Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

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Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby Laxman Neupane » 2010-04-12 18:34

Hi.
I tried to do Debian netinstall from minimum iso image in my brother's pc.
My Network Interface card is Intel 82578DC GIGABYTE Network Connection. The installer gives a list of drivers to install but I don't know what to do.

Should I download and install from first CD/DVD? Will it have appropriate drivers then?

Please suggest me. :!:
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Re: Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby julian67 » 2010-04-12 18:55

Support for that network adapter was only added to the Linux kernel relatively recently http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/linux-netdev/2009/6/2/5855413 This is well after Debian Lenny was released. So yes you will need to use the full CD1 or DVD1. After that you would need to install a newer kernel such as the one available from backports. Perhaps you can use a wireless network adapter to do this or you could use another computer or operating system to download the backports kernel and install it using 'dpkg -i <package_name>'
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Re: Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby thewanderer » 2010-04-12 20:42

Or, you can try a testing Debian installer, in case you want to setup a desktop system running Debian testing/unstable. cdimage.debian.org.
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Re: Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby Laxman Neupane » 2010-04-13 07:18

julian67 wrote:Support for that network adapter was only added to the Linux kernel relatively recently http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/linux-netdev/2009/6/2/5855413 This is well after Debian Lenny was released. So yes you will need to use the full CD1 or DVD1. After that you would need to install a newer kernel such as the one available from backports. Perhaps you can use a wireless network adapter to do this or you could use another computer or operating system to download the backports kernel and install it using 'dpkg -i <package_name>'



Thanks Julian. But, if I install the newer kernel for lenny, will it have any effect on stability?

Moreover, if I install the testing branch, will the kernel version there have support for the card?
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Re: Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby Laxman Neupane » 2010-04-13 07:32

thewanderer wrote:Or, you can try a testing Debian installer, in case you want to setup a desktop system running Debian testing/unstable. cdimage.debian.org.



Hi.

I downloaded the testing installer and while starting the installation, it too doesn't detect the Ethernet. Does the kernel of testing branch also not have the support for the card yet?
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Re: Debian testing netinstall doesn't detect NIC/drivers.

Postby julian67 » 2010-04-13 13:32

The backports kernel should make no difference to stability.

I was surprised the testing installer didn't recognise your network adapter so I did a little digging. I think I found the reason and what to do about it, but no guarantees. I think the Intel network adapters which use the e1000 driver (that includes yours) often/always require non-free firmware in order to work. Debian doesn't officially distribute any non-free software/firmware which means it won't be found in the installer or the main repository even though it may be present in the vanilla kernel source from kernel.org. But there is a non-free package of commonly needed non-free firmwares in non-free backports (and in squeeze and sid). If I were you I would install using the regular CD1 or DVD1 and then obtain the packages firmware-linux, firmware-linux-free, and firmware-linux-nonfree and install them using 'dpkg -i <package_name>' and I would expect the network adapter to then be recognised on a reboot.

Another possibility to check before proceeding: if you have any live Linux CDs which do work with your adapter you can boot them and check which driver your network adapter uses and by unloading and reloading the module (driver in windows speak) and looking at the output of dmesg you should also be able to see exactly which firmware it requires. To find out which driver a device uses (on a Debian based system) you can run
Code: Select all
lspci -k
To unload and reload a kernel driver you need to be root and run
Code: Select all
# modprobe -r <driver_name> && modprobe <driver_name>
then run the command 'dmesg' and you should see the name of the firmware and it being loaded. I would guess that the latest Ubuntu beta CD would be useful for this as it is Debian based and Ubuntu routinely include non-free firmware in their CDs.
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