As someone with an old Advansys SCSI card that wants to use Fedora Core Linux, I have a problem. The Linux advansys module, though present in the mainline kernel, is not supported in some Fedora Core kernels.
For Fedora Core 1, the only problem was doing the installation; once installed, the kernel included the advansys module and all was well. The situation was similar for Fedora Core 2 until the kernel-2.6.7-1.494.2.2 errata kernel was released, which did not include the advansys module at all. The situation looked set to continue indefinitely, because the advansys driver was not built by default in the kernel.org kernels, which are tracked quite closely by the Fedora project. However, in early February 2005 new Fedora kernels were released (2.6.10-1.12_FC2 & 2.6.10-1.760_FC3) that reinstated the advansys module. I'd like to think that my request on fedora-list had something to do with this, but it was probably in the pipeline anyway ;-)
This page attempts to provide workarounds for installation of Fedora Core versions 1 to 3 and for building the advansys driver for the kernel releases that don't include it. Below you will find a boot CD image that can be used to install Fedora Core 2 on an advansys-based machine, and also a driver disk that can be used to install Fedora Core 1, Fedora Core 3 or Fedora Core 4. First though, here's my workaround to enable the pre-February 2005 Fedora kernels to work on hosts needing the advansys module.
This approach uses a convenient way of building and installing kernel modules using DKMS, and is applicable to Fedora Core 2 and 3 (2.6 kernel based).
dkms you must be
root. Note that it is not sufficient to
just use "su" to become root because that does not set up the correct environment;
specifically, it does not add the necessary directories
to the command search path. You must either log in as root, or use "su -" (note the use
of a dash character as the parameter to
su). This will set up the
root environment correctly.
The first step is to install the DKMS RPM itself:
# rpm --install dkms-188.8.131.52-1.noarch.rpm
Next, install the
# rpm --install kernel-advansys-0.9.5-1dkms.noarch.rpm
The kernel modules are automatically built for the currently running kernel and are installed when this RPM is installed.
If you don't need the advansys module for booting your machine (e.g. if the SCSI adapter is only used for a scanner or CD drive, not for disks), then you shouldn't need to do anything else (but see Making Sure the Advansys Module Loads at Boot Time below). The advansys module will be built for a new kernel during the first boot with that kernel.
If you do need the advansys module for booting (i.e. in an initrd), then there are
extra steps you need to perform after installing a new kernel before you can boot into that
kernel. You should ensure that the following line is present in your
alias scsi_hostadapter advansys
Supposing you've just installed the 2.6.7-1.494.2.2 RPM:
# rpm --install kernel-2.6.7-1.494.2.2.i686.rpm
You now need to build and install the advansys module for that kernel. The following steps will do it:
# dkms build -k 2.6.7-1.494.2.2 -m kernel-advansys -v 0.9.5
# dkms install -k 2.6.7-1.494.2.2 -m kernel-advansys -v 0.9.5
(2.6.7-1.494.2.2 is the
0.9.5 is the
The first of these steps will build the advansys module, the second will install it and create the initrd. If all has gone well, you should now be able to boot into the new kernel.
This installation method assumes that you have
gcc installed so that you can
build the kernel modules. It's also possible to use
dkms with pre-built binary
modules so that the C compiler isn't needed on the target machine, but that's outside the scope of
If you are trying to install Fedora Core 2 onto a system that needs to access an Advansys SCSI
comtroller at install time (e.g. if the hard disks or CD-ROM drive are attached to it), you can use
advansys-fc2-boot.iso. This is a modified version of the
boot.iso image found in the
images directory of the Fedora Core 2 install CD/DVD
that has support for Advansys SCSI controllers.
Installation on Fedora Core 1, Fedora Core 3 or Fedora Core 4 can be done using the driver disk
advansys-driverdisk.zip. Simply extract the contents
of the zip file on to a blank VFAT-formatted floppy disk and enter
"linux dd" at the installer's
boot prompt. When prompted to insert a driver disk, insert the disk you prepared earlier. This method does
not work for Fedora Core 2 because of
Please also note that this driver disk is suitable only for installation of Fedora Core 1, Fedora Core 3 or Fedora Core 4, and not for any other purpose - other systems require modules built for their specific kernel versions. There is no source code on this driver disk.
The driver disk shouldn't really be necessary for Fedora Core 4 because the installer initrd includes the advansys module, but the autodetection seems to fail. I believe this is because there is no data for Advansys cards in the pcitable file.
If you're booting from a SCSI disk attached to your Advansys card then this isn't an issue,
because the advansys module is included in the initrd and is loaded at a very early stage of the
boot process. Otherwise, you just need to choose somewhere to put the command:
The conventional place for this would be
/etc/rc.modules, which will work fine if you're using
an up to date kernel. If, however, you're still using old kernels that need the dkms system to build the
module at boot time when you change kernels, you'll need to load the module later in the boot process, so
/etc/rc.d/rc.local would probably be a better choice. If you're creating
/etc/rc.d/rc.local from scratch, make sure the file is executable:
# chmod 755 /etc/rc.modules
# chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/rc.local
In Fedora Core 4, a new method is available for module loading: simply create a file with a name ending
.modules in directory
/etc/sysconfig/modules and make it executable.
Whatever you put into that file will be executed when the system boots up.
# (echo '#!/bin/sh'; echo 'modprobe advansys') > /etc/sysconfig/modules/advansys.modules
# chmod +x /etc/sysconfig/modules/advansys.modules
More on this in Bugzilla entry 123927.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and clones apparently included an advansys module in their
The driver disk format changed after Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (i.e. Fedora Core 5 onwards).
pcitable file is no longer used, and a
modules.alias file is required.
However, the checks for these files are broken, at least up to Fedora Core 6 Test 2, in that the
absence of a
pcitable file will cause the installer to declare that the driver disk is broken,
and the presence of
modules.alias is not checked for, but will result in the driver disk not
being loaded if the file is missing.
This is documented in Bugzilla entry 195899.
Paul Howarth <firstname.lastname@example.org>