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Netgear FA331 on Debian Linux

While clearing up the office prior to a move, I discovered a couple of Netgear FA331 cards that I'd completely forgotten about. Since there was no possibility of using them for work, I decided to replace the NIC, a Realtek 8139 (aka the worst NIC on the planet), I was using in my Debian box.

I wasn't sure which driver was required for this card, but a little research on Google turned up natsemi.o as the right one to use. As I was using a purpose built kernel for my Debian machine, I had to rebuild the kernel to include National SemiConductor DP8381x series as a module, under the network drivers section.

The kernel was rebuilt, using the Debian way (note that I have linked /usr/src/linux to the 2.4.26 kernel source tree in /usr/local/src):

  cd /usr/src/linux
  make-kpkg clean
  fakeroot make-kpkg --revision=gold.2.0 --append-to-version="-1" kernel-image
  dpkg -i /usr/local/src/kernel-image-2.4.26-1_gold.2.0_i386.deb

All that remained to do was add natsemi to /etc/modules and comment out the 8139too entry.

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