A couple who are friends with Jenny and I asked what must be getting on for two years ago about what could be done to remove the constant virus problems they were having with their Windows box. Naturally after making sure they did not need anything that Linux was poor at, ie, 3D games and so on, I recommended FC2 at that time. I nuked their box with it and the guy has been very happy all this time. I updated him to FC4 a while back.
But now he is upgrading from dialup to ADSL, he needed this taking care of. He had a Zoom PCI Adsl card, model 5506 with a conexant chipset. I found a driver here for it:
Hm so the first sign all was not well was the age of the page and the results from Google, they are all from circa 2003. This project has been continued to be worked up in the last couple of months though. After some struggle trying to avoid the 4kBytes/sec modem download we got the driver and the kernel-devel sorted out and compiled it. It quickly blew chunks, on a #error that our kernel had CONFIG_REGPARM defined. Well we run the stock Fedora kernel and are not much interested in moving off it, why on earth should the driver care about this detail? Hm closer inspection of the site showed:
|''Note: Linux 2.6.* users should note that their kernel must be compiled without the "use register arguments" (CONFIG_REGPARM) option. This is an experimental option that will almost certainly never work reliably with this driver or any other driver that uses proprietary object code. Newer versions of Fedora and SuSE come with kernels that use this option, in these cases you will have to recompile the kernel.''
Ugh, so the reason it couldn't survive CONFIG_REGPARM is because it has a binary blob which demands stack args! No chance apparently to get two binary blobs compiled with and without. This is a stupid situation, because the site itself documents that Fedora kernels after 2.6.9 on FC3 are compiled with CONFIG_REGPARM, since it should speed things up at no cost. His solution is to insist on a vanilla kernel.org kernel solely to support the needs of the binary blob :-(
We had to give up trying to get it cooking, and instead the guy blew GBP20 on an ADSL router from ebuyer. Just what awesome secrets do they think that binary blob is concealing? What astounding concepts that would set the world on fire if their sources were known?
Binary blobs, causing trouble and bitrotting where ever you find them.
I sent the guy running the project a polite email
|Hi Patrick - First thanks for your work on the Conexant ADSL project. I was trying to install a Zoom ADSL PCI card for a friend, we are both running Fedora Core 5. I saw after some time that I was on a loser because there is a binary blob in the project which was basically compiled with different compiler switches to cut a long story short. What is the situation with Conexant and this blob as you understand it? It seems that the chipset dates from 2002 or 2003, is there no chance that this far down the road they might be willing to be more liberal with the sources for it? My friend and I gave up on the PCI card and ordered a GBP20 ADSL router from ebuyer instead, simply due to there being a binary blob. -Andy
I got a reply a couple of hours later, the guy does not have a relationship with Conexant and says they are ignoring his mails.