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(?) installing a pcmcia-network card in Suse 9.0

From Santeri.Ketola

Answered By: Ben Okopnik


I installed last summer Suse Linux 9.0 with KDE to my laptop(thinkpad 600e, 233mzh pentium 2). I haven't used a linux before, and it seems to work fine except some points that might be more complicated in laptops than in normal pc's.

(!) [Ben] I think that's true for pretty much any OS - the hardware in laptops, other than perhaps memory and hard drives, is nearly all proprietary (i.e., you can't run out to your local computer store and buy an, e.g., video card for your Toshiba or Dell), and this has obvious results.

(?) In my apartment house they use the already existing phone-cable to access internet, therefore i needed to buy a pcmcia card(smc 8041tx v.2) and a HomePNA converter(A-Link HomePNA) to gain access to the internet.

(!) [Ben] This card is supported under pcmcia-cs, at least according to http://pcmcia-cs.sourceforge.net/ftp/SUPPORTED.CARDS . The easiest thing to do would have been to install the package from ftp://ftp.suse.com ... unfortunately, you went a different route. The next easiest thing, in my opinion, would be to reverse what you've done, then install the package.
Keeping on with trying to install from source is not something I would recommend for you, particularly because this is a standard package; what you'll have, if you do manage to succeed, is a system in which the PCMCIA package is a) not recognized by the packaging system, and is b) not upgradeable - except through more source-based installation - as a result. In other words, you'll be creating a permanent headache for yourself.

(?) I began installing it with these instructions:


  SMC Networks, Inc.
                      SMC 10/100 PC Card (SMC8041 V.2)
                        Linux Driver Installation

Installation Guide:

1. Please download the pcmcia package (3.1.29 or higher vision)
   from the follow url:

2. Install the package:
   Copy the pcmcia packagefile into /usr/src/linux/
   and uncompress it:
           tar zxvf pcmcia-cs-3.1.29.tar.gz

3. Config the pcmcia package
   Change the directory into pcmcia
       cd pcmcia-cs-3.1.29
   then config and install it
        make config
         make install

4. Edit the /etc/pcmcia/config
   Add following to the config file
        device "SMC 80412"
         class "network" module "pcnet_cs"
   and add the following configuration:
         card "SMC 80412"
         version "SMC" , "8041TX-10/100-PC-Card-V2", "", ""
        bind "pcnet_cs"

5. Restart the pcmcia service
        /etc/rc.d/init.d/pcmcia restart
   Then the SMC 10/100 PC Card (SMC8041 V.2) adapter will start to work.


As i reached the third point, this happened:

(!) [Ben] The problem you're having, incidentally, is not a complex one:


dhcppc23:~ # /usr/src/linux/pcmcia-cs-3.1.3/Configure make
Ack!  The PCMCIA distribution is incomplete/damaged!
    Unpack again -- and try using a Linux filesystem this time.
Configuration failed.

dhcppc23:~ #
(!) [Ben] The tarball you have may have been damaged, or you may need more software. The easy way to tell is usually my examining the log file produced by "make"... but, again, note that this is all theoretical for the moment: the right thing to do is reverse what you've done so far and install the actual "pcmcia-cs" package.

(?) I have tried the command "make config" but nothing happens. And as the error message tells, i tried unpacking the package several times, but the message repeats. As i completed the instruction points 4 and 5, the light turned on in the pcmcia card, but there is still no connection.

My questions are; firstly, how to configure the card properly and secondly, how to tell the firewall to mind the pcmcia card, or does the firewall detect all interaction from my computer and the rest of the world?

(!) [Ben] I've addressed the first question already; as to firewalls, they work with interfaces, not hardware. In other words, a firewall doesn't really care what kind of hardware you have - what it needs to know about is rules for, e.g. "eth0".

(?) I know that these questions might seems somewhat simple or just plain stupid,

(!) [Ben] Not at all. You've done a fine job of describing what you need, the environment in which you're working, and the problem you're having. Answering your question was easy and pleasant as a result.

(?) but this system is totally new for me, and it seems fun and full of possibilities, but the internet access is vital for me. As in your instructions you advised to be funny, but hopefully this email provides you at least some giggles about us rookies;)

(!) [Ben] Hey, it's all about making Linux a little more fun.  :) That's why we're here!

(?) I managed to get the internet working properly for two days... and the only inconvenience was getting the suse installation cd from my dad per post. Your instructions we're precise and helpful. I reversed the driver kit i had begun installing, got the right kit from ftp.suse.com, and yast installed it all for me. The only thing that i needed to do was to reboot (i thought this was only necessary in wondows giggles)..and lights went on!

(!) [Ben] [chuckle] You didn't really need to reboot - there's almost never a need to do that in Linux, unless you've recompiled the kernel or something - but there are times when it may be easier to do that than all the "modprobe" invocations with mysterious module names.

(?) I even istalled Opera right away, went like a dream, and shockwave as well..and my laptop purrs like kitten. i only hope i wont overheat it too much because i've been so much online;) Next project is installing gimp 2 but that's only a minor glitch..it's fun learning and now it's so much easier thanks to you and the internet!

Thank you once again for your swift and precise instructions.

(!) [Ben] Excellent! It's a pleasure to help, particularly some like yourself who takes the time to let us know the results. Glad we could be of service!

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Published in issue 110 of Linux Gazette January 2005

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