Kernel Traffic #288 For 2 Jan 2005

By Zack Brown

Table Of Contents

Mailing List Stats For This Week

We looked at 1295 posts in 7224K.

There were 393 different contributors. 193 posted more than once. 166 posted last week too.

The top posters of the week were:

1. Linux 2.6.9-ac11 Released

19 Nov 2004 - 25 Nov 2004 (7 posts) Subject: "Linux 2.6.9-ac11"

Topics: Kernel Release Announcement

People: Alan CoxArjan van de Ven

Alan Cox announced Linux 2.6.9-ac11, saying:

Fix the panic spewing XFree86 keyboard printks bug (quick fix for now). Fix a problem with legacy ide /proc and also fix the Seqpacket/SELinux problems.

Arjan van de Ven is now building RPMS of the kernel and those can be found in the RPM subdirectory and should be yum-able. Expect the RPMS to lag the diff a little as the RPM builds and tests do take time.

The it8212 still doesn't default to DMA on - that is on the TODO list. The HPT366 rework project is also not ready (its gone back to the drawing board for a few days if you are a volunteer and wondered what is up).

2. Linux 2.6.10-rc2-mm3 Released

21 Nov 2004 - 27 Nov 2004 (20 posts) Subject: "2.6.10-rc2-mm3"

Topics: Digital Video Broadcasting, Kernel Release Announcement

People: Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton announced Linux 2.6.10-rc2-mm3, saying:

3. IDE And CDROM ioctl Documentation

23 Nov 2004 - 28 Nov 2004 (3 posts) Subject: "[PATCH] Documentation for IDE and CDROM ioctls."

Topics: Disks: IDE, Ioctls

People: Edward FalkAlan CoxJeff Garzik

Edward Falk, continuing the ioctl documentation work covered in Issue #287, Section #15  (18 Nov 2004: Documenting ioctls) , said:

this should about cover it. I've written two document files, and packaged them as a patch.

Two things caught my eye while I was writing this up:

The header comments for CDROMREADRAW, CDROMREADMODE1, and CDROMREADMODE2 disagree with the actual source code. The header comments imply that a cdrom_read structure is used to pass data, but the source code actually reads a cdrom_msf structure and then overwrites it with raw data. I'm not sure if there's a bug in the header comments, in the driver source, or I misread something.

The CDROM_LOCKDOOR ioctl seems to lock/unlock all doors on all drives, because it uses a global variable.

Jeff Garzik was very happy to see this documentation; and Alan Cox (posting several days later) remarked that the CDROM_LOCKDOOR issue was a "Known bug/hideous ancient vendor hack that should never have been allowed upstream."

4. MCA Maintainership

23 Nov 2004 - 28 Nov 2004 (5 posts) Subject: "[2.6 patch] small MCA cleanups (fwd)"

Topics: Disks: SCSI, MAINTAINERS File, Networking

People: David WeinehallJames BottomleyAlan CoxAdrian Bunk

Adrian Bunk submitted a patch to do some MCA (Micro Channel Architecture) cleanups, but David Weinehall replied, "Being waaaaaay to busy at work to care about MCA-related things anymore, combined with the fact that I didn't bring along any of my old MCA-machines when I moved the last time, I've asked James Bottomley to take over the MCA maintainership." James Bottomley posted a MAINTAINERS patch, saying, "OK .. I said I'd do it, so here is the formal change of the maintainer. Note that I too only have a limited subset of MCA hardware ... the voyager systems have a kind of super MCA bus that didn't have any of the MCA bus limitations in the original IBM spec, so a lot of the MCA HW I have doesn't work on ordinary MCA busses. The only standard MCA cards I have are networking ones." Alan Cox offered to "send you some SCSI, networking and video ones if that would be useful (Ethernet/2, MCA NE2K, 3c523/7, IBM SCSI etc)" . And James replied, "Sure ... I have buslogic SCSI, smc_mca and 3c529, but some of the others could do with converting to the new MCA API..."

5. Linux 2.6.9-ac12 Released

26 Nov 2004 - 28 Nov 2004 (3 posts) Subject: "Linux 2.6.9-ac12"

Topics: Kernel Release Announcement

People: Alan CoxArjan van de Ven

Alan Cox announced Linux 2.6.9-ac12, saying:

This -ac is a little different. It's an experimental -ac to test the accumulated patches it would be nice to have in -ac but which might break something and seemed too risky. As such please test it but in general wait for the next -ac before planning to update production systems.

Arjan van de Ven is now building RPMS of the kernel and those can be found in the RPM subdirectory and should be yum-able. Expect the RPMS to lag the diff a little as the RPM builds and tests do take time.

The it8212 still doesn't default to DMA on - that is on the TODO list. The HPT366 rework project is also not ready (its gone back to the drawing board for a few days if you are a volunteer and wondered what is up).

6. Mailing List Troubles

27 Nov 2004 (1 post) Subject: "VGER had a spell of email dysfunction"

People: Matti Aarnio

Matti Aarnio (one of the mailing list's postmasters) explained:

For a while VGER did answer to all MAIL FROM and RCPT TO lines of the SMTP protocol "450 I am sick.." (actual text was something else) and thus refused to take any email from outside and asked for latter retry. (All proper MTAs have a queue, and they use it.)

It is amazing how many noticed the slow-down of the message flood, and asked from VGER's postmaster (or webmaster) about the thing. Unfortunately at this time the problem prevented the question from being delivered to us... Linus himself knew other addresses, and got our immediate attention.

Technically: VGER's SMTP input server's one helper program had ran out of sockets, and it didn't do correct resource rollback in all failure situations -> it didn't heal itself.

