Computone Intelliport II Drivers for LINUX



STATUS UPDATE

Drivers are now available for the Computone Intelliport II Drivers for Linux from Computone. No, they are not drivers which I developed but I have been working on integrating them into the 2.2.x kernels and resolving some past problems with interrupts and configuration issues. They are still ONLY for the Intelliport II. I'm afraid that anyone out there with the original Intelliport or ATvantage cards are out of luck. To tell the difference, see the board descriptions in the FAQ below...

The lastest version of the Linux drivers for the Intelliport II and Intelliport II Expandable can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.computone.com/PUB/Products/IntelliPortII/Linux/BETA from the Computone FTP site.

Computone is continuing to support the Linux community. They have been an exhibitor at the 1997 Atlanta Linux Showcase, the 1998 Atlanta Linux Showcase, and at LinuxWorld Expo (possibly others, this is just where I've seen them).

They have also indicated that they intend to be present at the 1999 Atlanta Linux Showcase as well.


Driver Status

Due to the number of requests for information I have received, I have tried to put together a miniature FAQ to answer questions (in no particular order) about the Computone boards and drivers as well as the current state of affairs here at Witt's End...

Driver Version and Packaging

You can download the driver bundle from the Computone ftp site. This is now a patch file "ip2-1.2.4.patch" which should be applied to a clean kernel source.

You can also download a patch file from this site which will patch 2.2.x or 2.3.x kernels for the 1.2.4 drivers. This is the same patch that is available from the Computone site. When in doubt, download it from them. This patch file will NOT work with the 2.0.x kernels, sorry.

Beginning with the Linux kernel version 2.2.12pre4, the Computone drivers are available in the main kernel source tree. Prior to the release of 2.2.12, you must patch the 2.2.11 sources with patch-2.2.12pre4 or later to get the Computone drivers. These should also appear shortly in the 2.3.x development source tree. Please stay tuned for future developments.

What is supported?

The Computone Intelliport II family of multiport serial cards on ISA, PCI, and EISA busses.

Up to four cards are supported in one system. These cards can share a single interrupt or use individual interrupts on a card by card basis.

Cards can each support up to 4 expansion interface boxes.

Expansion interface boxs can support up to 16 ports.

That gives a capacity of up to 256 serial ports when all four boards are installed and fully populated.

Some of the boards and expansion interface modules support port speeds of up to 921,600 Baud.

For more hardware information, see the Computone web site:

http://www.computone.com

What is not supported?

MCA bus at this time (Is there any demand? See the mailing list.)

Computone products prior to the Intelliport II line. The earlier ATvantage and Intelliport cards are not support. These cards are very very old and have firmware that can not be upgraded. Sorry...

Do you work for Computone?

No. I'm an independent (very independent according to my bosses) computer hack who does consulting, Internet Security Software, and Web Services professionally and LINUX device driver development as a perverted hobby.

Is Computone aiding you?

YES! Computone has been very helpful in providing the material I need to work on this driver.

Do you need boards to develop on?

No. But I never turn down offers. :-) I do have enough boards to handle my needs for both development and production and I appreciate the offers.

What Computone products do you currently have?

I have an Intelliport 8 port, an Intelliport 16 port, an Intelliport II 4 port and various Intelliport II EX with expansion boxes. The first two are "Computone I" products and the rest are Computone II products. I do not have and do not want any of the "ATvantage" boards.

Computone has also recently provided me with an IntelliServer, a standalone terminal server, with software to access it from Linux.

What Computone products are you currently using?

I am currently running a Computone II EX board with a 8 port expansion unit on the Witt's End system for UUCP news and mail as well as high speed ISDN Internet connectivity. These ports are using 4 Motorola Bitsurfers running at 230,400 Baud along with analog modems for more conventional dial-up connectivity.

I want to express deep gratitude to Computone for providing these products to me. The Intelliport II 4-port board was originally provided to diagnose the problems between Taylor UUCP and the original Intelliport 16 port board on SCO UNIX. When the problem was confirmed and was not going to be fixed in the older product, they upgraded that to an Intelliport EX with a 16 port module and let me keep the Intelliport II 4-port board specifically for LINUX development work.

What about the earlier Computone products?

The earlier Computone products will NOT be supported, at least not by me. Mike Gaul, the chief scientist at Computone, offered to provide me with the software to write such a driver, if I was really REALLY serious about the older boards, but only under a non-disclosure agreement that included a promise not to laugh. They do not want the older Computone 8 port, Computone 16 port, and ATvantage boards supported simply because they are outdated technology and likely to be ongoing support headaches for all of us. I can't fault them for this and I agree entirely. The new products are much more efficient, use downloaded microcode instead of firmware, do not use memory mapped I/O, and can be supported on an ongoing basis.

The older boards are orphans as far as future development is concerned. I found this out by uncovering some rather arcane bugs in the Computone I boards involving SCO UNIX and Taylor UUCP which will NEVER be fixed (the fix is to upgrade to the Computone II board).

How do I tell what kind of board I have?

RTFM? No? I know, I know, it's not that simple.

First order guess (if you have your manuals even if you don't READ your manuals). If you have a REALLY SLICK set of manuals with green or light blue covers, you probably have an Intelliport II product. If you have a single manual with a white cover, you probably have a Computone I product, oh well.

If you have a board with four RJ-11 jacks on the edge - Good News! You have a Computone II 4 port board, the board I'm using for development.

If you have a board connected to a squarish "brick" with RJ-11 jacks on two sides - you probably have a Computone 16 port and are out of luck.

If you have a board connected to a flat "cow pad" (sorry guys, but look at it!) with 8 RS-232 jacks - you probably have a Computone 8 port and are out of luck.

From here it gets more complicated.

If the thick cable running from the board runs to a cabinet full of RS-232 jacks or one or more "panels" which say "Computone Intelliport II Ex" - what can I say...

If the board has a couple of "ROMS" (large chips with version numbers) the news is not good. The newer products user downloadable microcode (BIG ADVANTAGE) while the older beasts had firmware.

Is there a mailing list for the Computone Boards on LINUX?

Yes! We finally got a mailing list up and running!

The mailing list for Computone products on Linux is:

linux-computone@lazuli.wittsend.com

This open, unmoderated, mailing list is for discussion of the Computone products and device drivers on the Linux Operating system.

How do I subscribe to the mailing list?

The linux-computone list is managed by majordomo. To subscribe, please sent an e-mail to "majordomo@lazuli.wittsend.com" with the following in the body:

subscribe linux-computone [optional e-mail address]

Subscription to linux-computone is "open+confirm". That means that you must "confirm" your subscription before it becomes effective. Majordomo will send two messages to you. One is a status message which goes back to the sender of the request. One is a confirmation request which will go back to the address to be subscribed (which may be different if you specified an e-mail address on the subscribe command). That second message will contain instructions and a majordomo command line. Follow the instructions! Send a new message back to majordomo@lazuli.wittsend.com with the single command line in the body of the message. Simply replying to the confirmation request will not work.


Page prepared by Michael H. Warfield - E-Mail: mhw@wittsend.com
Page last updated: August 17, 1999