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Any other associated stuff that didn't fit in anywhere else gets dumped here. It may not be relevant, and it may not be of general interest but it is here anyway.
Here are two generic kernel commands that can be passed to
the kernel at boot time (
For example, if the command was `blah' and it expected 3 arguments (say 123, 456, and 789) then, with LILO, you would use:
For more information on (and a complete list of) boot time arguments, please see the BootPrompt-HOWTO
All arguments are optional. The first non-numeric argument is taken as the NAME.
IRQ: Obvious. An IRQ value of `0' (usually the default) means to autoIRQ. It's a historical accident that the IRQ setting is first rather than the base_addr -- this will be fixed whenever something else changes.
BASE_ADDR: Also obvious. A value of `0' (usually the default) means to probe a card-type-specific address list for an ethercard.
PARAM_1: It was orginally used as an override value for the memory start for a shared-memory ethercard, like the WD80*3. Some drivers use the low four bits of this value to set the debug message level. 0 -- default, 1-7 -- level 1..7, (7 is maximum verbosity) 8 -- level 0 (no messages). Also, the LANCE driver uses the low four bits of this value to select the DMA channel. Otherwise it uses auto-DMA.
PARAM_2: The 3c503 driver uses this to select between the internal and external transceivers. 0 -- default/internal, 1 -- AUI external. The Cabletron E21XX card also uses the low 4 bits of PARAM_2 to select the output media. Otherwise it detects automatically.
NAME: Selects the network device the values refer to. The standard kernel uses the names `eth0', `eth1', `eth2' and `eth3' for bus-attached ethercards, and `atp0' for the parallel port `pocket' ethernet adaptor. The arcnet driver uses `arc0' as its name. The default setting is for a single ethercard to be probed for as `eth0'. Multiple cards can only be enabled by explicitly setting up their base address using these LILO parameters. The 1.0 kernel has LANCE-based ethercards as a special case. LILO arguments are ignored, and LANCE cards are always assigned `eth<n>' names starting at `eth0'. Additional non-LANCE ethercards must be explicitly assigned to `eth<n+1>', and the usual `eth0' probe disabled with something like `ether=0,-1,eth0'. ( Yes, this is bug. )
This next lilo command is used just like `ether=' above, ie. it is appended to the name of the boot select specified in lilo.conf
In some machines it may be necessary to prevent device drivers from checking for devices (auto-probing) in a specific region. This may be because of poorly designed hardware that causes the boot to freeze (such as some ethercards), hardware that is mistakenly identified, hardware whose state is changed by an earlier probe, or merely hardware you don't want the kernel to initialize.
The I/O ports in the specified region are protected against
device probes. This was put in to be used when some driver was
hanging on a NE2000, or misidentifying some other device
as its own. A correct device driver shouldn't probe a reserved
region, unless another boot argument explicitly specifies that
it do so. This implies that
For example, the boot line
keeps all device drivers except the ethercard drivers from probing 0x300-0x31f.
As usual with boot-time specifiers there is an 11 parameter limit,
thus you can only specify 5 reserved regions per
Most of the linux distributions now ship kernels that have
very few drivers built-in. The drivers are instead supplied as
a bunch of independent dynamically loadable modules. These
modular drivers are typically loaded by the administrator
You particular distribution may offer nice graphical configuration tools for setting up ethernet modules. If possible you should try and use them first. The description that follows here gives information on what underlies any fancy configuration program, and what these programs change.
The information that controls what modules are to be used and
what options are supplied to each module is usually stored in
The actual modules themselves are typically stored in a directory
The first thing you need in your
alias eth0 smc-ultra
The other thing you may need is an
options smc-ultra io=0x280
Most ISA modules accept parameters like
A list of all the options that each module accepts can be found in the file:
It is recommended that you read that to find out what options you can use for your particular card. Note that some modules support comma separated value lists for modules that have the capability to handle multiple devices from a single module, such as all the 8390 based drivers, and the PLIP driver. For exmple:
options 3c503 io=0x280,0x300,0x330,0x350 xcvr=0,1,0,1
The above would have the one module controlling four 3c503 cards, with card 2 and 4 using external transcievers. Don't put spaces around the `=' or commas.
Also note that a busy module can't be removed. That means
that you will have to
Much of this info came from saved postings from the comp.os.linux groups, which shows that it is a valuable resource of information. Other useful information came from a bunch of small files by Donald himself. Of course, if you are setting up an Ethernet card, then you will want to read the NET-2 Howto so that you can actually configure the software you will use. Also, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a hacker, you can always scrounge some additional info from the driver source files as well. There is usually a paragraph or two in there describing any important points before any actual code starts..
For those looking for information that is not specific in any way
to Linux (i.e. what is 10BaseT, what is AUI, what does a hub do, etc.)
I strongly recommend making use of the newsgroup comp.dcom.lans.ethernet
and/or comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.networking. Newsgroup archives
such as those at
You can also have a look at the `Ethernet-HomePage' so to speak, which is at the following URL:
This document is not gospel. However, it is probably the most up to date info that you will be able to find. Nobody is responsible for what happens to your hardware but yourself. If your ethercard or any other hardware goes up in smoke (...nearly impossible!) we take no responsibility. ie. THE AUTHORS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES INCURRED DUE TO ACTIONS TAKEN BASED ON THE INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THIS DOCUMENT.
This document is Copyright (c) 1993-1999 by Paul Gortmaker. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this document under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that this copyright notice is included exactly as in the original, and that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this document into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions.
A hint to people considering doing a translation. First,
translate the SGML source (available via FTP from the HowTo
main site) so that you can then generate other output formats.
Be sure to keep a copy of the original English SGML source that
you translated from! When an updated HowTo is released,
get the new SGML source for that version, and then a simple
If you are intending to incorporate this document into a published work, please make contact (via e-mail) so that you can be supplied with the most up to date information available. In the past, out of date versions of the Linux HowTo documents have been published, which caused the developers undue grief from being plagued with questions that were already answered in the up to date versions.
If you have found any glaring typos, or outdated info in this document, please send an e-mail. It is big, and it is easy to overlook stuff. If you have e-mailed about a change, and it hasn't been included in the next version, please don't hesitate to send it again, as it might have got lost amongst the usual sea of SPAM and junk mail I get.
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