This had started to some extent on Wednesday morning (UTC) and it went all bad on Thursday noonish (UTC) and finally we became aware of the thing on Friday around 18:00 UTC, analyzed the problem, and restarted relevant subsystem. (Restart does cure some problems, this was in that group of things.)

Accumulated queues from all over were delivered into VGER in about 10 hours, and in about the same time they were also processed (delivery bounces and list messages, both.)

7. Linux 2.4.29-pre1 Released

27 Nov 2004 - 30 Nov 2004 (3 posts) Subject: "Linux 2.4.29-pre1 (resend)"

Topics: FS: InterMezzo, FS: JFS, I2C, Power Management: ACPI, Serial ATA, USB, Virtual Memory

People: Marcelo Tosatti

Marcelo Tosatti announced Linux 2.4.29-pre1, saying:

This is the start of the 29th -pre cycle of the v2.4 kernel series.

Its mainly backport of driver fixes from v2.6: SATA subsystem update, network drivers (e1000, forcedeth, 3c59x), collection of I2C corrections, isofs large file fix, sym53c8xx_2 fixes, InterMezzo backports, JFS update, an IA32 microcode fix, MIPS update, couple of USB changes, amongst others.

The ACPI bug which caused I2C problems has been solved.

It also contains a VM change from Andrea which improves performance on high-end boxes making certain loads useable on those systems.

The number of changes is small and it should keep decreasing as time passes.

8. Possible GPL Violation By iRiver

30 Nov 2004 (6 posts) Subject: "GPL violation by iRiver"

People: Marcus MetzlerAlan CoxWilmer van der Gaast

Marcus Metzler reported:

I recently bought an iRiver PMP-140 portable multimedia player which runs under Linux. Unfortunately, I could neither find the offer for the source code required by the GPL nor would the support people at iriver USA tell me where I can get the source code. They just said that it is not possible to get the sources. I also emailed to iRiver Germany but haven`t received an answer yet. Has anybody else tried to contact them? If you are interested, there is a new firmware available here ( (klick on

Using string on the unzipped files shows that at least the Linux kernel and busybox are used in the firmware.

I tried to send this email to but it came back with a no route to host error which I also get for the website now, although I could load it just a half an hour ago.

What should be the next step?

Alan Cox said he hadn't tried to contact them, "but I've received various bits of their publicity and other stuff which clearly states they are Linux based. They've certainly not tried to hide the fact so that is promising. In fact its archived ( ."

Marcus replied, "I know and it never looked like they tried to hide the fact they were using linux. But I have bought other hardware that uses linux based firmware and they always mentioned it in there manuals even if they neglected to offer the sources at first. There is no mention about the GPL or Linux on their copyrights pages or anywhere else in the manual. You can find it online on their website:"

Wilmer van der Gaast remarked, "AFAIK iRiver is a Korean company (sometiems new versions of the firmwares are also available for download there weeks before they're on the international site), so maybe you should try to contact them there."

End of thread.

9. inotify Version 0.16 Replacement For dnotify

30 Nov 2004 - 1 Dec 2004 (5 posts) Subject: "[patch] inotify: a replacement for dnotify"

Topics: FS: sysfs, Ioctls

People: Robert Love

Robert Love said:

Below is a patch adding inotify to 2.6.10-rc2.

This is version 0.16.

inotify is intended to correct the deficiencies of dnotify:

inotify provides a more usable, simple, powerful solution to file change notification:

The primary change since the last post is the move to new per-user resource limits. Watches are now resource limited on a per-user level, not per-device. These limits are now configurable via sysfs.

Added the FIONREAD ioctl for querying the number of events waiting in the queue. The maximum number of events is configurable via sysfs.

Other changes include cleanups and bug fixes (including a nasty bug with queue overflows).

10. New Document Collection Project At OSDL

1 Dec 2004 (4 posts) Subject: "Announcing - document collection project"

Topics: Disks: IDE, Sound: ALSA

People: Timothy D. WithamDave JonesJeff GarzikAlan CoxAndrew Morton

Timothy D. Witham said:

In an email conversation with Alan Cox and Andrew Morton I was asked if OSDL could create a repository for old non-NDA manuals.

I agreed that this sort of old copyrighted but never to be reprinted documentation needs a home and even though some said it was a monster it looked like a nice little bunny to me so .....

I've set up a little web site and have a file cabinet all ready to go.

I also decided that as long as I had to keep a list of hard copy documentation in the drawer I might as well add links to companies providing documentation and links to any groups or standards. So if you have favorite links or your company provides developer information for open source folks please send the link information to

If you have an old non-NDA manual for something that you aren't the maintainer and no longer want the responsibility of keeping coffee or pet stains off of it. Then please follow the instructions under "Submitting Hardcopy".

As for any other comments I welcome them. Not set on the anything just trying to provide a service here.

Dave Jones replied, "Thanks, this has the makings of something really useful. One comment. Links to external documentation (like the AGP reference for eg) has the potential to 'disappear', making this resource no better than a collection of bookmarks. A true repository would have the actual documents, though I understand this may mean talking with the copyright holder(s)." Timothy was open to this, assuming the copyright holders went along with it; and Jeff Garzik remarked:

I agree this document repository has significant potential, but I also agree with Dave: from my own direct experience, documents DO disappear.

The ALSA project routinely asks vendors if the hardware manual can be mirrored on their FTP site, and I have been doing the same for network and ATA drivers:

Though I cannot say that all the people who gave me permission to mirror the site are still around, to give permission to push these specs to ODSL.







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.