning System) related packages in Gentoo Portage, but unfortunately, no one in the mobile herd currently has access to a GPS receiver to test with.

About five months ago I opened a meta-bug (#90848) for keeping track of all the GPS related bug reports and enhancement requests currently in our Bugzilla – before I reassigned them all to the maintainer-{wanted,needed} aliases. I also had a position for GPS packages mantainer added to our staffing needs page and notified the gentoo-dev@ mailing list of us being short of a GPS maintainer.

To this point, nobody has stepped up to take the position of GPS maintainer, so I’d like to put out a wish list for a GPS receiver (preferably a Garmin GPS with USB connection) so that I can maintain these packages myself.

Should you wish to donate such a device to me, please contact me.

Yay! Laptop back – Nay! Laptop still b0rken

Sigh. This is just not my year, it seems…

This morning I finally got my laptop back from repairs, however… The cardboard box was all taped over with “Resealed by the Mail Service” indicating the box had not had a safe journey through the mail system.

Oh, well – I thought – the laptop itself was neatly tucked away inside tons of air-filled foam, it should be safe. But of course it wasn’t. When I tried to boot it up, the exact same failure as when I sent it in for repairs (no BIOS screen, four beeps at bootup) was still present.

I immidiately sent an email to the shop who did the repairs – only to be told “Please send it in for repairs again”. Sigh. Yet another two or three weeks without a laptop/development machine? Why couldn’t they have sent the laptop marked “Handle with Care”?

This is clearly not my year.

Still no laptop…

About two weeks ago, my otherwise trusty IBM ThinkPad X31 laptop started acting weird: it froze at random, threw kernel oopses and otherwise locked up hard. Occationally, it even refused booting – showing nothing but a black screen at power on. After being able to reproduce these problems under execution of simple applications such as memtest86+ I saw no other solution other than to send in my laptop for repairs.

This is rather unfortunate, as the laptop is also my primary (and only) Gentoo development box. Although I quickly managed to get my Soekris net4801 set up with mail client (You may congratulate me; I’ve switched from Evolution to Mutt due to this) etc, its 266MHz pentium-mmx class CPU – an NSC Geode SC1100 – is not very well suited for any major development.

Going on second week, my X31 is still at the shop for repairs. Hopefully I will soon hear from them – and have my main development box back. Until then, non-critical updates and bug fixes on the packages I maintain may be a little slower than usual…