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networking problem and philosophy

I'm trying to get Debian going on my Thinkpad T21, and synchronize with
my Sony Clie PDA.

I installed Woody using packages via ftp, so it's up to date.  During
the install, one of the choices is to use 'netenv' to configure the
network.  I don't know any better - I'm new to Debian - so I let it.

It works fine if I boot on the kernel delivered by the original
installation process, but that kernel doesn't provide the options to
sync with my PDA, so I've been trying to make a new kernel.

I'm using the kernel-package and make-kpkg tools as shown in the Debian
manual, and that part seems to work.  I've got a kernel that may have
what I need to sync my PDA.

But it won't give me my network access.

I've looked a bit at the 'netenv' stuff, and it seems to have created
hard definitions of my network settings in /etc/netenv.  I chose during
install to use DHCP when it asked - the netenv settings don't seem to
reflect this.

What am I not understanding about how to work with this?  I want DHCP,
and I want my network to work, but I don't know how to approach this in
Debian.  I'll spend plenty of time studying networking once I have a
working system, but I can't go on without it (I'm back in Redhat 8 to
write this).

I'm connecting to the Internet with a cable modem and a router.  The
router assigns my local address.

Clues, suggestions, explanations would be very welcome.  Should I be
accepting 'netenv' during the install?  How can I get rid of it and use
DHCP to configure my network on startup?  Or...?


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