Madwifi is kernel version dependent. You need to be sure that the version in the repo matches the kernel you are running.
Yes, I had to blacklist ath5k. So have a bunch of other users. However, if you do a search on madwifi in the forum you'll find the instructions you need. A How-to for a version of VL that's about to become legacy probably won't be forthcoming unless you choose to write it.
Whatever becomes the default in VL 6.0 will work with some Atheros chipsets but not others. That's true of both madwifi and ath5k. This is a temporary situation we all have to live with until ath9k is ready for prime time. This problem is NOT unique to VL. In fact, right now, it applies to all distros with a 2.6.25 or newer kernel. Basically, wifi in Linux is, in general, still a work in progress.