Andrzej Popielewicz Phd

Dean Office
Department of Social Sciences , UAM

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realtek 8139



Driver for PCMCIA CardBus controller


Having Coherent running on my AmiloPro notebook it was a matter of time to have some new drivers implemented. PCMCIA standard was a very good idea, it allows for easily extension of otherwise rather closed laptop atchitecture. PCMCIA CardBus card plays the same role for laptop as PCI card in desktop world. And it allows to add some older piece of hardware like COM, LPT, etc to the modern notebook. Hardware , for which drivers already exist.

Our PCMCIA Cardbus driver for Coherent should work for all CardBus controllers , which are 82365 compatible and most are.

Features supported

  • 82365 register compatible (ExCA registers)

  • automatic detection of card insertion/removal

In order for any CardBus card to work two drivers are neccessary , one for the CardBus controller and one for the card itself. Because card represents known piece of hardware from older times, like Ethernet, ATA, COM etc, the drivers are already available. The problem is that usually CardBus cards are hot-pluggable, it means driver should be loaded dynamically after card insertion, and not during system boot. Another problem is that system BIOS does not configure CardBus cards, it is the responsibility of the driver. This is why the set of modified drivers for the corresponding cards was prepared. Each modified driver is loaded quasi-dynamically , after card insertion. In Linux for example it is an automatic proccess, in our case not quite yet, but enough user friendly.

CardBus Controllers tested

  • TI 4515A , it is a combo of single slot CardBus and FireWire controllers

CardBus Cards tested succesfully

  • Fast Ethernet with RTL8139 chip (cheaper version, no golden stripe), dhcpclient,ping,lynx,mutt and ftp work fine.

  • PRO/100 Ethernet card (gold), dhcpclient,ping,lynx,mutt and ftp work fine (September/2013)

I have the following cards , which are being tested , these cards were already partially tested with our driver and are correctly powered up during the insertion, it means they correctly show up during scanning of PCI bus.

  • vt6421 with eSATA connectors

  • sil3112 with SATA (not eSATA !) connectors

  • RS232 with one COM port

We plan to test these cards

  • LPT

  • SCSI ???

  • Modem

  • Memory cards

Although PCMCIA association was dissolved , and new standard Express Card has emerged, there are still millions of older laptops with PCMCIA slots available and hundreds if not thousands of brand new CardBus cards. There are also PCMCIA PCI cards for the desktop PC available.

Platform : All pcmcia drivers , it means cardbus, rtl8139 and PRO/100 drivers , were developed on Coherent with 64 bit filesystem. The reason was simple, my notebook with pcmcia controller has one Coherent partition with 64 bit filesystem.

In fact the drivers were developed on one 64 bit system and then were used on notebook. The kernel is copied to booting floppy diskette with 64 bit filesystem, and the notebook is booted from external usb floppy drive. On newer notebooks one would have to boot from external usb cdrom drive.

For sure above drivers will work also on Coherent with standard 32 bit filesystem.

Status : alpha, stable