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In most cases, if the configuration is done by software, and stored in an EEPROM, you will usually have to boot DOS, and use the vendor supplied DOS program to set the cards IRQ, I/O, mem_addr and whatnot. Besides, hopefully it is something you will only be setting once. If you don't have the DOS software for your card, try looking on the WWW site of your card manufacturer. If you don't know the site name, take a guess at it, i.e. `www.my_vendor.com' where `my_vendor' is the name of your card manufacturer. This works for SMC, 3Com, and many many other manufacturers.
There are some cards for which Linux versions of
the config utils exist, and they are listed here.
Donald has written a few small card diagnostic
programs that run under Linux. Most of these are a result
of debugging tools that he has created while writing the
various drivers. Don't expect
fancy menu-driven interfaces. You will have to read the
source code to use most of these. Even if your particular
card doesn't have a corresponding diagnostic, you can
still get some information just by typing
In either case, you will have to run most of these programs
as root (to allow I/O to the ports) and you probably want
to shut down the ethercard before doing so by typing
For people with wd80x3 cards, there is the program
Digital / DEC Cards
The Digital EtherWorks 3 card can be configured in a similar
fashion to the DOS program
NE2000+ or AT/LANTIC Cards
Some Nat Semi DP83905 implementations (such as the AT/LANTIC
and the NE2000+) are software configurable. (Note that these
cards can also emulate a wd8013 card!) You can get the file
Be careful when configuring NE2000+ cards, as you can give them bad setting values which can cause problems. A typical example is accidentally enabling the boot ROM in the EEPROM (even if no ROM is installed) to a setting that conflicts with the VGA card. The result is a computer that just beeps at you when you turn it on and nothing appears on the screen.
You can typically
recover from this by doing the following: Remove the card
from the machine, and then boot and enter the CMOS setup.
Change the `Display Adapter' to `Not Installed' and change
the default boot drive to `A:' (your floppy drive).
Also change the `Wait for F1 if any Error' to `Disabled'.
This way, the computer should boot without user intervention.
Now create a bootable DOS floppy (`format a: /s /u') and copy
Note that if you don't have DOS handy, you can do the whole
method above with a linux boot disk that automatically runs
The 3Com Etherlink III family of cards (i.e. 3c5x9) can
be configured by using another config utility from Donald.
You can get the file
Any of the diagnostic programs that Donald has written can be obtained from his website.
Allied Telesis AT1700 --
Cabletron E21XX --
HP PCLAN+ --
Intel EtherExpress --
PCI NE2000 cards --
ISA NE2000 cards --
RealTek (ATP) Pocket adaptor
All Other Cards -- try typing
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