Can you copy device files between similar systems

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby LordByron » 2019-01-28 16:03

I need to install debian on a workstation and would like to use the netinstall method but the ethernet card is not recognized. The version of the OS installed will be identical to others that we have, some of which have the same network card.

Since the netinstall, when it get to the stage where it reports that it can't find the ethernet card, gives you the option to install one from a usb drive, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to copy the required files from one of the other systems?

The card in network card in question is an Intel i219 Gigabit Ethernet controller. The version of debian being installed is 8.11. I'm installing it on a dell 5820.

thanks
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Re: Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-28 16:07

LordByron wrote:The version of debian being installed is 8.11

The LTS team stopped supporting that on 2018-05-31[1], you really shouldn't be using it at all.

For your specific problem, the firmware can be loaded from a USB stick[2] but the drivers will be part of the kernel.

[1] https://wiki.debian.org/LTS/
[2] https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/ ... 02.html.en
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Re: Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby LordByron » 2019-01-28 16:48

The first link you provided says that LTS for 8 is provided until June 30th 2020????

"For your specific problem, the firmware can be loaded from a USB stick[2] but the drivers will be part of the kernel."

Just to be clear, here's the exact message it give me

"No ethernet card was detected. If you know the name of the driver needed by your ethernet card, you can select it from the list"

So are you saying I can get the installation process to see the card by just installing the firmware? Can I just copy that from one of the other systems? If so how do I determine which files I need?
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Re: Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-28 16:54

LordByron wrote:The first link you provided says that LTS for 8 is provided until June 30th 2020????

Damn, sorry about that, I must have had a mini-stroke or something :oops:

LordByron wrote:So are you saying I can get the installation process to see the card by just installing the firmware?

Well, it's worth a try, no?

LordByron wrote:Can I just copy that from one of the other systems? If so how do I determine which files I need?

The specific instructions were linked in my second point: https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/ ... 04.html.en

EDIT: yes, the firmware is transferable.
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Re: Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby LordByron » 2019-01-28 17:20

"The specific instructions were linked in my second point: https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/ ... 04.html.en"

Sorry, while the link does cover most of what I need to know it doesn't appear to explain how I find the find the firmware ie how do I figure out precisely which files I need to copy across on the usb drive from the existing system to the new build.

Note - I've also tried doing the netinstall with the image that contains the non free drivers which didn't work. So at this point I'm not looking at downloading the firmware from the debian site.

Thanks again.
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Re: Can you copy device files between similar systems

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-01-28 17:33

LordByron wrote:Note - I've also tried doing the netinstall with the image that contains the non free drivers which didn't work.

Well then copying new firmware into the installer probably won't work because the old kernel (which includes the drivers) will still be used.

So the problem here is that your hardware is just too new for jessie.

Does the stretch installer work?

Otherwise try installing with debootstrap from a live ISO image that does support your hardware and use the kernel & firmware from jessie-backports (if they work), I've just linked to the official guide for this a few posts ago if you search my history.
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