Root/Documentation/scsi/FlashPoint.txt

1The BusLogic FlashPoint SCSI Host Adapters are now fully supported on Linux.
2The upgrade program described below has been officially terminated effective
331 March 1997 since it is no longer needed.
4
5
6
7      MYLEX INTRODUCES LINUX OPERATING SYSTEM SUPPORT FOR ITS
8          BUSLOGIC FLASHPOINT LINE OF SCSI HOST ADAPTERS
9
10
11FREMONT, CA, -- October 8, 1996 -- Mylex Corporation has expanded Linux
12operating system support to its BusLogic brand of FlashPoint Ultra SCSI
13host adapters. All of BusLogic's other SCSI host adapters, including the
14MultiMaster line, currently support the Linux operating system. Linux
15drivers and information will be available on October 15th at
16http://sourceforge.net/projects/dandelion/.
17
18"Mylex is committed to supporting the Linux community," says Peter Shambora,
19vice president of marketing for Mylex. "We have supported Linux driver
20development and provided technical support for our host adapters for several
21years, and are pleased to now make our FlashPoint products available to this
22user base."
23
24The Linux Operating System
25
26Linux is a freely-distributed implementation of UNIX for Intel x86, Sun
27SPARC, SGI MIPS, Motorola 68k, Digital Alpha AXP and Motorola PowerPC
28machines. It supports a wide range of software, including the X Window
29System, Emacs, and TCP/IP networking. Further information is available at
30http://www.linux.org and http://www.ssc.com/.
31
32FlashPoint Host Adapters
33
34The FlashPoint family of Ultra SCSI host adapters, designed for workstation
35and file server environments, are available in narrow, wide, dual channel,
36and dual channel wide versions. These adapters feature SeqEngine
37automation technology, which minimizes SCSI command overhead and reduces
38the number of interrupts generated to the CPU.
39
40About Mylex
41
42Mylex Corporation (NASDAQ/NM SYMBOL: MYLX), founded in 1983, is a leading
43producer of RAID technology and network management products. The company
44produces high performance disk array (RAID) controllers, and complementary
45computer products for network servers, mass storage systems, workstations
46and system boards. Through its wide range of RAID controllers and its
47BusLogic line of Ultra SCSI host adapter products, Mylex provides enabling
48intelligent I/O technologies that increase network management control,
49enhance CPU utilization, optimize I/O performance, and ensure data security
50and availability. Products are sold globally through a network of OEMs,
51major distributors, VARs, and system integrators. Mylex Corporation is
52headquartered at 34551 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, CA.
53
54                   ####
55
56Contact:
57
58Peter Shambora
59Vice President of Marketing
60Mylex Corp.
61510/796-6100
62peters@mylex.com
63
64                   ANNOUNCEMENT
65           BusLogic FlashPoint LT/BT-948 Upgrade Program
66                  1 February 1996
67
68              ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT
69           BusLogic FlashPoint LW/BT-958 Upgrade Program
70                   14 June 1996
71
72Ever since its introduction last October, the BusLogic FlashPoint LT has
73been problematic for members of the Linux community, in that no Linux
74drivers have been available for this new Ultra SCSI product. Despite its
75officially being positioned as a desktop workstation product, and not being
76particularly well suited for a high performance multitasking operating
77system like Linux, the FlashPoint LT has been touted by computer system
78vendors as the latest thing, and has been sold even on many of their high
79end systems, to the exclusion of the older MultiMaster products. This has
80caused grief for many people who inadvertently purchased a system expecting
81that all BusLogic SCSI Host Adapters were supported by Linux, only to
82discover that the FlashPoint was not supported and would not be for quite
83some time, if ever.
84
85After this problem was identified, BusLogic contacted its major OEM
86customers to make sure the BT-946C/956C MultiMaster cards would still be
87made available, and that Linux users who mistakenly ordered systems with
88the FlashPoint would be able to upgrade to the BT-946C. While this helped
89many purchasers of new systems, it was only a partial solution to the
90overall problem of FlashPoint support for Linux users. It did nothing to
91assist the people who initially purchased a FlashPoint for a supported
92operating system and then later decided to run Linux, or those who had
93ended up with a FlashPoint LT, believing it was supported, and were unable
94to return it.
