Intel 'Centrino' WLAN and Project Evil: how you can help

From: Bill Paul (wpaul_at_FreeBSD.ORG)
Date: 12/31/03

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    To: freebsd-current@FreeBSD.ORG, freebsd-hardware@FreeBSD.ORG
    Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 13:23:44 -0800 (PST)

    I'm sure most of you already know what Project Evil is. For those that
    don't, Project Evil is an NDIS shim layer for FreeBSD which allows
    people to use Windows(r) network adapter drivers with FreeBSD/x86.
    Its main purpose is to provide support for adapters for which it is
    not possible to write a native FreeBSD driver (due to complete lack of
    chipset programming specs).

    My original target was unsupported ethernet chips, however it turns
    out the most desireable unsupported devices these days are 802.11
    wireless cards. Currently, Project Evil works with many Broadcom-based
    wireless NICs (both PCI and cardbus) and has been reported to work
    with at least one Atheros-based card. However, it's been reported
    that Intel 'Centrino' wireless cards, i.e. the 2xxx series miniPCI
    WLAN cards, do not yet work correctly. The reported symptomology
    is that the driver panics the system on an attempt to send a packet.

    Unfortunately, my attempts to fix this problem have been thwarted
    by the fact that I don't actually have one of these cards, or a laptop
    that has one built in. As far as I can tell, I've implemented all of
    the necessary NDIS infrastructure correctly, so I'm at a loss to
    explain the panic without some brute force debugging, and I can't
    do that without a card.

    So, I'm asking for help. I really need to get my hand on a system
    with one of these NICs in order to properly debug this problem, however
    a) I haven't been able to find one in my local consumer trap computer
    stores, and b) I've already spent money on two other wireless cards
    for this project and I really don't want another one, especially since
    it will likely end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust once I'm done
    ravaging it.

    So how can you help? Well, there's a couple of ways:

    - If you have a system with one of these NICs and know a thing or two
      about the NDIS spec and BSD networking internals, and would like to
      take a crack at solving the problem, have at it! If you manage to
      make it work, send me your patches and know that Centrino owners
      everywhere will be eternally grateful for your work. Note: please
      don't expect to be able to ask me loads of questions about how NDIS
      works or how BSD works. If you need to ask something about a particular
      aspect of the code in Project Evil, then I suppose I can accomodate
      you, but I'm not going to spend loads of time teaching people how
      all this stuff works, especially since my own knowledge of NDIS is
      newly acquired and almost certainly incomplete (otherwise I wouldn't
      be asking for help).

    - Donate hacking time on your machine. If you are local to the SF
      bay area (San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley), have a Centrino-based
      laptop with Intel WLAN and are running FreeBSD 5.2mumble on it
      (i.e. 5-current or a 5.2 release candidate) and wouldn't mind
      giving me access to it for an hour or two of hacking time, drop
      me a line. I live in downtown SF and work in Alameda. If I can
      reach you via public transit without too much difficulty, then
      Project Evil might be able to come to you.

    - Donate/loan a card for the cause. My understanding is that the
      Intel cards are only available in miniPCI form factor. Sadly, my
      laptop (Sony Picturebook PCG-C1VP) doesn't support miniPCI cards.
      If it turns out I'm wrong, and there's a desktop/PCI version
      of the card available, then I would need one of those, otherwise
      I'd need both an Intel WLAN miniPCI module and a miniPCI-to-PCI
      adapter card. This would be the ideal solution since it would
      allow me to work undisturbed in the comfort of Project Evil
      Laboratories (i.e. my living room).

    - Offer the use of your bank account to help transfer $43,800,000

      Wait a minute, that goes in another letter. Forget that part.

    Cards can be donated to the FreeBSD project, or you can loan it
    directly to me. In the latter case, the address to use is:

    Attn: Bill Paul
    Wind River Systems
    500 Wind River Way
    Alameda, CA. 94501

    Don't forget to include a note containing the exact shipping address
    where you'd like the card sent upon return.

    Before anyone asks: no, offering to test patches or giving me remote
    access to your machine for debugging purposes won't help. I need to have
    the system in front of me to debug this properly. We at Project Evil Labs
    would like to thank people in advance for their assistance and

    Remember: when you think evil, think Project Evil.


    -Bill Paul            (510) 749-2329 | Senior Engineer, Master of Unix-Fu
            | Wind River Systems
                  <adamw> you're just BEGGING to face the moose
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