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Re: Intel X553 NICs/ixgbe netinstall issues

On Thu, May 09, 2019 at 07:22:30AM +0100, Rory Campbell-Lange wrote:
> Target systems have A2SDi-8C-HLN4F motherboards each with 4 no. Intel
> x553 NICs.
> The stable netinstall ixgbe module does not load the interfaces, even
> when modprobed by hand.
> Buster netinstall 20190429-03:57 works fine. However I can't find a way
> of downgrading the installation to "stable", as suggested at
> https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/FAQ#Q:_How_can_I_install_sid_.28unstable.29_with_DebianInstaller.3F

It suggests the exact opposite.  It suggests you can install stable and
then upgrade to unstable.  You can't downgrade.  It doesn't suggest that
at all.  Never could.  It suggests that people that want unstable can
use the working stable installer and upgrade to unstable rather than
try the potentially broken installer in testing.  Of course if stable
isn't working on your hardware, then installing stable is very very hard.

> I've tried expert mode in both console and graphical mode.
> I'm not sure if the inability to downgrade the installation is a bug or
> policy. If the former I'm happy to report it.

It's a matter of reality.  Packages can support upgrading from previous
versions because they know what previous versions existed and how they
worked.  An old package can't downgrade from something that didn't exist
when it was made.  It doesn't make any logical sense.

> Tips on compiling the ixgbe module for stable on a machine with only a
> BMC and no NICs gratefully received; else how to downgrade a testing
> netinstall to stable.

Compiling a kernel module tends to only work for the kernel version
it was meant for, so the kernel in stable likely is too old for your
hardware and a newer module won't compile for it.  A newer kernel (like
the backport kernel) might work though.

I would think the simplest method to install would be
to get a supported USB or PCIe network card, use that to
install and then install the backport kernel, or possibly
use the out of tree ixgbe driver from intel as per

Len Sorensen

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