Firewire/USB card and ethernet incompatibilities on Ubuntu 6.06

I’ve had a machine for quite a while that I’ve been working on as a “backup server”. My goal with it is to have a RAID1 setup with two 250GB drives and I also wanted USB2/firewire functionality so that I could even add a USB drive to the array for the purpose of having a hot-swapped spare drive that could be taken offsite. Well, the biggest frustration I’ve had has not been with software raid, or any of the rest of the software setup, but that something about the firewire/usb card didn’t like the built in ethernet. I FINALLY got things working… let me document what I went through.

For starters, I made a list of all modules in the working setup (ethernet but no firewire/usb card attached) (lsmod >> /home/user/working.txt) and nonworking – firewire/usb card attached and ethernet is listed as a device, but fails to get a dhcp assigned address and manually configuring fails to get a working setup. (Destination unreachable.) (lsmod >> /home/user/nonworking.txt)

I was thinking it might be that the driver for the firewire was conflicting. So, after much trial I found that in Ubuntu 6.06, you can add entries to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist to see them avoided. (blacklist ieee1394 and blacklist ohci1394 were the first two I tried.) Unfortunately that didn’t keep them from loading, so I broadened my net to include the usb drivers ohci_hcd uhci_hcd and ehci_hcd (all on individual lines saying blacklist and then the module name.)

That didn’t seem to work, something else must be loading them. Then I blacklisted ipv6 just to test that the blacklist file was respected, it was. Next, I tried kernel options, I read somewhere that no1394 and nofirewire were options to disable firewire, apparently not for this kernel. (But, I edited /boot/grub/menu.lst the defoptions section and then did sudo update-grub to update the options.) That didn’t seem to disable the firewire driver from loading.

Finally, I tested removing manually all the drivers I could (including the ethernet 8139too) and trying to reload (modprobe) JUST the 8139too. At this point I saw a message suggesting using the irqpoll option for the kernel. I added irqpoll to /boot/grub/menu.lst defoptions and ran update-grub again. The next boot everything worked.

So, now I’ve removed all my no1394 nofirewire options from grub, and my blacklist entries and tested again (just in case) and all is now working. irqpoll was the magic option. FINALLY! I was beginning to think of abandoning the onboard ethernet in favor of a USB ethernet workaround.

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