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eth0 vanishes: TP 560Z / Xircom Ethernet/Modem card

I got a 'new' Thinkpad 560Z (Pentium II) to be my 'learn Debian'
machine, partly so that all the desktop machines I administer can
eventually become Debian (I have run RedHat for 8 years but RPM
upgrade hell is trumping my inertia).

But the eth0 device vanishes for no reason that I can determine.  (The
X server also hangs the machine regularly but I'm hoping that running
4.2 from testing will fix it or maybe trying to improve the config
file that I grabbed almost verbatim from the web.)

eth0 is bound to a Xircom XEM5600 (combo 10/100 Ethernet + 56K Modem,
not CardBus whatever that's called) and gets its network parameters
via dhcp.  Everything will be fine for maybe half an hour.  Then I
notice that new ssh connections don't work, and old ones are hung.  So
I run 'ifconfig' and find that eth0 is no longer listed.  No errors in
the system log or on the console.  After 'ifup eth0' network
connectivity is back.  The card's Ethernet hardware is fine because in
my TP 560 (2.4.18 kernel) I use it for days or weeks continuously with
no problem.

I noticed this problem when I installed the latest 3.0 release
(stable), using the stock 2.2 kernel.  So I compiled a kernel of my
own (2.4.20), doing it the Debian wayd and deriving the config from
one that I use happily for 2.4.18 on my TP 560 but adding CardBus
support for example.  After telling modules.conf that the module ds.o
requires yenta_socket.o, cardmgr/cardctl etc. work fine, but alas, the
eth0 problem is still there (but hibernation/suspend/standby work).

Any thoughts?  Is it a TP 560Z problem or a Debian problem or a
general PCMCIA driver problem?  I could do a controlled experiment by
installing RH 7.3 on the 560Z (which is what the 560 runs) but if
anyone has any quick thoughts I'd be grateful (and will summarize to
the list).


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