Telling Linux to Recognize Your Card

In order to use a NIC, Linux must recognize it. This process is normally handled by your distribution's installation routines; the installer sets up an appropriate /etc/modules.conf entry, as described in Chapter 1, to load the driver as a module. If you recompile your kernel, be sure to compile the driver for your NIC, either as a module or built into the main kernel file. If you compile the driver into the kernel proper, the system should auto-detect the card. If not, you must have an appropriate /etc/modules.conf entry or load the driver with insmod or modprobe, either manually or in a startup script, as described in Chapter 9, "Bypassing Automatic Configurations to Gain Control."

Some NICs, particularly older Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) models, require special parameters to operate correctly. Chapter 1 describes how to pass such parameters to a card. You can find information in the drivers' documentation (usually in /usr/src/linux/Documentation/networking, although the linux directory name includes a version number on some systems) or on Donald Becker's website (http://www.scyld.com/network/; Donald Becker wrote many of the Linux Ethernet drivers). The Ethernet HO WTO document

(http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Ethernet-HOWTO.html) also contains a great deal of card-specific information.

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