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[Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

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prairiedad
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[Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#1

Post by prairiedad » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:37 pm

Not sure if this belongs in General, Software or here...mods feel free to move, sticky, etc. I also propose that a bit of firmware be changed in the distro as a whole, though maybe this has not worried anyone but me!?

I have a vintage 2011 Dell Vostro 1015 laptop, 4GB RAM and a 300 GB HDD. Core2 Duo, T6670. Works great, couldn't be happier (as far as it goes.) But for years, I have limped along with no Bluetooth...booting and dmesg always showed a configuration error and failed module probe, so no BT for me. This, by the way, on whatever distros I loaded...mostly Debian, but also Fedora, OpenSuSE, Arch (a few years ago, admittedly.)

Here are the output, respectively, of lspci and lsusb:

0c:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 0cf3:3005 Atheros Communications, Inc. AR3011 Bluetooth

Apparently both of these chips are on a combo card, one piece of hardware. Lots of models used to have them, though I'm sure they're now overhauled. The bug was discovered by many, and in googling around I repeatedly _almost_ found the solution...but eventually I just gave up, not worth the trouble. Until yesterday/today...I'm having such a good time with MX, and getting it just as I want it, that I figured one last shot couldn't hurt.

This page in kernel.org's bugzilla has the answer, and a link to the patched firmware that now works flawlessly:

https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=42442#c7

I just put the linked-to firmware into /lib/firmware in place of the default ath3-1.fw, and rebooted...and bluetooth for the first time ever! (PS, make sure with rfkill list that the device is turned on...sometimes these Dell laptops have hardware switch that is off and must be turned on...I think on mine is fcn-F11.

md5sum of the good version is, as kernel.org notes above: 24cfee59a24f336dfae838a0de6445a0

md5sum of the default but _bad_ for my/our device is: 1211fa34c09e10ba48381586b7c3883d

Here's the most important part...this patch has never been widely applied upstream...no idea why. it is missing from all the distros I named above as of late 2017/early 2018...I know because I tested them all on this laptop to see. (Arch, too, but that was longer ago.)

Can you mods have higher visibility upstream, and get this patched in the distributed kernel once and for all...I can't see how it would hurt a thing?

Thanks, and I hope this will help someone, somewhere...it drove me nuts for ages.

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prairiedad
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Re: [Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#2

Post by prairiedad » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:27 pm

I just want to give this a bump, and maybe some MX/antiX dev will have a look...

this same fix is needed on MX 18 Continuum as well...the ath3k-1.fw that comes with the distro (same as in Debian repos) will _not_ work with Atheros 3011 card, as I described some months ago. Substituting the version found on the kernel.org web site does the trick...md5 sums are given above, to help distinguish the "good" firmware from the "bad."

I realize that perhaps this is a low priority...maybe it's never been used by MX users before, maybe not many Vostro laptops were sold...I dunno. But I would sure appreciate someone from MX (a regular mod or other forum visitor) at least letting me know this has been seen in the appropriate circles, and might be acted on. My guess is that others have had this problem, and will again...older laptops are so often repurposed as Linux machines, and gee it's nice when Bluetooth works!

Thanks for all the great work...just a super distribution.

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Stevo
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Re: [Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#3

Post by Stevo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:44 pm

Thanks! I'll give it a look, since I've been doing the firmware package backports.

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timkb4cq
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Re: [Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#4

Post by timkb4cq » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:57 pm

OK, so I've read through several of the threads on this bug and I think I understand the issue.

This fix hasn't been applied upstream because Atheros did something stupid.
The exact same usb id codes were used for the chip in your Vostro and another, more widely used, variation of that chip for which the firmware in firmware-atheros is correct. The way in which the two variations load their firmware is different so the same firmware cannot apply to both. So shipping with the firmware that works for you would break other users' bluetooth.
MSI 970A-G43 MB, AMD FX-6300 (six core), 16GB RAM, GeForce 730, Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Seagate Barracuda XT 3TB

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Re: [Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#5

Post by Stevo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:50 pm

OK--then I'll just stand pat with the current firmware.

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prairiedad
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Re: [Solved] Older Atheros combo wireless and Bluetooth card? [Solved]

#6

Post by prairiedad » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:48 pm

timkb4cq wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:57 pm
OK, so I've read through several of the threads on this bug and I think I understand the issue.

This fix hasn't been applied upstream because Atheros did something stupid.
The exact same usb id codes were used for the chip in your Vostro and another, more widely used, variation of that chip for which the firmware in firmware-atheros is correct. The way in which the two variations load their firmware is different so the same firmware cannot apply to both. So shipping with the firmware that works for you would break other users' bluetooth.
how interesting, thanks! I never managed to find those threads, somehow...were they on kernel.org? If you could recreate your search without much trouble, i'd be very grateful. Maybe we could make a sticky for all us poor, benighted souls using such ancient hardware, listing which models need "my" patched firmware, and at least notify them that indeed a fix exists, even if it has to be applied manually, as I've done. Perhaps even host the patched version on the MX site...it's not huge...I'm always afraid it'll disappear someday from the spot where I first fetched it.

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