Configuring PCMCIA Devices (204.4)
Configuring PCMCIA Devices (204.4)¶
Candidates should be able to configure a Linux installation to include PCMCIA support. This objective includes configuring PCMCIA devices, such as ethernet adapters, to be auto detected when inserted.
Key files, terms and utilities include:¶
Overview of PCMCIA¶
Nowadays, PCMCIA slots are quite a rarity. Only found on specialized and legacy devices. but at the turn of the century almost all laptops, and even a number of desktops, contain PCMCIA slots. PCMCIA is an PCMCIA abbreviation for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, a commission that defines standards for expansion cards. The PCMCIA itself was founded in 1990. It initially developed a set of standards by which memory could be added to portable systems. The PCMCIA specification 2.0 release in 1991 added protocols for I/O devices and hard disks. The 2.1 release in 1993 refined these specifications, and is the standard around which PCMCIA cards are built today. PCMCIA cards are credit card size adapters which fit into PCMCIA slots. There are three types of PCMCIA cards, Type I generally used for memory cards such as FLASH and STATIC RAM; Type II used for I/O peripherals Type II Type I Type III such as serial adapters and fax-modems and Type III which are used for rotating media such as hard disks. The only difference in the physical specification for these cards is thickness: type I is the thinnest, type III the thickest.
PCMCIA cards are "hot pluggable" e.g. you can remove your network card
without hot pluggable damaging your system (your network will not work
of course) and plug it back in which will automatically start up your
card and configure the card for your system. Linux supports PCMCIA
standards. It features a daemon which monitors PCMCIA sockets to see if
cards are removed or inserted (
cardmgr), and runs scripts to configure
the network into your system. Linux also features drivers for the
various PCMCIA cards. These drivers are either part of the kernel
distribution or are supplied via an additional package (Card Services
for Linux). Card Services
cardmgr daemon is responsible for monitoring PCMCIA cardmgr
sockets, loading client drivers when needed and running user-level
scripts in response to card insertions and removals. It records its
actions in the system log, but also uses beeps to signal card status
changes. The tones of the beeps indicate success or failure of
particular configuration steps. Two high beeps indicate that a card was
identified and configured successfully. A high beep followed by a low
beep indicates that a card was identified, but could not be configured
for some reason. One low beep indicates that a card could not be
cardmgr daemon configures cards based on a database of
known card types kept in
/etc/pcmcia/config. This file describes the
various client /etc/pcmcia/config drivers, then describes how to
identify various cards and which driver(s) belong with which cards. The
format of this file is described in the
pcmcia(5) man page.
cardmgr daemon records device information for each socket in the
/var/lib/pcmcia/stab. For the lines /var/lib/pcmcia/stab
describing devices, the first field is the socket, the second is the
device class, the third is the driver name, the fourth is used to number
multiple devices associated with the same driver, the fifth is the
device name, and the final two fields are the major and minor device
numbers for this device (if applicable).
/etc/pcmcia directory contains various configuration files for
PCMCIA devices. Also, it contains scripts that start or stop PCMCIA
PCMCIA/etc/pcmcia devices. For example the configuration file
config.opts contains the local resource settings for PCMCIA devices,
such as which ports to use, memory ranges to use and ports and irq's to
exclude. Additionally, extra options for the modules can be specified
Card Services for Linux¶
"Card Services for Linux" is a complete PCMCIA or "PC Card" support package. It includes a set of loadable kernel modules that implement a version of the Card Services applications-programming interface, a set of client drivers for specific cards and a card manager daemon that can respond to card LinuxCard Services insertion and removal events, loading and unloading drivers on demand. It supports "hot swapping" of most card types, so cards can be safely inserted and ejected at any time. The release includes drivers for a variety of ethernet cards, a driver for modem and serial port cards, several SCSI adapter drivers, a driver for ATA/IDE drive cards and memory-card drivers that should support most SRAM cards and some flash cards.
You'll need the kernel source to install
pcmcia-cs, since pcmcia-cs
the driver modules contain references to the kernel source files.
pcmcia-cs package results in a number of modules in the
The PCMCIA startup script recognizes several groups of startup options which are set via environment variables. Multiple options should be separated by spaces and enclosed in quotes. Placement of startup options depends on the Linux distribution used. They may be placed directly in the startup script or they may be kept in a separate option file. These are specific for various Linux distributions.
Card Services should automatically avoid allocating IO ports and
interrupts already in use by other standard devices. It will also
attempt to detect conflicts with unknown devices, but this is not
completely reliable. In PCMCIA/etc/pcmcia/config.opts some cases, you
may need to explicitly exclude resources for a device in
Newer kernels and PCMCIA¶
As of kernel 2.4 PCMCIA support is integrated into the kernel - that is:
the modules (drivers) are part of the kernel code distribution. You may
want to try that first. However, in some situations the integrated
support does not work. In many cases, you will still want to download
and install "Card Services for Linux" (
cardctl command can be used to check the status of a socket or to
see how it is configured. It can also be used to alter the cardctl
cardinfo configuration status of a card.
statusPCMCIAstatus Display the current socket status flags.
config Display the socket configuration, including power PCMCIAconfig settings, interrupt and I/O window settings and configuration registers.
ident Display card identification information, including PCMCIAident product identification strings, manufacturer ID codes and function ID codes.
suspend Shut down and then disable power for a socket. PCMCIAsuspend
resume Restore power to a socket and re-configure for use. PCMCIAresume
reset Send a reset signal to a socket, subject to approval PCMCIAreset by any drivers already bound to the socket.
eject Notify all client drivers that this card will be PCMCIAeject ejected, then cut power to the socket.
insert Notify all client drivers that this card has PCMCIAinsert just been inserted.
scheme If no scheme name is given, cardctl will display the PCMCIAscheme current PCMCIA configuration scheme. If a scheme name is given, cardctl will de-configure all PCMCIA devices, and reconfigure for the new scheme.
If you are running X, the
cardinfo utility produces a graphical
interface to most