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 From:  Dan DeRemer <dderemer at atnetplus dot com>
 To:  "William F. Dudley Jr." <wfdudley at gmail dot com>
 Cc:  "m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch" <m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch>
 Subject:  RE: [m0n0wall] Tough sell to my boss
 Date:  Tue, 13 Jan 2009 10:01:40 -0500
Here is a list of changes from the BIOS update zip file for the ALIX boards:

ALIX tinyBIOS revision history

v0.99h  pd 081105       Enable banked extensions for CS5536 UARTs.

v0.99g  pd 081002       Add support for ALIX.4 board.

v0.99f  pd 080919       Experimental: swap INTD and USB interrupt assignment
                        to avoid Mikrotik conflict between USB and non-existent
                        secondary IDE...

                        Experimental: enable HD_EDD, fix drive geometry report.

v0.99e  pd 080907       Correct COM2 port setup to I/O 02F8.

v0.99d  pd 080618       Enable CS5536 COM2 port for ALIX.6B and ALIX.2D

v0.99c  pd 080222       USB gang power control to enable higher power USB

v0.99b  pd 080111       Add PCI table entry for Commell MP-541
                        dual LAN miniPCI card.

v0.99   pd 071210       Setup: changed description from Etherboot to PXE boot

v0.98j  pd 071206       Setup: add late PCI init option to support
                        FPGA based miniPCI cards that take a long time
                        to wake up... (symptom: no interrupt assigned)

v0.98h  pd 071203       Change to BIOS controlled PXE module

v0.98g  pd 071126       Fix CS5536 serial port flow control

v0.98f  pd 071126       Disable audio section

v0.98e  pd 071125       Serial console: allow Int 14 init to disable interrupt.
                        Setup: add UDMA option

v0.98d  pd 071115       Setup: change HDD slave to V (avoid accidental change)
                        Setup: add MFGPT workaround option

v0.98c  pd 071113       Alternate version without MFGPT reset

v0.98b  pd 071101       Fix UART initialization

v0.98   pd 071031       Skip DLL status check

Not much in relation to the network adapters in the changelog. The late PCI table init option may
provide some result but most likely won't do much. The main reason I upgrade to the 0.99 version
bios is that 0.99 is the first version that supports the 1.2.x versions of pfSense on ALIX boards.
Without that BIOS upgrade, you get boot hang ups at around the DHCP server/client initialization of


Dan DeRemer
IT Specialist
AtNetPlus, Inc.

Keep Connected + Keep Secure + Keep Working

-----Original Message-----
From: William F. Dudley Jr. [mailto:wfdudley at gmail dot com]
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 6:22 PM
To: Thompson, Andrew
Cc: m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
Subject: Re: [m0n0wall] Tough sell to my boss

OK, so after rooting around for a USB<->serial turd, usb cable, etc.
since modern laptops
don't have serial ports, I find that this board announces itself as
"Alix 2. v.098"

So, WHY does the BIOS matter, doesn't m0n0wall use the FreeBSD ethernet driver,
in which case why does the BIOS matter?


On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 3:03 PM, Thompson, Andrew <andrew at fernico dot com> wrote:
> Easy. Plug the serial cable in and use Putty / Hyper Terminal when it boots
> up. Press the relevant key to enter the bios and it will give you all the
> information you could ever need.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: William F. Dudley Jr. [mailto:wfdudley at gmail dot com]
> Sent: 12 January 2009 19:50
> To: Sterling Windmill; m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
> Subject: Re: [m0n0wall] Tough sell to my boss
> How does one go about finding what bios us in use, considering there
> is no keyboard and no
> display?
> Why would the bios affect this, anyway?  Isn't the ethernet port
> driver part of FreeBSD?
> Thanks,
> Bill
> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 1:00 PM, Sterling Windmill
> <sterling dot windmill at custdata dot com> wrote:
>> I use an alix2c3 with m0n0wall in production and have had no such issues.
>> Are you using the latest v0.99h bios?
>> Sterling Windmill | Systems & Technology
>> Custom Data Solutions, Inc.
>> 410 S. Main St | Romeo | MI | 48065
>> 586-752-9671 ext 161 | fax: 586-752-6589
>> toll free: 800-441-9595 | fax: 800-383-4551
>> www.custdata.com
>> CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email contains information from the sender
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>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "William F. Dudley Jr." <wfdudley at gmail dot com>
>> To: m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
>> Sent: Monday, January 12, 2009 12:33:40 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
>> Subject: Re: [m0n0wall] Tough sell to my boss
>> This may count as topic hijacking, but . . .
>> I certainly wouldn't recommend trying to build a production router
>> using the Alix
>> 2C3 board. I and others have had mysterious failures (the ethernet ports
>> just
>> stop working) and I have not seen a solution.
>> I'd dearly love to be using my Alix 2C3 board with m0n0wall, but the
>> flaky hardware
>> makes it unusable, and I feel I've thrown away a couple hundred bucks.
>> So I keep
>> using an ancient P75 running LRP ("linux router project") that refuses to
>> die.
>> If anybody has heard of a fix to the flaky Alix boards I'd love to
>> hear about it.
>> Bill
>> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 11:40 AM, Chris Buechler <cbuechler at gmail dot com>
>> wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 9:08 AM, Peter Pauly <ppauly at gmail dot com> wrote:
>>>> My boss is the type of person who would rather pay more (loads more)
>>>> for a Cisco ASA because paid support can be found for it and there are
>>>> "lots of people who know how to support it". I need to counter these
>>>> arguments in order to implement m0n0wall.
>>>> 1. Are there any companies in the USA supporting m0n0wall (paid
>>>> support)?
>>> Yes, under pfSense support subscriptions we also support m0n0wall.
>>> https://portal.pfsense.org
>>> and we send money to Manuel for any m0n0wall support sold. The support
>>> initially started off on a project-neutral site for pfSense and
>>> m0n0wall both, but the support demand has been almost exclusively for
>>> pfSense to date.
>>> The site doesn't mention m0n0wall support (yet, lack of time), but
>>> we're the best qualified option available for m0n0wall commercial
>>> support (and actually the only one I know of, aside from a number of
>>> consulting companies who provide support for their local/regional
>>> customer bases).
>>> m0n0wall isn't some esoteric system that requires specialized
>>> knowledge to run. Anyone who can admin a commercial grade firewall
>>> through a web interface can admin a m0n0wall.
>>>> 2. What major (well known) companies or organizations (Universities,
>>>> etc) are using m0n0wall in production?
>>> Wow, a lot... but specifics... my memory of who runs m0n0 and who runs
>>> pfSense is running together. Most of the big ones tend to use pfSense
>>> because they need redundancy that CARP provides, and/or need a larger
>>> state table but don't want to recompile the kernel. Three I know of
>>> offhand that are publicly known are parts of the University of Texas,
>>> Purdue, and one of the datacenters that hosts part of foxnews.com, all
>>> running pfSense. There are several state government agencies across
>>> the US using it also, and a few Fortune 500 companies, as well as
>>> countless small to medium businesses. I can't specify any of those as
>>> that isn't public information, the ones I identified you could find
>>> yourself searching mailing list and forum archives.
>>> I personally have m0n0wall deployed in several dozen small businesses
>>> and it just works, and people love it. It's a proven solution.
>>> -Chris
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