[rescue] derail to Adaptec/Linux [Re: NeXTSTEP or OPENSTEP?]

Phil Stracchino phils at caerllewys.net
Thu Aug 7 11:34:43 CDT 2014

On 08/07/14 12:18, pakenned-list at pobox.com wrote:
> So, I'm derailing a bit--no experience with OS/2, but knew people who
> were real devotees in the early/mid-nineties.
>> Impressive! I wasn't that hardcore. I tried Slackware on the OS/2
>> laptop but I never got it working -- setting the right parameters for
>> the aha152x kernel module defeated me.
> I was a slackware user (first booted and run from floppies in 2MB of
> RAM, oh my.  This is a rescue story of another sort for later) and had
> some experience with mucking with Adaptec hardware and drivers.

Yup, yup ...  I used Slackware for a long time.  As a basis.  I
eventually abandoned it because manual dependency management became
unmanageable.  I remember once having to abandon an attempted upgrade
from Slackware 7 to Slackware 9.1 because too much of what I was already
doing was enough newer that Slackware 9.1 didn't support it.

> Adaptec on Linux was a particularly awful moving target.  I had some ISA
> (heh) SCSI cards and they were better than nothing.  I got an UW card,
> and could not rid myself of SCSI daemons.  Research into support
> revealed developers complaining that Adaptec had released yet another
> version of a chip that reported itself the same way.  It was a game of
> cat and mouse where the user was the loser.  It made buying a card hit
> and miss--who knows whether you are getting something that's supported
> or not.  They were cheap, but not worth it.

The drivers were a bit shaky, too.  I spent a while once troubleshooting
persistent kernel panics that appeared to be associated with operations
on a tape drive connected to an AHA1542, and ended up going through the
aha152x/154x source code once and cleaning up something like about a
dozen double-free bugs where the code wasn't checking to see whether a
memory pointer was already NULL.  That ended up being my first code
accepted into the Linux mainline kernel.

> I read (maybe in the source code?) about how BusLogic willingly provided
> documentation and engineer time supporting some person in the Linux
> community who was writing the driver.
> I bought (a more expensive) BusLogic card and it was like night and day
> (and thus started a migration away from Adaptec cards in my machines).

Yup, I had great success for a long time with BusLogic SCSI adapters on

  Phil Stracchino
  Babylon Communications
  phils at caerllewys.net
  phil at co.ordinate.org
  Landline: 603.293.8485

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