New network card

How the heck did Linux users survive before Google? Perhaps they just figured stuff out on their own, or moved back to Windows. So maybe Google lets dumber people use Linux now. God bless it.

This morning when I inserted my network card, I got a “Nov 30 07:56:10 rhiannon kernel: eth0: MII is missing!” message. Which was completely greek to me. What I gathered, via experimentation (my other nic still worked) and googling (this is a generic hardware error for which there’s no particularly obvious solution) was that my card was toasty, and I needed a new one.

I have long loathed pcmcia network cards and their “dongles”. I figure that the guy that came up with the dongle idea was a genius. You sell a card with a dongle, and you only make dongles available with new cards. The dongle is going to break, no matter how careful you are, and then you have to buy a new card, even though the old card is working perfectly well.

So when various manufacturers started making pcmcia network cards without dongles, I determined that I would get one of those when my nic finally gave up the ghost.

There I am at CompUSA, and they have LinkSys cards, which is what I already had, for $20. But they had dongles. And they had Netgear cards without dongles, for $35. Well, I know that the LinkSys card will Just Work, with no additional effort, but I really want the one without the dongle. So I got it.

And, of course, when I got home and inserted it, I got “Nov 30 12:16:27 rhiannon cardmgr[52]: unsupported card in socket 1”. Joy.

I can take the card back … but, just in case, I turn to Google. And find … which tells me exactly what I need to do to get it working.

For the record, in case that site goes away someday, I had to add the following to /etc/pcmcia/config:

card "NetGear FA411 Fast Ethernet"
version "NETGEAR","FA411"
bind "pcnet_cs"