madwifi or ath5k

Carl Karsten carl at
Wed Mar 26 05:08:48 UTC 2008

My wifi isn't working out of the box.  I am not looking for support (I got it 
working by building a patched madwifi as discuessed here:

I am trying to figure out if I need to file a bug report or what.

The error I got:
[54691.507105] wifi%d: unable to attach hardware: 'Hardware didn't respond as 
expected' (HAL status 3)

What I have:
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc. AR242x 802.11abg 
Wireless PCI Express Adapter (rev 01)

There are 2 likely drivers: madwifi and ath5k

madwifi is in:

ath5k was added to the kernel: 28 Jan 2008;a=commit;h=fa1c114fdaa605496045e56c42d0c8aa4c139e57

I can see why it would not be in main:

The ath_hal module contains the Atheros Hardware Access Layer (HAL).
This code manages much of the chip-specific operation of the driver.
The HAL is provided in a binary-only form in order to comply with FCC
regulations.  In particular, a radio transmitter can only be operated at
power levels and on frequency channels for which it is approved.  The
FCC requires that a software-defined radio cannot be configured by the
user to operate outside the approved power levels and frequency
channels.  This makes it difficult to open-source code that enforces
limits on the power levels, frequency channels and other parameters of
the radio transmitter.  See
for the specific FCC regulation.  Because the module is provided in a
binary-only form it is marked "Proprietary"; this means when you load it
you will see messages that your system is now "tainted".

The open source code basically ignores that issue.

 From what I can tell, Ubuntu Hardy uses madwifi, and it is just a matter of the 
patch being accepted into the madwifi tree, and then into the 
linux-restricted-modules package, and so there isn't any point in me filing a 
bug report.

Carl K

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