Installing NIC driver in linux

Posted on 2005-04-14
Last Modified: 2007-02-13
Let's say I had a NIC in my linux box that wasnt on the HCL, so the driver wasnt loaded. How would I go about getting the drive installed.

Let's start real basic. Say I throw the cdrom in with the linux driver on it
then do a

cp /mnt/cdrom/driver  /tmp

Now it's on the hard drive. What would I do from there? Does /etc house drivers or is it /dev??
Question by:dissolved
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment


    3 options

    1) you have you "driver" compiled inside the kernel

    2)you can have module(driver)outside the kernel
    and use modprobe command to install module
    what modules are you currently using check with

    3) on cdrom . If you have it on cdrom there are step by step instruction what you need to do to make it work
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    so basicaly first check what type of NIC do you have:
    use command
    then have a look to /lib/modules/ for appropriate module and use modprobe to istall module. If is not there recompile kernel

    still do not know what linux you are running if it is redhat there is kudzu which can do some work for you

    Author Comment

    its mandrake 10.
    lspci  is not a command on the shell i'm using. hmmm

    If the driver was compiled inside my kernel , how would I get it?

    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    in that case it should load your NIC automaticaly.

    learn more about modules here:

    in future if you need more informations about linux this is very good webpage:
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    "Say I throw the cdrom in with the linux driver on it"

    As Luxana stated, there should be documentation on the cd (assuming it was something like the nic manufacturer's cd that included linux-specific drivers....if you've got a windows/Netware/BeOS/Rhapsody/CPM/OS2/OS9/Atari/Nintendo/PS2 OS driver cd it won't do you any good in Linux.  Are you certain you have a linux driver?  If so, have you viewed the cd to look for installation instructions?)
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    What model nic is it?  Perhaps we coud find the appropriate documentation for you.  I had a nic once that wasn't officially supported at the time, but was able to google up some kind soul's in-the-works driver in alpha was a bit complicated for me at the time, but it did work (Compaq T-Lan card....been standard part of stock kernels for years now but at the time the only way to get it working was to use the aplpha driver or write your own)
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Make sure you're running as root.  Run the command "/sbin/lspci"

    Different hardware vendors, who do support Linux, distribute their drivers in different ways.  At some point, there will be a driver.o file... the basic step required is to do "insmod ./driver.o".  If it has any dependencies, these must be loaded first.  A good driver will come in an RPM package designed for your distribution, and will be specific to your kernel.

    IMPORTANT: kernel modules (drivers) are kernel version specific.  It may work partially, or refuse to load, if it's a version mismatch.

    Many NIC's are supported under the ne, ne2k-pci, tg3, tulip, and other drivers.  If your card isn't supported, get a different one.  Honestly, it will be much simpler for you.  You can usually find a Netgear FE310/311 for under $10, for a better card an Intel EtherExpress Pro 100 (eepro100/e100) or any of the 3Com cards (e.g. 3c905).  Both have excellent support for many O/S's.

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