ISDN4BSD removal (was: FreeBSD 6.4 and 8.0 EoLs coming soon)

Kevin Oberman oberman at
Thu Oct 7 16:04:51 UTC 2010

> From: pmc at (Peter Much)
> Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 12:35:01 GMT
> Sender: owner-freebsd-stable at
> <vadim_nuclight at> aka Vadim Goncharov schrieb
> mit Datum Wed, 08 Sep 2010 04:31:46 +0700 in m2n.fbsd.stable:
> |You do not understand the problem. It is not in notices & volunteers, but  
> |rather in the Project's policy - delete something which could still work.  
> |Personally, I don't use ISDN, so didn't said anything that time, but now,  
> Hi all,
> at this point I would like to speak up, because I am practically
> using ISDN4BSD.
> I just decided to upgrade to RELENG-8, and found out that I cannot.
> So now I have 1 1/2 years (until 7.3 EOL) to figure out a solution.
> I will not complain, because I think people here do an incredible
> good work, and the only very small thing I can contribute is 
> occasional bug reports and sometimes patches.
> But what I want to say is:
> It is *NOT TRUE* that the I4B feature has become of limited
> usefulness today!
> I am using I4B as an answering machine for my phone-line, with
> the feature to monitor these calls and to download them as MP3
> from anywhere in the world (could even be a web-interface, but 
> I hadn't yet the time to write that). 
> I don't want everybody to know my cellular nr;  I don't want to
> (costly) forward calls to my cellular; but I want to be able to
> monitor and react on calls nevertheless!
> This is very easy and very comfortable - and currently I have no
> idea which other equipment could provide me with such functionality
> (if any would exist at all). And - my router is running anyway, 
> it doesn't consume extra power when doing this - in fact, I think
> this is one of the most useful things one can do with a computer
> that is kept running all the time...
> So, I am sure my demand for this functionality will continue to 
> exist for an indefinite time into the future, and in fact I 
> am sad.
> To be honest, I am quite clueless now. Theoretically I do 
> understand the problem with I4B. (Practically I do not understand 
> it, because for me it has nothing to do with networking - I do
> only use the phone call monitoring/handling.)
> But staying with 7.3 will cut me off from other improvements/fixes,
> which I would much enjoy.
> Anyway, there is another open issue for me: my ISDN adapter card 
> is ISA technology, so I will have to get a PCI type card as soon 
> as I replace the mainboard of that system (which is imminent because
> it's too slow and too power-consuming - the ISDN being the main 
> reason why I didnt do that already).
> But maybe, now I should look for some completely different approach?
> Any clues, ideas, pointers, hints, ressources,... are greatly
> welcomed!!

Please understand that the removal of isdn4bsd has nothing to do with
any belief that it was no longer being used. 

It was removed because it would not work with a modern kernel as it
relied on a locking mechanism that could not be retained if the system
was to remain relevant in the modern world. There were many calls,
though they may have not reached all those with a vested interest in
isdn4bsd, asking if anyone could re-work the code to remove giant locks.

Due to the magnitude of the change to the kernel to support a non-giant
locked world, there was simply no way to make support for giant a build
time option. When no one stepped up to update isdn4bsd, there was really
no choice but to remove it.

Happily, HPS and taken the job and has an isdn4bsd driver that works on
v8 and I hope to see it move back into the base system in the future.
R. Kevin Oberman, Network Engineer
Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
Ernest O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)
E-mail: oberman at			Phone: +1 510 486-8634
Key fingerprint:059B 2DDF 031C 9BA3 14A4  EADA 927D EBB3 987B 3751

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