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I heard somewhere that with the 2.6 kernel tree, my nforce2 will be supported. With a clean Debian 3.0r2 install, do I just download the kernel source, compile it, and then it's supported? Or how do I do this?
Don't forget to do "depmod 2.6.5" after you make the kernel and modules. iirc, the Makefile doesn't do this for you on account of a bug.
Try this after you reboot into your new kernel:
modprobe forcedeth (If you made it a module, that is)
The first command finds and inserts the module forcedeth, satisfying dependencies as intelligently as it can. The second gives data about the eth0 network device.
If the ifconfig command doesn't tell you it can't find the network interface eth0 (it'll give you a bunch of info instead), then it works and just needs to be configured. If you're on a DHCP network, try the dhcpc3 package. I may be wrong on the name, but it starts with dhcp and has a 3 at the end. If you're not using DHCP.... well.... try linuxconf or check the man pages on ifconfig. I'm just not too familiar with it.
Like I said earlier: it turned out for me that I needed to use 3c90x for my ethernet card.
The lspci command should be able to give you bunches of information about the PCI devices on your system. It may tell you something about your ethernet card which might lead you to try another module out.
Well, modules are usually prefererable (for most folks) because it helps avoid the "monolithic kernel" problem.
Functionally, modules are nice because you can compile one, install it (depmod it, too), and try it out - all without a reboot!
But here's something maybe I didn't metion... VERY IMPORTANT... with the 2.6.5 kernel, you need new versions of all the module tools (insmod, rmmod, modprobe, etc.) in order to get them working. The package is called modules-init-tools.
IIRC there should be information in a file included with the kernel. Poke around the Documentation/ directory. modules.txt ?? I'm sorry I don't have a link!