Just the other day my madwifi stopped working for, seemingly, no reason. I managed to grab the RPM's off of livna, put them on a USB, and install them.
I had to reboot my system and when it booted up the madwifi didn't seem to be working. When the screen comes up that shows all of the boot-up processes and if they're "OK" or "FAIL" the "initializing loopback interface" was a green "OK", right under it, though it said that the device "ath0 was unable to be SET".
No big deal, I'm sure I can get it sorted out when it boots, but it won't boot. It seems as if it checks for updates to rpm's on boot, and it hangs on "Updating RPM". I believe this is because it is trying to search for the update servers, but due to me not having and internet connection it is failing, but continues to try.