ncr53c8xx driver update - Nvram now supported!

Richard Waltham (
Tue, 20 May 1997 03:07:17 +0100 (BST)

Hi All,

The latest update for the NCR53C8XX BSD ported driver is available.

Latest revision is now 2.2b for kernel versions 2.0.28/29/30.

Please note this release is classified as a development version although
personally I have found it very stable.

This revision adds support for using the serial NVRAM on Symbios, Symbios
compatible, and Tekram boards using Symbios chips (Tekram DC390 series).

A very significant feature is that the boot order of cards may be determined
from reading the NVRAM. It doesn't have to be the order they are detected in.

The following list taken from the README.ncr53c8xx file lists the features
currently available with the Symbios and Tekram NVRAM.

Tekram format Symbios format
General and host parameters
Boot order N Y
SCSI parity checking Y Y
Verbose boot messages N Y
SCSI devices parameters
Synchronous transfer speed Y Y
Wide 16 / Narrow Y Y
Tagged Command Queuing enabled Y Y
Disconnections enabled Y Y
Scan at boot time N Y

Being able to differentiate cards by reading the NVRAM it is possible to mix
Symbios and Tekram cards and enable certain Symbios compatible features that
previously could cause problems for the Tekram cards. eg differential mode.

For a full description see the README.ncr53c8xx sections 10.5 and 17.

To upgrade to this version from a clean kernel version 2.0.28/29/30 requires
the following patches available from:


Although the names imply otherwise these patches apply cleanly to all kernel
versions 2.0.28/29 and 30.

I have been using these routines myself for several weeks now without
problems with a variety of cards - Symbios SYM8751SP, Tekram DC390W, and
several no-name 53c810a cards with and without nvram. Gerard Roudier has
tested them with I believe ASUS SC-200 (no nvram) and Promise 53c875 card.

If, however, you should run across any problems with using the NVRAM please
contact me, rather than Gerard, in the first instance.

Finally, many thanks to Gerard for his rather generous remarks in some of
our private correspondence and for including these routines in the driver.

Have fun!

Bye for now

 Richard Waltham   |               Work:
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