I spent much time trying to solve this problem myself and searching the Web for possible answers, to no avail. I hope someone here can help me.
I installed Mandrake 10.2 (Mandriva 2005), kernel 2.6.11, on my Averatec 3150H laptop. Everything works fine but for the fact that I have no USB working at all (the same install on a different computer resulted in USB working fine). Here is the essential of what I have checked/done till now:
1) USB on the same machine works fine in both Window$ and Knoppix and worked fine on a previous Mandrake 9.2 install;
2) hotplug cries because /proc/bus/usb/devices is missing; indeed, I have /proc/bus/usb, but no /proc/bus/usb/devices; a manual mount ("mount -t usbfs none /proc/bus/usb") will do nothing (not even an error message); also tried with "-t usbdevfs";
3) the output of "lspci -v | grep HCI" is the following:
00:10.0 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80) (prog-if 00 [UHCI])
00:10.1 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80) (prog-if 00 [UHCI])
00:10.2 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80) (prog-if 00 [UHCI])
00:10.3 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. USB 2.0 (rev 82) (prog-if 20 [EHCI])
4) I have usbcore, ehci-hcd and uhci-hcd modules loaded (also tried with ochi-hcd, just in case); the output of "lsmod | grep usb" is the following:
usbcore 106008 3 ehci-hcd,uhci-hcd
5) I can't find any abvious error message in /var/log/messages or /var/log/syslog that could be related to this problem; at boot time the system indicates that USB filesystem is mounted successfully (like I said I get no errors with a manual mount)
6) I have tried the following boot options: acpi=off, noapic
7) I have tried disabling alsa and sound services (I have read that sometimes those could conflict with USB)
8) I have tried reinstalling Mandrake 10.2 a second time from scratch.
So, at this stage I just don't know what else I can do. I consider myself as an advanced Linux user, but as a user only I don't know much about fine hardware configuration or conflict finding/troubleshooting.
Thanks for any help or suggestion anyone could bring; if I can't find a solution I will of course switch to another distro, but I just hate being beaten this way...