Inspiron 1525 Hardware

Jeremy Chadwick koitsu at
Sun Sep 7 00:50:39 UTC 2008

On Sat, Sep 06, 2008 at 01:12:29PM -0600, Dan Allen wrote:
> On 5 Sep 2008, at 9:43 PM, Jeremy Chadwick wrote:
>> I cannot find a single PCI/PCIe card that uses the 88E8040.
> I wonder how Ubuntu supports this ethernet chip?  It is amazing that  
> only two Dell's use this chip.  Maybe it is not worth worrying about  
> after all...

The reason I'm "worried" about it is that both of those laptop models,
especially the Inspiron, are becoming increasingly common.  The Inspiron
is decently priced/affordable, which means more and more people will
start to come out of the woodwork stating FreeBSD doesn't work with its
Ethernet chip.

This is mainly for Yong-Hyeon:

The code for the Linux driver is in sky2.c.  You can get a "revision
history" with dates by clicking on the weird triangle image on the far
left, or get a commit comments by clicking on "CSets" (which is quite
useful).  Clicking on the actual sky2.c link provides an annotated

It appears Linux got support for the 88E8040 in September 2007 (revision
1.2.73).  Support for the 88E8040T was added in June 2008 (revision

The 1.2.73 commit also added support for the 88E8048 and the 88E8070.
This might be of great help in tracking down just what register tweaks
they added to get support working:

However, there is a comment at the very top that says "this driver lacks
link management", indicating PHY support might be somewhere else in the
Linux kernel.  If that's the case, this code might not be of much help.
It might be worth getting in contact with the driver author,
shemminger at, or jeff at, and asking for

> Don't kill yourself over this.  It is not the end of the world.  It  
> appears I will be able to get my Intel 4965 Wireless working in which  
> case I can use that.  I have lots of computers in which I can run  
> FreeBSD.

It doesn't surprise me that only two products on the US market (that I
can find) use this chip.  I blogged about the horrible state of Ethernet
chips used on consumer products back in July; everyone is using
Realtek or Attansic/Atheros now, which means they pretty much have a
stronghold on the consumer market.  I wouldn't be concerned with this if
their chips weren't buggy as hell.

The same problem applies to laptops, although I believe in the case of
the laptop market, engineers often (justifiably) look for chips which
draw the least amount of power, rather than "the cheapest chip" (which
appears to be Realtek).

| Jeremy Chadwick                                jdc at |
| Parodius Networking              |
| UNIX Systems Administrator                  Mountain View, CA, USA |
| Making life hard for others since 1977.              PGP: 4BD6C0CB |

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