That was just the hint I needed.
Looking at that file, I'm seeing .. all these eth devices, with different MAC addresses.
Turns out, the MAC address of my adapter was not being detected correctly by the Etch kernel. It is, evidently, some known issue between Asus motherboards + the forcedeth driver. Instead of the kernel giving the device a nice steady MAC address is was giving it a random one.
- Code: Select all
0000:00:07.0: Invalid Mac address detected: 87:84:65:f3:18:00
Please complain to your hardware vendor. Switching to a random MAC.
UDEV was taking this as a hint, and assigning it a new /dev/ address every time.
The light at the end of the tunnel: once you get to eth19, you don't get any higher.
I upgraded to 2.6.21. It seems to not be an issue with this kernel.