95
96In the middle of December, I asked to meet with BusLogic's senior
97management to discuss the issues related to Linux and free software support
98for the FlashPoint. Rumors of varying accuracy had been circulating
99publicly about BusLogic's attitude toward the Linux community, and I felt
100it was best that these issues be addressed directly. I sent an email
101message after 11pm one evening, and the meeting took place the next
102afternoon. Unfortunately, corporate wheels sometimes grind slowly,
103especially when a company is being acquired, and so it's taken until now
104before the details were completely determined and a public statement could
105be made.
106
107BusLogic is not prepared at this time to release the information necessary
108for third parties to write drivers for the FlashPoint. The only existing
109FlashPoint drivers have been written directly by BusLogic Engineering, and
110there is no FlashPoint documentation sufficiently detailed to allow outside
111developers to write a driver without substantial assistance. While there
112are people at BusLogic who would rather not release the details of the
113FlashPoint architecture at all, that debate has not yet been settled either
114way. In any event, even if documentation were available today it would
115take quite a while for a usable driver to be written, especially since I'm
116not convinced that the effort required would be worthwhile.
117
118However, BusLogic does remain committed to providing a high performance
119SCSI solution for the Linux community, and does not want to see anyone left
120unable to run Linux because they have a Flashpoint LT. Therefore, BusLogic
121has put in place a direct upgrade program to allow any Linux user worldwide
122to trade in their FlashPoint LT for the new BT-948 MultiMaster PCI Ultra
123SCSI Host Adapter. The BT-948 is the Ultra SCSI successor to the BT-946C
124and has all the best features of both the BT-946C and FlashPoint LT,
125including smart termination and a flash PROM for easy firmware updates, and
126is of course compatible with the present Linux driver. The price for this
127upgrade has been set at US $45 plus shipping and handling, and the upgrade
128program will be administered through BusLogic Technical Support, which can
129be reached by electronic mail at techsup@buslogic.com, by Voice at +1 408
130654-0760, or by FAX at +1 408 492-1542.
131
132As of 14 June 1996, the original BusLogic FlashPoint LT to BT-948 upgrade
133program has now been extended to encompass the FlashPoint LW Wide Ultra
134SCSI Host Adapter. Any Linux user worldwide may trade in their FlashPoint
135LW (BT-950) for a BT-958 MultiMaster PCI Ultra SCSI Host Adapter. The
136price for this upgrade has been set at US $65 plus shipping and handling.
137
138I was a beta test site for the BT-948/958, and versions 1.2.1 and 1.3.1 of
139my BusLogic driver already included latent support for the BT-948/958.
140Additional cosmetic support for the Ultra SCSI MultiMaster cards was added
141subsequent releases. As a result of this cooperative testing process,
142several firmware bugs were found and corrected. My heavily loaded Linux
143test system provided an ideal environment for testing error recovery
144processes that are much more rarely exercised in production systems, but
145are crucial to overall system stability. It was especially convenient
146being able to work directly with their firmware engineer in demonstrating
147the problems under control of the firmware debugging environment; things
148sure have come a long way since the last time I worked on firmware for an
149embedded system. I am presently working on some performance testing and
150expect to have some data to report in the not too distant future.
151
152BusLogic asked me to send this announcement since a large percentage of the
153questions regarding support for the FlashPoint have either been sent to me
154directly via email, or have appeared in the Linux newsgroups in which I
155participate. To summarize, BusLogic is offering Linux users an upgrade
156from the unsupported FlashPoint LT (BT-930) to the supported BT-948 for US
157$45 plus shipping and handling, or from the unsupported FlashPoint LW
158(BT-950) to the supported BT-958 for $65 plus shipping and handling.
159Contact BusLogic Technical Support at techsup@buslogic.com or +1 408
160654-0760 to take advantage of their offer.
161
162        Leonard N. Zubkoff
163        lnz@dandelion.com
164

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