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Danus ex 05-31-2005 06:21 PM

Slackware-current network initialization trouble
Hey all

I'm having a hell of a fun time with this. After keeping current for about nine months with no real issues, I've now got a problem getting my network to initialize that I have been unable to resolve with hours of research and trial and error. I've typed ifconfig a million times.

It started about the time kernel 2.6.11 was released in current, but didn't begin happening as a direct result of the kernel upgrade from .10 to .11. I have an SMC card that uses the 'tulip' module. When I start Slack, I can't connect to the network at all. No internet, no LAN, nothing. When I try to 'ping' something, it says "Network unreachable" and provides no further clues. What's worse is that this problem is random--I do get network infrequently (maybe one in five boots) in Slack, and everything works fine in Windows.

The problem's randomness made me think it was a hardware issue. I've switched sockets on the network switch that's connected to the router with no luck. Every other computer on those systems (including mine in Windows) works fine anyway. Another computer also running Slack-current has no problems. My machine has a second network interface (a VIA Rhine) that I keep disabled, so I enabled it and tried to connect using it. No luck. I have yet to remove the SMC card and try just the VIA, however.

This was so irritating that I wiped my Slack partition and started over from 10.1. I upgraded to Pat's kernel and saw no problems. Upgraded to current and grabbed some stuff out of 'extra', encountered no problems, and went to sleep. Woke up the next morning and started getting things the way I liked them. I made KDE pretty, installed the horrid ATI drivers, amarok, some libraries amarok likes (libtunepimp and musicbrainz), amule, wxwidgets library, lame, mplayer 1.07a, mplayerplug-in, acrobat 7, openLDAP, and probably some other things I can't remember. Everything was either from, Adobe, or compiled from souce. I get home and start it up today and that nasty network bug is back. It worked after a reboot, and failed after another four reboots and/or power offs. What the hell?

Is this a problem with the kernel modules not working right (lsmod says tulip is loading)? An installed program doing things it shouldn't? Hardware failing after two and a half years of faithful service? Voodoo zombie oompa-loompas widdling the insides of my computer into a haunted candy-coated sacrificial temple? Where and how do I start fixing this mess?

(Sorry, I'm a rhetoric/tech comm grad student so I get verbose in a hurry.)

killerbob 05-31-2005 06:44 PM

At the risk of stating the obvious, something you installed isn't playing friendly. I'd need to know exactly what you installed to have any idea of what's causing it, but in the mean time I have a suggestion....

Have you tried recompiling the kernel? Rather than making the Tulip driver a module, compile it directly into the kernel... If you do that, it won't be breakable by normal means. (I won't say it's unbreakable, because the moment somebody brands something "idiot-proof", they come out with a better idiot. :))

Danus ex 05-31-2005 07:17 PM

Since I just did this install yesterday, my memory should be good. Non-official stuff is sitting in my 'packages' directory right now. Here's the list of what I've installed, and for many, how I installed it.

1. Started with a full install of Slackware 10.1 minus the GNOME and KDEI package groups.
2. Installed PV's generic kernel and the associated modules, source, and alsa driver as well as slackpkg, all were waiting in my FAT32 directory. Got it rolling with no issues.
3. I got slackpkg updated/functional, opened the changelog in another terminal, and went to town upgrading, adding, and removing packages. I started at the bottom (Xorg packages).
4. I downloaded, patched, built, and installed the latest ATI driver (which is now one of my chief suspects).
5. I installed slackpkg, bittorrent, bittornado, k3b, checkinstall, kfiresaver, xcdroast, and mpg123 from /extra.
6. Next I began downloading outside packages. Acrobat 7 was first, and that is installed with its own script and some symlinks. It requires something from the OpenLDAP package, so I got that from and installpkg'd it.
7. I installed a Flash player plugin (copied to directory).
8. The following other packages were downloaded and installed from amarok-1.2.4, amule 2.0.0, kaffeine-0.6, lame-3.96, libdvdcss-1.2.8, libdvdread-0.9.4, libmusicbrainz-2.1.1, libtunepimp-0.3.0,, unrar-3.4.3, wxwidgets-2.6.0. Those specific versions of amaroK, kaffeine, and openoffice were not on the previous install, but older versions were.
9. The following were compiled from source: MPlayer-1.0pre7, mplayerplug-in, xvidcore. MPlayer compiled with the codecs available on the mplayer site, mplayerplug-in with MPlayer and Mozilla's gecko-sdk, and xvidcore by itself. I used checkinstall on MPlayer and xvidcore.
10. Aside from that, I applied Nuvola themes to KDE, Firefox, and Thunderbird, and got my KDE desktop set up how I like it.
11. End of installation. I spent more time configuring some programs like Thunderbird, Firefox, and GAIM, but not much obviously.

There is another thing, though: I did use some of my old configuration files on my new install--fstab, lilo, and xorg.conf. I put these in their place after step 4 and had no apparent issues.

I'll have to get on that kernel compile. Thanks for your help.

Danus ex 05-31-2005 09:37 PM


Kernel recompiled with tulip built in, and so far so good. When the system starts I get a message telling me my MAC address and my IP. Lets hope it keeps working. Thanks killerbob.

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