For the oldest (or the cheapest) ISA cards, the card settings (I/O, IRQ, output media, etc.) were set by little black jumper blocks over rows of pins. As cards got more fancy, these settings were switched electronically, and the end user could store the preferred settings in non volatile memory built into the card. A vendor supplied program was used by the end user to alter these settings, removing the need to open the computer up just to reconfigure a card.
In most cases, if the configuration is done by software, and stored in an EEPROM, you will usually have to boot DOS, and use the vendor supplied DOS program to set the cards IRQ, I/O, mem_addr and whatnot. Besides, hopefully it is something you will only be setting once. If you don't have the DOS software for your card, try looking on the WWW site of your card manufacturer. If you don't know the site name, take a guess at it, i.e. `www.my_vendor.com' where `my_vendor' is the name of your card manufacturer. This works for SMC, 3Com, and many many other manufacturers.
There are some cards for which Linux versions of
the config utils exist, and they are listed here.
Donald has written a few small card diagnostic
programs that run under Linux. Most of these are a result
of debugging tools that he has created while writing the
various drivers. Don't expect
fancy menu-driven interfaces. You will have to read the
source code to use most of these. Even if your particular
card doesn't have a corresponding diagnostic, you can
still get some information just by typing
cat /proc/net/dev -- assuming that your card
was at least detected at boot.
In either case, you will have to run most of these programs
as root (to allow I/O to the ports) and you probably want
to shut down the ethercard before doing so by typing
ifconfig eth0 down first.
For people with wd80x3 cards, there is the program
which can be found in
wdsetup-0.6a.tar.gz on Linux ftp sites.
It is not being actively maintained, and has
not been updated for quite a while. If it works fine for you
then great, if not, use the DOS version that you should have got
with your card. If you don't have the DOS version, you will be
glad to know that the SMC setup/driver disks are available
at SMC's ftp site.
Of course, you have to have an EEPROM card to use this utility.
Old, old wd8003 cards, and some wd8013 clones use jumpers
to set up the card instead.
The Digital EtherWorks 3 card can be configured in a similar
fashion to the DOS program
NICSETUP.EXE. David C. Davies
wrote this and other tools for the EtherWorks 3 in conjunction
with the driver. Look on you local linux FTP site in the directory
/pub/linux/system/Network/management for the file
that is named
Some Nat Semi DP83905 implementations (such as the AT/LANTIC
and the NE2000+) are software configurable. (Note that these
cards can also emulate a wd8013 card!) You can get the setup
atlantic.c from Donald's ftp
www.scyld.com to configure this card.
In addition, the configuration programs for the Kingston
DP83905 cards seem to work with all cards, as they don't
check for a vendor specific address before allowing you to
use them. Start at the following URL:
and search for the programs
Be careful when configuring NE2000+ cards, as you can give them bad setting values which can cause problems. A typical example is accidentally enabling the boot ROM in the EEPROM (even if no ROM is installed) to a setting that conflicts with the VGA card. The result is a computer that just beeps at you when you turn it on and nothing appears on the screen.
You can typically
recover from this by doing the following: Remove the card
from the machine, and then boot and enter the CMOS setup.
Change the `Display Adapter' to `Not Installed' and change
the default boot drive to `A:' (your floppy drive).
Also change the `Wait for F1 if any Error' to `Disabled'.
This way, the computer should boot without user intervention.
Now create a bootable DOS floppy (`format a: /s /u') and copy
default.exe from the
above onto that floppy. Then
echo default > a:autoexec.bat
so that the program to set the card back to sane defaults will
be run automatically when you boot from this floppy.
Shut the machine off, re-install the ne2000+ card, insert your
new boot floppy, and power it back up. It will still probably beep
at you, but eventually you should see the floppy light come on
as it boots from the floppy. Wait a minute or two for the floppy
to stop, indicating that it has finished running the
program, and then power down your computer. When you then turn it
on again, you should hopefully have a working display again,
allowing you to change your CMOS settings back, and to change
the card's EEPROM settings back to the values you want.
Note that if you don't have DOS handy, you can do the whole
method above with a linux boot disk that automatically runs
atlantic program (with the right command line
switches) instead of a DOS boot disk that automatically runs
The 3Com Etherlink III family of cards (i.e. 3c5x9) can
be configured by using another config utility from Donald.
You can get the file
from Donald's ftp server,
configure these cards. (Note that the DOS 3c5x9B config
utility may have more options pertaining to the new ``B''
series of the Etherlink III family.)
Any of the diagnostic programs that Donald has written can be obtained from his website.
Allied Telesis AT1700 --
Cabletron E21XX --
HP PCLAN+ --
Intel EtherExpress --
PCI NE2000 cards --
ISA NE2000 cards --
RealTek (ATP) Pocket adaptor
All Other Cards -- try typing
cat /proc/net/dev and
dmesg to see what useful info the kernel has on the
card in question.