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More Ethernet card problems.

Yes, I've been bitten again by these 3Com cards, and Yes, I haven't been
having a good day on any fronts...

To cut to the chase, I believe that the Ethernet card in my Debian box is
somehow, subtly broken or misconfigured, and none of the tools I have will
fix it.

Major symptom:

It appears that the driver fails to load at boot time, although I appear
to be able to successfully load the same driver with insmod after the
bootup. Including the driver explicitly in /etc/modules causes the machine
to hang during boot immediately after the line:


Commenting this line from /etc/modules allows booting (with no message at
the point of the previous hang) but eth0 is not cofigured, and no driver
module is loaded (wich explains why the ifconfig fails).

I suspected that the card had, somehow, gotten back into PnP mode, so I
ran the 3c5x9setup program again to make sure. All output from this
program was the same as before, with no errors.

It troubles me that both 'insmod 3c509' and the setup program report
everything is fine, and that they perform correctly, when this is not the
case. The fact that the kernel can detect something wrong when it tries to
load the driver for the card suggests that all the facts are not being
reported by these programs.

Minor Symptom:

On the possibility that it could be the Windows '95 machine that was at
fault (the hub reports all cards active once the Debian box appears to be
configured properly), I booted up the Sparc, which is also on the hub, and
was able to ping the '95 box, but not the Debian one.

Even though the card tells the hub it is active, and seems to be
functional from the point of view of the driver, ifconfig, route, and the
kernel, I can't ping out with it, and the rest of the net can't ping into

Yes, I checked all the cables, even though the fact that the hub
recognizes every card connected to it seems to imply the cable is good.
(at least the line that sends the "alive" signal is not broken)
They are all tightly seated in their connectors.

I have my son getting me another Ethernet card, so I can swap out and
verify that the card _is_ bad, but this is not the most desirable
solution. (specially when he tells me that the card I got in the kit, with
two cards and a hub for a bit over $100, will cost over $100 all by

Any ideas welcome,

_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide"  _-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (850) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

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