I was assigned an Ubuntu desktop with some stuff already on it. I did not reformat it, but attached a mini-PCI wireless card over a PCI to mini-PCI adapter. I manually built the madwifi driver and installed its .ko files.

Now lshw -C network always shows the card, but it sometimes shows it as 'unclaimed' and sometimes it shows with the madwifi (i.e. ath_pci) driver. Any idea what can cause this effect?

EDIT: Snippet from /var/log/kern.log, on failed load.

Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.935304] ath_hal: module license 'Proprietary' taints kernel.
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.936614] ath_hal: (AR5210, AR5211, AR5212, RF5111, RF5112, RF2413, RF5413)
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.958671] wlan: svn r4133 (branch madwifi-0.9.4)
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.975867] ath_pci: svn r4133 (branch madwifi-0.9.4)
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.975940] ath_pci 0000:02:04.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 17 (level, low) -> IRQ 17
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.976024] ath_pci: HAL doesn't support MAC revision 0xffffffff
Apr 19 11:47:21 manju-desktop kernel: [    9.976037] ath_pci 0000:02:04.0: PCI INT A disabled

Output of lshw -C network

  *-network:1 UNCLAIMED
       description: Ethernet controller
       product: AR5413 802.11abg NIC
       vendor: Atheros Communications Inc.
       physical id: 4
       bus info: pci@0000:02:04.0
       version: 01
       width: 32 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm cap_list
       configuration: latency=168 maxlatency=12 mingnt=10
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    Do you mean sometimes you boot and it's unclaimed and sometimes you boot and it's claimed, or do you mean it oscillates between claimed and unclaimed just like that? Do you see anything in the kernel logs (/var/log/kern.log) (post anything that you aren't sure is irrelevant)? – Gilles Apr 18 '11 at 18:43
  • I mean the former, it changes after each boot. – apoorv020 Apr 19 '11 at 6:14
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    @apoorv020: Next time you boot and see the card as unclaimed, post all the lines concerning the card or the driver from /var/log/kern.log. Also try modprobe ath_pci and report any error message or line appearing in the kernel logs. One possible explanation is that there's a conflicting driver that claims the card but then doesn't work; if that's the issue and you find this name, you can blacklist it. – Gilles Apr 19 '11 at 7:11
  • @apoorv020: So the driver is loaded anyway but sometimes doesn't like the hardware. Can we have the logs from a successful boots for comparison? On an unsuccessful boot, if you rmmod ath_pci; rmmod ath_hal; modprobe ath_pci, does it sometimes work? – Gilles Apr 19 '11 at 10:55
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    @apoorv020: If you already found an answer, you should post it as an answer and then accept. Its best to accept out questions, rather than leave them perpetually open. – J. M. Becker Mar 12 '12 at 20:05

Try to use udev instead of HAL. It is more integrated with the kernel and thus more consistent with hardware identification. If it works right with udev but you still want to use HAL, you can port the udev rule that matched your hardware to HAL, skipping MAC verification and other stuff that may make it work wrong.

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