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PCMCIA: cardmgr to pcmciautils HowTo
written by Daniel Ritz <>
This howto describes in short how to change your system to work with the new
pcmciautils instead of the old cardmgr.
- kernel 2.6.13-rc1 and newer
- pcmciautils, preferably 010 or newer
- you read the mini-howto.txt
Kernels since 2.6.13-rc1 do not require the cardmgr daemon anymore. In those
newer kernel the pcmcia bus acts almost as any other bus with full /sbin/hotplug
support. Old style cardmgr setups should still work if the kernel is configured
correctly. But be aware that the ioctl for PCMCIA will be removed in the near
The change to be /sbin/hotplug capable means that the normal /etc/init.d/pcmcia
script is not required any more and in fact only hurts as it starts cardmgr. To
use the new pcmciautils it is a requirement that cardmgr is not started.
The STARTUP option
When reading the pcmciautils howto you see that STARTUP option mentioned. What
does it do again? It controls the setup of a dynamic resource database needed
for some sockets. The resource database tells the PCMCIA layer what IO port and
what IO memory are usable for PCMCIA cards. In case the database is dynamic, it
needs to be setup before any cards can be used. The /etc/pcmcia/config.opts
file contains the neccessary configuration.
In old setups it is cardmgr that parses that file and tells the kernel what
resources to use. In case of pcmciautils it's the pcmcia-socket-startup tool
which is built and installed when the STARTUP option is set. The tool itself
is run from the hotplug script pcmcia_socket.agent whenever a new socket is
registered with the pcmcia module. This means that pcmcia-socket-startup does
not need to be run manually.
Compiling and installing pcmciautils
You should have read the pcmciautils howto already. Again in short:
- make a backup copy of your /etc/pcmcia/config.opts
- determine whether you need UDEV set or not. if unsure: don't set it
- determine whether you need STARTUP set or not
- make
- make install (as root)
- put your original /etc/pcmcia/config.opts back to where it was
Stop cardmgr from starting
We don't want cardmgr. For setups with a PCI PCMCIA/Cardbus controller the
easiest thing to do is to make sure /etc/init.d/pcmcia does nothing.
Either make sure it does not start up, or (if you want to use older kernels
as well) add the following snippet to the beginning of /etc/init.d/pcmcia
(after the #!/bin/sh line of course):
KVERREL=`uname -r`
if [ "$KVER_MAJOR" == "2.6" ]; then
# kernel 2.6.13-rc1 and higher have pcmcia via /sbin/hotplug
if [ $KVER_MINOR -ge 13 ]; then
# uncomment the following line if the driver for your
# controller is not auto-loaded. or if you want to be
# able to say /etc/init.d/pcmcia stop
#/etc/init.d/pcmcia-new $1
exit 0
this will make sure the init script does nothing for newer kernel and works
normally on older kernels.
if you have a socket controller where the module cannot be loaded automatically
by hotplug, uncomment the line in the above code snipped and make sure you have
the /etc/init.d/pcmcia-new script around which should look like this:
# set this to the driver to use, one of:
# yenta_socket, i82365, i82092, pd6729, tcic, etc.
case "$1" in
modprobe $DRIVER $DRIVER_OPTS > /dev/null 2>&1
modprobe pcmcia > /dev/null 2>&1 # just in case it's not auto-loaded
pccardctl eject
MODULES=`lsmod | grep "pcmcia " | awk '{print $4}' | tr , ' '`
for i in $MODULES ; do
rmmod $i > /dev/null 2>&1
rmmod pcmcia > /dev/null 2>&1
rmmod $DRIVER > /dev/null 2>&1
rmmod rsrc_nonstatic > /dev/null 2>&1
rmmod pcmcia_core > /dev/null 2>&1
( you can find this script in doc/ )
make sure you set the DRIVER (and maybe DRIVER_OPTS) variable to the right
socket driver. If yenta_socket doesn't work look up the config file from your
distro. look at the PCIC variable and PCIC_OPTS.
- Red Hat (and Conectiva, Mandriva, etc.) have it in /etc/sysconfig/pcmcia
- Debian (and probably Ubuntu) has it in /etc/pcmcia.conf
- Others: sorry, don't know
If you don't know where to find it, you should look at the init script. Maybe it's
even in there directly.
The file system right for the script should be right as well:
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/pcmcia-new
Auto-load pcmcia module
To have support for 16-bit cards you need the pcmcia module loaded. Since the
other modules do not depend on this one it is not loaded automatically. To
make sure the pcmcia module is loaded right after pcmcia_core, add the following
line to /etc/modprobe.conf
install pcmcia_core /sbin/modprobe --ignore-install pcmcia_core; /sbin/modprobe pcmcia
Make sure hotplug works correctly. Most distros have a /etc/init.d/hotplug script
which should be loaded at boot time. For most laptops the the socket driver is
yenta_socket. If it is not loaded after boot it means that hotplug is not working
correctly. Reasons for the driver not loaded include the /etc/hotplub/blacklist
file or some other list that prevents the driver being loaded.
eg. Conectiva Linux 10 does not load PCI modules per default, but only modules
that are listed in /etc/hotplug/pci.whitelist.
If your socket driver can be loaded via hotplug (PCI socket or detected by PnP or
whatever) and everything is ok, yenta_socket (or another socket driver), pcmcia,
pcmcia_core and rsrc_nonstatic (not for all socket drivers) should be loaded after
booting. Modules for inserted pcmcia cards should be loaded as well.