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why does eth0 require modprobe?

For  those of  you  who have  been  following with  baited breath  the
ongoing  saga of  my boot  floppies: I  am now  loading a  kernel from
floppy #1 and  a compressed root image from floppy #2,  at which point I
get a shell enabling me to mount floppy #3 and copy additional goodies
from  it.  Having arrived  this  far, I  crossed  my  fingers and  ran
'ifconfig eth0'. This tried to run 'modprobe -s -k eth0', which failed
since modprobe is one of the goodies I don't have yet. My question is, why do
I need modprobe to configure the eth0 interface? Since the kernel gets
a whole floppy to itself, I've compiled all the drivers (including the NIC
driver)  into the  kernel.  No modules.  Is  there some  other way  to
associate eth0 with my NIC driver (3c59x.c) ?

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