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local net problems

I have installed debian hamm (on an EIDE Pentium about a week ago).
Kernel 2.0.29 (since configured, compiled, and installed a 2.0.30 

There are two weird problems that I am experiencing...

The first problem is that the ethernet module is not loading.
But typing "insmod /lib/modules/2.0.30/net/3c509.o" loads
the module without error.

An "ifconfig eth0 up" works without error.

"route add -net" correctly sets up the

After the above, ping, telnet, and rlogin all work
on the local network.

I recompiled the kernel yesterday.  The 3c509 
module still did not load (I also added the 
"options addr=0x300 irq=10" line that exists
in the conf.modules file for the stable 
release machine -- still no help).

I noticed that there is mention that kerneld might
not work if /usr is not mounted and that if this is
the case that a work around is to copy a librry to
/lib (which I did and created the link).  I really 
did not expect this "fix" to work as all other modules 
seem to load ok.

The kernel routing table just after booting:
Kernel IP routing table
Destination  Gateway  Genmask         Flags Metric Ref Use Iface UH    1      0     0 sl0       U     0      0     3 lo         U     1      0     0 sl0

The ifconfig output just after booting:
lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:154 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0
          TX packets:154 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0

sl0       Link encap:Serial Line IP  
          inet addr:  P-t-P:  Mask:
          UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0

Cat /proc/modules just after booting:
serial             8            0
dummy              1            0
ppp                5            0
slip               2            1
slhc               2    [ppp slip]      1
psaux              1            1
lp                 2            0
ipx                3            0
ftape             43            0
rarp               1            0
hpfs               3            0
nfs               12            4
binfmt_java        1            0

The other problem is trying to figure out where route is 
getting the first entry:
Destination  ... 

I have looked all over to try to find out where route
is getting this IP address.

Also, I looked about everywhere that I could think of yesterday
and last night for some sort of net configuration utility(ies) in
Debian.  I am quite used to editing the files by hand as the SVR5 
machines that I have administered had a pretty unreliable set of 
admin scripts but I don't want to do that with debian if there are 
tools available.


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