need I recompile kernel to get eth0 from ifconfig?
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you could lsmod to see if eth0 devices module is loaded..if not load it with modprobe then do ifconfig..not sure the name of the module..check it out on other linux install..you said you had another distro installed too right??if you do lspci you will be able to the chipset the eth0 uses..
the fundamental problem here is my fear of going into the kernel configuration and figuring what I should change ... I always find the kernel config naems very confusing. But I went in anyway and _did_ see a network driver from NVIDIA not enabled. So I enabled it, recompiled, and booted it up,m and it all came good.
So the answer to my question is "yes, some times you have to fight to be a man" ... I mean, "sometimes you have to recompile the kernel in order to get ethernet working". ;-D